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Sinking of RMS Lusitania 1915 The RMS Lusitania was a British passenger liner that was torpedoed in the First World War by the German submarine U-20 off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915. It sank in just 18 minutes. A total of 1,198 of 1,959 passengers perished, including 128 of the 197 Americans on board. Despite the large number of American casualties, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson only issued a formal complaint to the German government. He was heavily criticized in the British press for not declaring war. For years the British government insisted the Lusitania contained no war material, but a dive in 2006 found stores of ammunition. (Thus it was a legitimate war target for German submarines.) There is only one remaining Lusitania survivor, a 93-year-old Englishwoman, who was just three months old when the ship was sunk. The last American survivor died on April 12, 2008.
Tags: Lusitania  sinking 
Added: 28th April 2008
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2008-04-28 
The wreck of the Lusitania is owned by a New Mexico businessman, who bought it from an insurance company in 1968 for 1000 British pounds. He has been involved in many legal battles with the Irish government over salvage rights.
Posted by: Naomi on 2008-04-28 
Why would a passenger ship be carrying stores of ammunition and where was it's intended destination? I also wonder how the Germans found out about it? I don't agree with their theory that it was a legitimate war target, there were over 1200 civilians aboard.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2008-04-29 
Naomi, I've done some further research and revised some of the figures in the original posting.

The RMS Lusitania was traveling from New York to Liverpool. The Atlantic Ocean was a legitimate war zone. If ships flew the flags of belligerent nations they were liable to come under attack.

Under international laws of the time, ships that were purely civilian passenger ships were supposed to be immune from attacks. Therefore, it was not uncommon for governments to try to transport soldiers and munitions in ships that were not supposed to be attacked. A ship as large as the Lusitania would have been easy to spot by German submarines that preyed on North Atlantic shipping. The sinking proved to be a major propaganda coup for the Allies, as it showed the Germans to be heartless murderers of innocent civilians. The Germans' assumption that the Lusitania was carrying munitions has been vindicated with recent discoveries within the wreck site.
Posted by: Naomi on 2008-04-29 
Thank's Lava, I appreciate you taking the time to post that info, it's fascinating.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2010-07-27 
There is one survivor of the Lusitania disaster still alive: Audrey Pearl. Living in England, she is now 95 years old.
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