The History Place - World War I

Lusitania, the world-famous British luxury liner that could cruise up to 600 miles a day. The ship departed New York on May 1, 1915, bound for Liverpool and was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side at 2:15 pm, May 7, about 15 miles off the Irish Coast. A third torpedo aimed at the port side missed. Below: The flag-draped body of an American victim recovered soon after the sinking.

Below Left: The Gardener brothers, young survivors of the Lusitania disaster, are aided by a hotel porter. After the torpedoes struck, the ship's master immediately ordered women and children into the lifeboats. Below Right: A vivid British Army recruiting poster created shortly after the attack. The outrage of Allied and neutral nations intensified in the months after the attack when it became known the Germans had created a commemorative medal honoring the feat. The Germans also issued blunt press statements denying guilt while pinning the blame on the ship's British owners for sailing into a war zone around the British Isles--citing an advertisement that had been placed in the New York Times warning of potential attacks against British ships. However, the denials and explanations failed to sway public opinion in light of the heavy death toll. After the war, during his only press interview, the Kaiser himself admitted his regret over the Lusitania sinking.


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