Sailing toward disaster: The moral gamble surrounding the Lusitania sinking.

The Lusitania disaster is a story set during the Great War that has always fascinated me. In the following article below Sean Munger tells us the tragic story of the Lusitania and why it was an important moment in history. It is tragic, gruesome and shocking. Sean won’t mind here if I add that, images of her sinking were used in the years to come as enlistment posters. One particular poster by Fred Spear that comes to mind, and is coincidentally featured in my WW1 100 blogs series, that focused on the atrocity of killing defenceless women and children. In the poster a young mother and baby sink to the bottom of the sea and drown. Posters like this worked to create a feeling of emotional blackmail for men to volunteer to fight. Forgive me, I have transgressed a little here. Please enjoy Sean’s article on the Lusitania.

lusitania gamble

Next week, May 7, is the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the luxury liner Lusitania. Today, however, May 1, is the anniversary of the ship leaving New York on its final doomed voyage, at the end of which it would be callously torpedoed by a German submarine and sunk, killing 1,198 innocent civilians in an outrageous act of war. This article is only tangentially about that subject. (I did a previous article, more directly on-point, on last year’s anniversary). Rather, I’d like to talk about the psychology surrounding the Lusitania, and why it was really a very tragic case of chutzpah on the part of the Germans colliding with naivete on the side of the British. That subject may sound arcane, but I think it’s an interesting glimpse into why World War I was so traumatic, and why the Lusitania disaster is viewed as…

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