Norman Bethune

Physician

1890 – 1939

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Who was Norman Bethune?

Henry Norman Bethune was a Canadian physician, medical innovator, and noted anti-fascist. Bethune came to international prominence first for his service as a frontline surgeon supporting the democratically-elected Republican government during the Spanish Civil War. But it was his service with the Communist Eighth Route Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War that would earn him enduring acclaim. Dr. Bethune effectively brought modern medicine to rural China and often treated sick villagers as much as wounded soldiers. His selfless commitment to the Chinese people made such an impression on Mao Zedong that generations of Chinese students were required to memorise the Chairman's eulogy to him.

Ironically, while Bethune was the man responsible for developing a mobile blood-transfusion service for frontline operations in the Spanish Civil War, he himself died of blood poisoning.

A prominent Communist and veteran of the First World War, he wrote that wars were motivated by profits, not principles. Statues in his honour can be found in cities throughout China.

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Born
Mar 4, 1890
Gravenhurst
Also known as
  • Dr. Norman Bethune
Nationality
  • Canada
Profession
Education
  • University of Toronto
  • Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute
Died
Nov 12, 1939
Tang County

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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