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The Swiss Red Cross (German: Schweizerische Rote Kreuz, French: Croix-Rouge suisse, Italian: Croce Rossa Svizzera), or SRC, is the national Red Cross society for Switzerland.It was founded in 1866 in Bern, Switzerland. In accordance with the Geneva Red Cross Agreement and its recognition through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The SRC is Switzerland's oldest and largest relief agency, made up of 24 cantonal leagues, five rescue organizations, three foundations and two societies.
The Swiss Red Cross was established on 17 July 1866 at the instigation of Federal Councillor Jakob Dubs and the Red Cross members Gustave Moynier and Guillaume-Henri Dufour. After its foundation, the SRC named itself as an "aid organisation [Hülfsverein] for Swiss soldiers and their families".Building the national organisation was, however, full of difficulties. For one thing, there was very little consistency in the organisation of Switzerland at the federal level at this time, and for another the organisation was hindered by political and confessional arguments. Also, Switzerland's neutrality and the existence of the International Committee of the Red Cross as an institution in Swiss civil-society posed further difficulties.In 1882 the Zurich Pfarrer Walter Kempin founded the "Centralverein des Schweizerischen Roten Kreuzes" (Central Verein of the Swiss Red Cross), and was its leader until 1885. It lasted until the start of the 20th century, with the appointment of the doctor Walther Sahli as standing Central Secretary in 1898 from the Centralverein and with the Hülfsverein founded by Dubs, Moynier and Dufour beginning to consolidate the SRC structures. As a result, cantonal and local sections were established, Red Cross nursing organisations formed and transport sections set up. In 1903 the official role of the SRC was codified in a decree of the Federal Assembly, as a promoter of the nursing and in the service of the army.With the invasion of the Bourbaki army in March 1871, the SRC saw its first action as an auxiliary arm. It counted, interned 85,000 for six weeks in Switzerland to furnish member of the French army medically.