Lusitania Facts

Lusitania Facts
The RMS Lusitania was a British flagged ocean liner steam ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War I on May 7, 1915. The attack left 1,198 dead, 128 of them Americans, out of nearly 2,000 passengers, making it the worst maritime disaster since the sinking of the RMS Titanic and one of the worst disasters on the high seas in history. The attack was part of the German Navy's U-boat campaign against British shipping - because Britain is a relatively small island nation, it is dependent on imports to survive. Since the German Navy could not hope to go toe to toe against the British Navy's destroyers, cruisers, and battleships, it instead built a large fleet of submarines. The Lusitania was just one of many private ocean liners that served a dual purpose during World War I, moving private citizens and arms for the military. The British initially denied that the Lusitania was carrying any arms, but it is now known that it had millions of rounds of small ammunition as well as shrapnel casings and percussion fuses on board. The Lusitania was attacked about 750 miles off the coast of Ireland as it was returning from New York to Liverpool. Although it would be two more years until the Americans entered World War I on the Allies' side, the sinking of the Lusitania was one of the factors that pushed the country closer to war.
Interesting Lusitania Facts:
The Lusitania is often compared to the Titanic. The two ships were both four funnel steamers and close to the same size and design and they both tragically sunk, killing most people on board.
The Lusitania was first launched in 1906.
The Lusitania was owned and operated by the Cunard Line, which was the primary rival of the Titanic's owner, the White Star Line.
The Lusitania was built in Scotland and based in Liverpool, while the Titanic was built in Northern Ireland and based in Southampton.
U-20 was the name of the submarine that sank the Lusitania. It was commanded by Captain Walther Schweiger.
The RMS designation stands for "Royal Mail Ship." In the era before air mail, large ocean liners like the Lusitania and Titanic brought mail across the oceans as well as people.
The German government issued travel warnings in English in several American newspapers.
Once the Lusitania was attacked in the afternoon, it quickly sank. Although there were more than enough lifeboats for the entire crew and all the passengers, only six were launched before the ship sank.
As with the Titanic, many of the passengers in first-class were among the elite of European and American society. Among those who perished was American heir Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt of the Vanderbilt. It was said that he was ticketed to sail on the Titanic three years earlier but missed the ship.

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