Friday, April 04, 2008

Did the Lusitania really get us into World War One?

Not really.

I agree that the Lusitania did have a vast impact on the world. Sadly the impact was promoted more through propaganda.

It was a horrible and great mistake on both the sides of the Allies and Germans. The Allies were using all of the ships sailing to Europe to carry a lot of munitions.
They sugar coated it by putting passengers on such ships.

The loss of life was amazing. Both sides hold the blame for their loss. Ironically a little known story concerns some Germans. Four of them were seen looking around the Lusitania and they were taken to the ships brig and there they still remain. They were locked in their cage and when the ship was torpedoed they were forgotten.

The Germans were not at all at fault by sinking a ship carry such munitions. One has to remember that each of these ships was carrying materials that would in time be fired at them by the Allies!!

Germany even issued warnings in the Newspapers telling passengers not to sail on such a vessel as there existed a state of war. But few paid any attention, and paid dearly with their lives.

It is interesting that the Allies never mentioned such a fact to their passengers. It was arrogance on a grand scale, and the result was catastrophic to everyone.

So it was in their best interest to sink any ship carry such items. However, if only they could have done it a little easier by telling everyone to abandon ship and then sunk her.

The problem with that was that the German's originally did that with ships. They would surface and tell the ships company to go to the boats and after all were off they would sink the ship with gun fire or torpedo's.
But after this bit of courtesy was started the Allies would ram the U boats. So they stopped that practice.

Therefore when the U 20 saw the Lusitania she did not surface, she just fired one torpedo, just one. That one torpedo caused a 790 foot liner to go down in 18 minutes!

There are still problems in my mind about why that ship sank so fast? She was subdivided like a cruiser and made to withstand a lot. She was still plowing through the water as she sank.
The RMS Britannic (sister of the Titanic) Struck a mine the following year and received a great deal of damage as the ship plowed along in the water. Yet she lasted an hour.

By the sinking, the Allies had a great piece of propaganda, and used it for 2 years till the USA was in the picture.
There were Lusitania Memorial Cards and one other piece that truly was an awful piece of propaganda.

When the Lusitania was sunk there was a private issue of a metal made in Germany. No one would have known of it. However the British got a hold of one of the metals and had tens of thousands of them made and then they blamed the German's for making them!
That was one of the factors that turned the tide against the German's.

The Lusitania was sunk in 1915 and it was a big issue for a while. However the United States did not enter the war till well into 1917. It was not till there were the famous Zimmerman telegrams intercepted concerning Mexico and many other ships torpedoed that the United States reluctantly entered the war.

It was the worst thing the United States ever did.

Perhaps the two greatest errors of the USA in the 20th century were entering the war and the terrible peace process that followed.

This war was a continuation of the wars that had been going on in Europe for the last few hundred years.
It was a war blown out of proportion by the foolish actions of the Russian Tsar, who never was much of an intellect at all.
Much of the problems started with his actions. The Kaiser sent telegrams to the Tsar basically saying to him

"shut up and be quiet and let it all cool down"

But he did not...Before long through that first action the sides were drawn and the world started to fall apart. In fact it has never recovered from that moment of 1914. Much of the mess that exists in our world today dates from the peace process of World War One.

That process effected the world in such a way that we are still paying for it. Iraq, Iran,and really what would in time become Israel as we know it was created in that peace conference of World War One.
Just one of the many great blunders. I have often wondered if they gave it a thought back then? We are creating a whole mess of countries side by side and each of them hates the other!

Yes, the Lusitania was a terrible event, but not the major reason the USA went into the war. Many people think that was the reason. No, it was one of many reasons, but not the major one.
But if Germany and England had changed their tune in 1915. We would not have entered the war.
If we had not allowed contraband to be put on passenger ships in New York Harbor there would not have been issue with the Lusitania either. But that is another story, for another posting.