Worth recalling…Nurse Edith Cavell ( 1865- 1915 )

“….but this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”Nurse_Edith_Cavell_1865-1915_Q32930

4 thoughts on “Worth recalling…Nurse Edith Cavell ( 1865- 1915 )

  1. Edith Cavell, while a woman of undoubted virtue, is a an odd choice for commemoration today. She has long been viewed as an Anglican/British Holy Martyr to Barberous Hun, and doubtless von Sauberzweig was wrong to insist on execution BUT under the 1906 version of the Geneva Convention the Germans were perfectly entitled to try her for helping soldiers escape to Britain. Would she have fared better than a German nurse caught in France or England helping young German men escape? Unlikely.

  2. It is good to hear from Mr. Manning. He is always outspoken; and often right. And he has a point here too.
    Of course the Germans had the right to execute Edith Cavelll. Although from their point of view they were foolish to do so. ( Turning your opponents into martyrs is not smart as England was to discover the following year!) But does this invalidate the point that she was making, that while patriotism is a virtue; it is not the supreme virtue?

  3. The Germans offered a Britain a beautiful propaganda weapon with the execution of Cavell, one that resonated particularly with the Americans that the British Government were trying to lure out of their isolationism. The unfortunate nurse, for all her Christian charity, has been made a into divisive figure by brutal lack of mercy on one side, and war propaganda on the other.
    Cavell herself seems to have recognised a higher scale of values. Sadly the war concluded with the worst possible outcome: embedded hatred; and a sense among the Germans that they had not so much been defeated, but betrayed. November 11th represents an end to the mindless, wasteful slaughter but it also represents the the start of the fall to war in 1939.

  4. There is an interesting pendant to Mr. Manning’s first comment. In glancing through Harold Lasswell’s “Propaganda Technique in World War 1” (Cambridge Mass. 1971, 1927) I discovered that there had been an incident when the French had executed two German nurses who had helped their fellow countrymen escape. When an American journalist brought this to the attention of a German army information officer with the suggestion that German propaganda should make what it could of the episode, the German had merely shrugged his shoulders are remarked the French had the perfect right to shoot them! ( Lasswell, p. 32 ) Perhaps this was the incident of which Mr. Manning was thinking.

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