The Secrets of the Lusitania

  • Length: 1566 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

The American owner of the ill-fated Lusitania is planning to explore and
hopefully salvage the liner, sunk off the south-west coast of Ireland on May
7, 1915, killing 1,198 people.
"The Lusitania is probably the most important shipwreck that hasn't been
investigated in any detail so far," says Gregg Bemis. And although there are
striking similarities between the Lusitania and the Titanic, recently the
subject of a major movie, Bemis believes that the Lusitania is "a much more
interesting and historical story - and you don't have to make up any phoney
romance the way they did with the Titanic."
It is a story which involves US President Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill
and the still unanswered question of what the liner was carrying on board.
The Lusitania, pride of the Cunard line, was sailing from New York for the
port of Liverpool when a single torpedo from a German U-boat crashed into her
hull between the third and fourth funnels.
The ship sank in just under 20 minutes. Of those killed, 128 were American
citizens, and the incident influenced the eventual US decision to enter the
war two years later. It also provoked curiosity and mystery that naval
historians have argued over ever since. Was the Lusitania, as the Germans
claimed persistently, heavily loaded with
Liliya Goldenberg 2
weapons of war? If she was, who tipped Germany off? In addition, did she
carry priceless works of art in watertight containers, and what of the six
million dollars in gold bullion rumored to have been taken aboard but which
was not on the manifest? Following the
discharge of the fatal torpedo, there was a second blast deep inside the ship
a few minutes later - could this have been a secret cargo of explosives? What
is certain is that since the fatal day of May 7, 1915, the wreck of the
Lusitania has lain untouched 100 meters deep off the Old Head of Kinsale, a
prominent peninsula on Ireland's southern coast.
Gregg Bemis is in no doubt that she was carrying weaponry. "She went down in
18 minutes," he says. "That would have been impossible with one torpedo for a
ship that size. There were high explosives on board, all right." Bemis also
points out that one of those who perished was Sir Hugh Lane, Irish art
collector and head of London's National Gallery. He was believed to have had
a stack of paintings by Rubens, Titian and Monet on board in watertight

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Secrets of the Lusitania." 21 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Sinking of the Lusitania - The sinking of the Lusitania was a tragic event. It occurred on May 7th, 1915 in the North Atlantic ocean. The famous British ocean liner had departed from New York City and was off the coast of Ireland when a German submarine fired torpedoes. The ship had roughly 1,900 passengers on board, most of which were American citizens. The ship was meant for passengers and not for cargo but as lots of reporters have stated there was in fact a handful of war materials aboard the ship which was kept secret from its passengers.Prior to the sinking the Germans had declared that the waters around the British Isles were considered to be a war zone.1 This war zone idea was backed by the fact that the Germa...   [tags: british ocean liner]
:: 6 Works Cited
1163 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Secrets They Kept - ... He trusted Desdemona and her love is what gave him life. However, with Iago’s lies Othello’s feelings for his wife darken and eventually disappear. He becomes inherently evil with the immoral persuasion of his advisor, Iago. Iago feels that he deserves promotion over Othello’s lieutenant Michael Cassio and also believes that Othello has slept with his wife Emilia. Because of his beliefs, Iago decides to convince Othello his wife is cheating on him. Iago, who is ironically referred to as “Honest Iago,” took Othello’s love and pure intentions for his wife, Desdemona, and molded them like clay, into corruption and wrongdoing....   [tags: flaws, dishonesty, secrets, prideful] 1179 words
(3.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Lusitania 10101 Essay - The Lusitania was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 on May 7, 1915. 1198 people died of a total of 1959 people on the boat. The ship sunk in 18 minutes. Second most famous passenger liner after the Titanic. It was destroyed 8 miles from the coast of Old head of Kinsale, Ireland. Built by John Brown and company of Clydebank, Scotland. First Launched Thursday, June 7, 1906. After the Sinking of Lusitania the U.S threatened war. The Lusitania was destroyed in the same was as the Titanic as they could not pull the boats into the sea and water kept rushing into the hull through the front where the torpedo hit as the boat couldn’t be stopped.The Lusitania was torpedoed by the German submarine...   [tags: Lusitania Ship History Research Paper] 1324 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Secrets Found in Gimli by Diane Alexander Essay - Secrets Found in Gimli by Diane Alexander, Freya Press, 2007 is the text chose to be stylistic analyzed. The main theme in the story is healing. Anger and jealousy destroyed the life of two Aboriginal siblings. In order to heal the issues left unsolved in the first life, the sibling soul’s reincarnate as friends, but their relationship with each other, and with others characters in the story, are turbulent. Aboriginal spirituality played a role in the story and explains the reasons for things and helps the characters solve their karmas issues....   [tags: Secrets Found in Gimli] 560 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Results of Keeping Secrets in the Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald Essay - In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby, a novel set in The Roaring Twenties, portraying a flamboyant and immortal society of the ‘20s where the economy booms, and prohibition leads to organized crimes. Readers follow the journey about a young man named Jay Gatsby, an extravagant mysterious neighbor of the narrator, Nick Carraway. As the novel evolves, Nick narrates his discoveries of Gatsby’s past and his love for Daisy, Nick’s married cousin to readers. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald develops the theme of the conflict which results from keeping secrets instead of telling the truth using the three characters – Tom Buchanan, Nick Carraway, and Jay Gatsby (James Gats)....   [tags: society, economy, prohibition, secrets] 1031 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Secrets in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter" - Secrets can destroy even the most respected people. Sometimes is not the secret itself that drives people into exhaustion, but the emotional baggage that comes with it. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Dimmesdale physically deteriorates because of his guilt caused by a dishonorable sin. The Puritan society in which the story is set discourages the idea of the private self, which Hawthorne shows by creating distinctions between the characters’ private and public lives, specifically Dimmesdale’s....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scarlet Letter, secrets, ] 619 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Secrets and Lies - Secrets and Lies Throughout our lives we are shaped and molded by our friends and family. They have a lasting affect that can shape our mind and our self. Self is determined by the combination of selves that surround a person on a daily basis. From the childhood friends that we try so hard to hang on to as we journey farther and farther into the real world, to the hated boss and teachers that haunt our mind as we lie awake in our beds at nighttime, we are a product of all those selves....   [tags: Secrets and Lies Essays] 1403 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Lusitania Essay - Lusitania It was 2:10 p.m. on May 7, 1915. Leslie Morton, a lookout on the Lusitania, screamed, "Torpedoes coming on the starboard side." Two explosions followed. Within 18 minutes the huge liner, once the largest ever built, sank to the bottom of the Celtic Sea. 1,195 out of the 1,959 people aboard died. Walther Schwieger, commander of the German submarine U- 20, who had fired a single torpedo 750 yards away from the ship, later called it the most horrible sight he had ever seen. The Lusitania entered service between Liverpool and New York on September 7, 1907....   [tags: essays research papers] 990 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Sinking of the Lusitania Essay - The Sinking of the Lusitania On the 7 May 1915 at 14:30, then 240 metre long and 27 meter wide ship the Lusitania sunk to the sea bed. Despite the fact that so many were killed, 1,195 people, this ship has not become one of history’s most well known vessels, unlike the Titanic. This is due to the fact that the Lusitania was sunk by the Germans during the First World War. The Lusitania and her sister ship, the Mauretania, were built by John Brown & CO Ltd in Glasgow for the purpose of winning back the Blue Riband, an award to ships crossing the Atlantic ocean in the quickest time....   [tags: Papers] 1254 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Dangerous Secrets Exposed in Susan Griffin's Our Secret Essay - Dangerous Secrets Exposed in Griffin's Our Secret   Secrets are apart of every human being. Even children, in their earliest years in this world, learn how to bury secrets in their hearts. In Susan Griffin's "Our Secret," she explores the subconscious, aiming particularly at the dark secrets that lie in the abyss of the human heart. Griffin claims that the darkest secrets of each person are similar in the sense that these secrets are perverted and prejudiced thoughts. These concealed evils are so deeply imbedded that people forget or choose to forget the existence of these malicious thoughts....   [tags: Susan Griffin, Our Secret]
:: 1 Works Cited
1269 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

containers and worth a fortune.
If indeed the Lusitania had been carrying arms, passengers embarking at New
York would have been blissfully unaware of it. They had been far more
occupied taking in the ship's luxury appointments, handsome state rooms with
soaring Doric columns, shimmering chandelier, damask and inlaid mahogany
furnishings. There had been lifts, a nursery, diet kitchens for babies, a
fully staffed hospital, kennels, telephones and special rooms for maids and
Above all, with her double-bottom and watertight compartments, the Lusitania
was reckoned to be one of the safest ships afloat, and with her revolutionary
steam turbines, one of the fastest. But aside from all the splendour and
comfort, there was one
Liliya Goldenberg 3
factor that could not be forgotten - a grim warning contained in an
advertisement placed in New York's newspapers on May 1:
"Travellers intending to embark for an Atlantic voyage are reminded that a
state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her
allies... vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or any of her allies are
liable to destruction."
The signatory was the Imperial German Embassy in Washington.
The Cunard authorities took the threat seriously enough to question each
passenger and closely examine their credentials. Anonymous telegrams were
received by scores of passengers, warning them of the ship's imminent
destruction and urging them to disembark. Most of the passengers ignored any
threat. One of the most celebrated of them, the multi-millionaire Alfred G
Vanderbilt, scoffed:
"Why should we be afraid of German submarines? We can out-distance any
submarine afloat."
Amid the gaiety of waved straw hats and tossed confetti, the tunes It's a
Long Way to Tipperary and The Star-spangled Banner had accompanied the
departure from the New York pier. It was in sharp contrast to the muted
departure during the early hours of April 30 from the dock in Germany's
Emden, of the U-20, which had already sunk three merchant ships in the
English Channel under the command of Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger. A
week later off the Irish coast, the submariner stood straining to catch the
outline of a perfect landmark for a sure bearing; the Old Head of Kinsale,
rising 256 feet

Liliya Goldenberg 4
out of the water.Shortly before 2pm, his binoculars picked out a rapidly
materializing speck in the west.
Aboard the Lusitania, passengers were either unconcernedly finishing their
lunch, taking a turn on the deck or finishing their packing in anticipation
of arrival in Liverpool for breakfast.
Aboard the U-20, Schwieger, who was later to log that he did not recognize
the identity of the Lusitania until he saw the gold letters on her bow, heard
the torpedo officer report: "Torpedoes ready for firing." The Lusitania was
right on target and her Captain, William Thomas Turner, felt the vessel reel
as the torpedo struck the thick steel sides to starboard and the Marconi
operator began tapping out: "Come at once, big list, 10 miles south old Head
It seemed no time at all before the ship's bow was buried beneath the water
and those who had survived were clinging desperately to the stern.
The screams of those who had not made it to the lifeboats were silenced
virtually by crashes within cargo spaces and engine rooms.The rescue
operation was carried out by a variety of vessels, including a Greek coaster,
harbor ferries, trawlers and sundry tenders. Longboats with oarsmen rowed to
the rescue from small fishing villages beyond Kinsale.
Wesley Frost, the local American consul, later recalled:
"We saw the ghastly procession of the rescue ships as they landed the living
and the dead. Piles of corpses began to appear among the paint kegs and coil
or rope on the shadowy old wharves. Women caught at our sleeves and begged

Liliya Goldenberg 5
desperately for word of their husbands, and men moved ceaselessly from group
to group, seeking a lost bride, daughter or sister."
Elizabeth Duckworth from Taftville, Connecticut, remembered:
"The sea was filled with bodies. To see women and children was bad enough.
But there were small children, even infants."
At the final count, of the 1,959 who had sailed aboard the Lusitania, 1,198
perished, including 785 passengers. There was mass mourning throughout
Ireland on Monday, May 10, the first group of more than 100 dead, borne on
wagons because not enough hearses could be gathered, were laid to rest in
common graves in the city of Queenstown.
On both sides of the Atlantic, grief was not slow to turn to cold anger. In
Victoria, British Columbia, mobs swooped on the German Club, smashing windows
and dragging furniture into the street where it was hacked to pieces. In
Britain, anti-German feeling produced destruction in Liverpool, while in
London Germans who were members of the Order of the Garter were struck off
the roll and their banners removed from Windsor Castle.
Although the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, was said later to have regarded the
sinking of the Lusitania as "a mistake", the German press showed no regrets
at all.
In Munich, a commemoration medal was stuck, one side showing passengers at a
Cunard office buying tickets from a death's head, under the slogan "Business
as usual".

Liliya Goldenberg 6
The reverse showed the Lusitania sinking, its desk crammed with a variety of
weapons. The torpedoing was hailed by the Frankfurter Zeitung newspaper as
"an extraordinary success".
Revenge, though, Americans didn't take up, waiting until Germany's
announcement of a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. Four months after
that, on
April 2, 1917, President Wilson went before a Senate to request a
declaration of war with Germany. And the Lusitania? For 83 years, she has
lain, her secrets concealed, on the bed of the ocean. The ambitious plans of
Gregg Bemis to explore and salvage the wreck could well change all that.
"Everything that was possible to do was done by the crew to reach the
wreck in time to save life but as we had no wind it took us a long time to
pull the ten or twelve miles out from the boathouse which we had to go. If we
had wind or any motor power our boat would have been amongst the first on the
scene. It was a harrowing sight to witness, the sea was strewn with dead
bodies floating about, some with lifebelts on, others holding on to pieces of
rafts, all dead. I deeply regret it was not in our power to have been in time
to save some."
So wrote Rev. Forde in an official report to the Royal National Lifeboat
Institution following the sinking of the Lusitania.
She was the pride of the Cunard fleet, a ship of immense proportions and
capable of great speed. Carrying 1,959 passengers she left New York on May
1st, 1915,

Liliya Goldenberg 7
bound for Liverpool. They were dangerous times and these were dangerous
waters, where U-Boats were active. And where she did not survive.

Return to