Recent historiography pertaining to the International Red Cross has generally emphasised the transnational scale as best suited for analysing this global movement. Using the French Red Cross as a case study, this article suggests that focusing on the national scale, or even on the national-imperial scale, does not exclude transnational approaches but enriches them. In doing so, it highlights the dialectic between scales of humanitarian activity and complicates our understanding of the Red Cross movement in the early twentieth century. The article examines how the French Red Cross strived for its independence within the broader Red Cross world in a postwar humanitarian context increasingly dominated by transnational organisations. It also argues that in the 1920s the French Red Cross, a traditional auxiliary of the French army, became an arm of the French Foreign Office, advancing French diplomacy and sovereignty.
- Red Cross