Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Abbreviations

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pp. vii-x

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An Introduction

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pp. 3-20

In the winter and spring of 1938, the short-lived Journal of the Association of Medical Students published a debate between Harvard University physiologist and professor Dr. Walter B. Cannon and National Secretary of the American Red Cross (ARC) Miss Mabel T. Boardman. The question was how to ameliorate modern war with medical aid—and, more specifically, how to do so in light of the civil war that had recently fragmented Spain. Although Cannon and Boardman’s discussion offers interesting reflections on concepts of modernity in the mid-twentieth century, something more fundamental...

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One. Americans Respond: The Development of Private Aid

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pp. 21-48

Although the Spanish Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War were products of unique geopolitical circumstances, both became linked in the rise of conflict in the interwar world. In Britain, this connection became framed as the “Shanghai-Madrid axis.”1 Both conflicts resonated with one another, not only as combats over Fascist power or imperialist aggression, but also in turning civilians into new targets of conflict. In the U.S., parallel public responses arose. The bombing of civilian centers from Bilbao and Madrid to Shanghai and Nanking were cited in parallel as evidence of the new realities...

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Two. Institutional Failure: Replacing the Red Cross?

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pp. 49-70

As the leader in private aid in times of war, the story of the Red Cross—in both its national and international forms—provides both a parallel and a contrast to the development of the AMBASD, ABMAC, and CAC. On the one hand, as private responses to conflict growing out of a basic critique of existing services available to the wounded and the victims of war, there are commonalities between the private aid organizations of this study and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and affiliated national societies such as the American Red Cross (ARC). On the other hand, by the late...

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Three. Defining Aid: Private Interests Meet the State

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pp. 71-94

When the AMBASD began to send personnel abroad to Spain, the U.S. State Department wavered on its response to these private efforts in light of U.S. neutrality legislation. By the time the ABMAC and CAC began organizing aid to China under UCR, the U.S. government had reestablished a more proactive stance in regulating and supporting aid abroad. Their actions supporting China and its military offered a positive tool to U.S. interests on multiple levels, and groups under UCR found a powerful ally in the state. These alliances cannot be summarized simply as a product of citizen...

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Four. American Medical Volunteers in Spain

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pp. 95-122

The first unit of American medical volunteers set out for Spain in January 1937. A few months later, the passage of the Neutrality Act of 1937 expanded previous legislation seeking to limit and define U.S. participation in foreign conflicts. While explicit in prohibiting the export of any arms and other war materiel to belligerent nations, the Neutrality Acts were less explicit in circumscribing citizen action. In 1935, U.S. citizens had been warned that travel to war zones would be done at their own risk. In 1937, U.S. citizens were explicitly forbidden from traveling on the ships of belligerent...

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Five. Avenues of Aid for Americans in China

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pp. 123-142

While the volunteer movement mounted by the AMBASD came to define its practical identity, the medical relief orchestrated by private groups in aid of China lacked a parallel dimension. Although Robert Lim of the CRC had encouraged the ABMAC to send medical volunteers, ABMAC-sponsored medical personnel remained limited to a handful of individuals. The ABMAC found greater success in responding to Lim’s request to help fund the return journeys of a couple of dozen Chinese physicians, nurses, and medical personnel studying in the United States. Similarly, although the CAC...

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Six. The Politics of Relief

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pp. 143-158

Just as the organizations of this study were organizations that arose from conflict, they also became organizations that largely disintegrated with the resolution of conflict. As popular responses to the outbreak of war in Spain and in China, the AMBASD, ABMAC, and CAC initially claimed organizational identity in contrast to state and institutional responses. These groups suggested that the moral imperative rested with the American people to respond to and support particular foreign groups in political crisis when the state and other aid institutions failed to respond. But as the Nationalists gained...

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Conclusions

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pp. 159-176

Although the wars ended in Spain and China, the activism of those involved in the AMBASD and ABMAC did not disappear. While the AMBASD had dissolved, its medical volunteers joined forces with the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB). Remnants of UCR merged with the ABMAC, which followed the exiled Nationalist government to Taiwan. As the Chinese Communists consolidated their power and closed the country to foreign influence, the CAC faded into obscurity. Many of those involved in these campaigns of medical relief found themselves embroiled...

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Appendix A

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pp. 177-180

Nearly thirty physicians and surgeons traveled to Spain on behalf of the AMBASD. All but one were men. Their ages ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties. They came from all over the U.S., although a particularly strong contingent (roughly half) came from New York and other major cities of the Northeast. Six were immigrants, four coming from Russia, one from England, and one from Spain. Many were single when they traveled to Spain, although a few were married with families. The vast majority were of Jewish heritage, although only a handful self-identified their religion...

Appendix B

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pp. 181-182

Notes

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pp. 183-220

Bibliography

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pp. 221-234

Index

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pp. 235-240