Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Vejas G. Liulevicius

Committee Members

Monica Black, Margaret Andersen, Maria Stehle


This is a study of German nurses during the First World War that examines the differing perceptions and representations of them that appeared during the war, focusing on those of British and American nurses and German soldiers that were at odds with the ideal image of nurses. I trace British and American nurses’ opinions using nursing and medical journals and investigate the complex relationship between German nurses and soldiers using soldiers’ newspapers as a main source base. I argue that representations and perceptions of German nurses that contrasted with the ideal image of a nurse are crucial to understanding the relationships between German, British, and American nurses because the perceived deviations from the ideal image strained their relationships even after the war was over. These conflicting images are also essential to appreciating the complex relationship between German soldiers and nurses because they show that, at times, these relationships took on more than the familial characteristics featured in the ideal image to include romantic characteristics that could complicate nurses’ lives and cause concern among German military authorities and the public. This study demonstrates the complexity of these various relationships and the effect the war had on them, which extended beyond the signing of the armistice.

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