Since the beginning, humans have resorted to violence as a way to settle disagreements. Yet through the ages, people from around the world have tried to limit the brutality of war. It was this humanitarian spirit that led to the First Geneva Convention of 1864, and to the birth of modern International Humanitarian Law. Setting the basic limits on how wars can be fought, these universal laws of war protect those not fighting, as well as those no longer able to. To do this, a distinction must always be made between who or what may be attacked, and who or what must be spared and protected.