Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Allison Abra

Advisor Department



In October 1915, British nurse Edith Cavell was killed by the Germans for aiding in the illegal liberation of Allied soldiers. In the wake of her death, the British government created a propaganda firestorm to garner both domestic and foreign support for the war. In particular, the propaganda featuring Cavell was highly gendered and over the course of multiple generations has generated a diverse, and often polarized series of social and political responses in both Britain and the United States. Through the examination of government documents, newspapers, and popular culture, such as film and children’s novels, this thesis examines the Anglo-American reaction to the Cavell case. Furthermore, it argues that Cavell’s story served as an instrument through which to express varying gender tensions on both sides of the Atlantic for over a century.