Killing Time

This is a podcast about the greatest military battles and campaigns that changed the course of history for non-military listeners.

Episode 12 - The Battle of Solferino - 1859

August 22nd, 2016

This pivotal battle of the four Italian Wars of Independence in the mid-19th century was, in its day, the greatest European battle fought since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.  The appalling carnage that resulted from three armies desperate struggle in suffocating summer heat in northern Italy shocked the civilized world.  Swiss businessman Henri Dunant, who visited the battlefield the day after, was so moved by the pitiful treatment of the wounded and dying, that he established the International Red Cross, which survives to this day.  It also led to the first Geneva Convention that protected ambulances and medical personnel from enemy attack during and after a battle.  The outcome of the battle would be instrumental in the establishment of a free, united Italy in place of what had been a scattering of independent or foreign-dominated, small states on the peninsula.  The story of this monumental battle is told in this episode which the author visited himself in the summer of 2016.