Posts Tagged ‘gulf of tonkin incident’

1915, May 7: Sinking of the Lusitania

What was the Lusitania?

A British passenger liner that sailed between Liverpool and New York on a regular basis. Its construction was designed by the British Admiralty (Royal Navy command) for the possible conversion into a ship of war.

In 1913, the Lusitania was dry docked for modification & soon became registered as an ARMED AUXILIARY CRUISER in the British Admiralty fleet less than one year before the start of World War I. The lower deck was stripped of all passenger accommodations and replaced with military cargo.

Became one of the most vital transporting ships of war materials, such as weapons & ammunition, between the U.S. and England during WWI. The captain of the Lusitania, Captain Dow, resigned in March of 1915 claiming he no longer could “carry the responsibility of mixing passengers with munitions and contraband.”

The “Official” Story

Captain William Thomas Turner was not following directives given by the British Admiralty in evading German U-boats.

The Lusitania sailed through German-infested waters and was hit by a torpedo nine feet below the water line on the starboard side. A second torpedo was then fired by the U-boat causing an even more fatal blow, sinking the ship in eighteen minutes. [Originally, Americans believed the 2nd explosion was caused by a 2nd torpedo, but Germany clarified by stating their U-boat only fired one. The 2nd explosion is still undetermined, but theories include coal dust, high-pressured steam lines or munitions cargo as ignitors of the eruption.] Shortly after the first torpedo hit, a second explosion was triggered which sank the ship within 18 minutes.

The captain’s experience as a merchant captain “undoubtedly¬†inclined him to trust his own instincts over bureaucratic directives he didn’t fully understand.”


The Lusitania was carrying up to 6 million rounds of ammunition and over 1,200 cases of shrapnel shells, which clearly violated international neutrality treaties (since the U.S. was Neutral at that time).

In addition to transporting contraband, the ship’s cargo included many boxes that were later discovered to be mislabeled “cheese,” “lard” and other items. [Allegations raised claiming the mysterious boxes contained explosive materials to explain the cause behind the second explosion]

The German Embassy placed an advertisement in 50 newspapers, 1 week before the attack, warning Americans of the danger of traveling through “the waters adjacent to the British Isles” during this time of war. [U.S. State Dept. intervened and only 1 newspaper actually published the advertisement]

Captain Turner planned to meet Juno, a British Destroyer, off of Ireland’s coast for naval protection, but it never showed and the captain was not notified of any changed plans.

[THE LUSITANIA, almost 800 ft in length & over 44,000 tons, SANK IN 18 MINUTES WHILE THE TITANIC, almost 900 ft in length & over 52,000 tons, SANK IN 2 HRS 40 MINUTES.]

1941, Dec 7: Attack on Pearl Harbor

1964, Aug 4: Gulf of Tonkin incident

2003, March: Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

[2005-2012: Iran’s Nuclear Program]