• Christine E. Hallett


The Conclusion (Chap. 5) reiterates and summarises the main points made in the book, the main purpose of which is to analyse the ways in which Edith Cavell’s life, work, and execution were understood and interpreted in the approximately one hundred years after her death. It discusses the ways in which, in a broader sense, such analysis enables an understanding of the processes of memory, memorialisation, and commemoration. In the days and weeks immediately following Cavell’s death, the governments of Britain and its self-governing dominions made use of her execution in powerfully propagandist ways. In this, they were supported by the most powerful communicators within their societies—notably newspaper editors and clergymen. Cavell was presented as both a heroine and a martyr. The clamour of outrage which followed her death all but drowned out her own voice—as a professional woman who expressed the belief that “patriotism was not enough”, and stated that she wished to be remembered as a nurse who “did her duty”. The Conclusion ends by reflecting on the “audacity of commemoration” and the “impossibility of history”.


Edith Cavell Legend Commemoration Memorialisation 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine E. Hallett
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor of HistoryThe University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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