The RMS Lusitania entered service with Cunard in 1907. The first transatlantic express liner powered by marine turbines, she could complete the Liverpool-New York crossing in five days and had a top speed of 25 knots. She restored the British supremacy of the key North Atlantic route which the Germans had seized.
All this ended on 7 May 1915 when she was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank 18 minutes later with the loss of 1,198 passengers and crew (interestingly 39% of those aboard survived whereas only 32% of those on the Titanic survived despite the latter taking 2 hours, 40 minutes to sink.)
The Author concentrates not just on the disaster but its aftermath including the political recriminations and the inquiry. As a result of the loss of 128 American citizens the Germans signed an agreement not to attack US shipping. Their breach of this was a major contributory reason, along with the Zimmermann Telegram, why the USA entered the War.
This is a fascinating study of a major shipping disaster with profound consequences.
LUSITANIA SAGA AND MYTH 100 Years On
This book tells the whole story of the Lusitania – the legendary Cunard liner torpedoed by a U-boat off the Irish coast in 1915 with the loss of 1,198 lives. The disaster was key to the US entry to the Great War as 128 Americans were among the dead. The author tells of the liner’s pre-war career as the fastest ship on the trans-Atlantic route, and of the controversies that still surround its sinking.
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