81 – Britain’s Blockade of Europe & the response of the ICRC

At the outbreak of WWII Britain put into motion the strategy of using the Royal Navy to blockade Germany, depriving her of essential goods. When Europe fell the blockade was widened to include all of Europe.

This provided a dilemma for the British, the Ministry of Economic Warfare was in favour of depriving all occupied countries of goods, for the Foreign Office depriving occupied countries would mean negatively affecting countries that were allied with Britain.

In Greece this would lead to famine, and a relief operation organised by the International Red Cross.

Britain and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1939-1945
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James Crossland's work traces the history of the International Committee of the Red Cross' struggle to bring humanitarianism to the Second World War, by focusing on its tumultuous relationship with one of the conflict's key belligerents and masters of the blockade of the Third Reich, Great Britain.

I’m joined by Dr James Crossland of Liverpool John Moores University. James specialises in the history of international humanitarian law and the development of the Red Cross.