“First as Tragedy, Second as Farce”: Executing German Spies at the Tower of London During World War One
The Tower of London is one of the most popular tourist attractions within the Greater London area. However, many people are unaware that during the First World War the British government decided to execute eleven German spies convicted of espionage within the same walls that saw the deaths of prisoners such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Thomas More, and Queen Anne Boleyn. While the British wanted to utilize the symbol of power that the Tower had become in the previous centuries by holding executions during the Great War there, it in actuality turned out much differently. Many of the spies became martyrs to the German cause and public relations disasters were all too common. With unanticipated outcomes occurring all too frequently, the executions of German spies became somewhat of a comic opera, only ending after the final spy was executed in 1916.
"“First as Tragedy, Second as Farce”: Executing German Spies at the Tower of London During World War One,"
Voces Novae: Vol. 5, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/vocesnovae/vol5/iss1/9