The Role of the Red Cross in World War I
As Pig Iron prepares its reprise of Gentlemen Volunteers, we'll share content about the stories and events that informed and inspired the production.
The Red Cross played an important role during World War I. Prior to the First World War, the Red Cross introduced its first aid, water safety, and public health nursing programs. With the outbreak of war, the organization experienced phenomenal growth. The number of local chapters jumped from 107 in 1914 to 3,864 in 1918 and membership grew from 17,000 to over 20 million adult and 11 million Junior Red Cross members. The public contributed $400 million in funds and material to support Red Cross programs, including those for American and Allied forces and civilian refugees. The Red Cross staffed hospitals and ambulance companies and recruited 20,000 registered nurses to serve the military. Additional Red Cross nurses came forward to combat the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918.
After the war, the Red Cross focused on service to veterans and enhanced our programs in safety training, accident prevention, home care for the sick, and nutrition education.