Edith Cavell Essay

1295 words - 6 pages

“Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful, something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy” (qtd in,l 1). Edith Cavell certainly kept her word, because by the end of World War One, she had saved hundreds of lives and had achieved many other accomplishments, changing the course of the war. Much of her childhood and early adulthood had a major impact on the choices that she made later on in her life, changing her world forever. Having a minister as a father, Cavell was taught at a young age the importance of helping others. Prior to his death, Edith had taken care of her father during his illness, which later contributed to her decision to become a ...view middle of the document...

As if that wasn’t enough, she helped the soldiers escape as well. She provided the soldiers with money, new identification papers and found guides to assist them on their escape. Eventually, she helped the soldiers escape even if they were not wounded whatsoever. This help, was the most altruistic kindness of all. Cavell never got anything in return for her extreme bravery. Not only did she save lives, but she gave hope to the world that things could get better.
Edith’s hospital was very close to the front line. There were many shells and bombs landing, which ironically wounded many of the staff. There were also treacherous smells of men’s bloody clothes, which caused nurses to get sick. “Nothing but physical impossibility, lack of space and money would make me close my doors to Allied refugees.” (Qtd. in, T Pettinger,1) Edith Cavell gave up everything, including her life, for the soldiers, which shows the dedication that she had for standing up for what she believed in, no matter what the cost would be. Cavell did not allow her staff to get involved in the hiding or transporting of the Allied soldiers, in order to protect them. She knew that there was a large possibility that she would one day get caught, and for that reason, she felt obligated to make sure that her nurses would not be punished for something that she was responsible for.
The Germans always suspected Edith Cavell of aiding the Allies somehow, although they did not have sufficient evidence to prove this, so she was off their radar for a while. On July 31, 1915, one of her escape groups was caught and captured. This was followed by her arrest five days later.
When Cavell was arrested, she didn’t plead innocent, but rather said that she felt obligated to help the soldiers. A short trial took place, although the Germans found her guilty, and gave her the death sentence. People had shocking reactions after hearing of her punishment, especially because not only had she assisted Allied soldiers, but German soldiers as well. Immediately, many countries took action. The Belgian and Spanish minister requested that her sentence be taken away. The U.S. minister explained to Germany that the execution would worsen their reputation greatly. Edith Cavell had most of the world rooting for her, although Germany would not let go of Cavell’s actions.
“I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end...Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy.” (qtd. in, 1) Edith Cavell never saw her death sentence as a punishment. She realized that she completed her mission, saving precious lives, and now it was simply over. She...

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