May 7, 1915

On May 7, 1915 a passenger ship called the Lusitania was spotted by a German U-boat and struck by a single torpedo. In 18 minutes the ship and nearly 1200 of its passengers were on the ocean floor.

The presence of German U-boats in the North Atlantic was well known during the days and weeks leading up to May 7, 1915. Several British Destroyers and small passenger carriers were torpedoed or shot immediately prior to the Lusitania disaster. British intelligence intercepted every German communication. The exact location and course of every German U-boat was known and documented…in secret. There was no mystery. British intelligence was fully aware of the danger that lay ahead for Lusitania. They knew it and nothing was done. No naval escort and no re-routing instructions. Winston Churchill was even reported to state that endangering the Lusitania could have its own advantages. The implication was that compromising the Lusitania (and its 159 American passengers) would give the U.S. an excuse to enter the War and greatly help England secure victory over the German super-power.

The parallels between the sinking of the Lusitania and more recent events of the 21st century are disturbing. We have known for decades that countries are willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent people to pursue war. What’s worse, we stand oblivious to the crimes before us and are made to believe the perpetrators are our protectors. On this day, I’d ask that we all take a moment to educate ourselves on our not-so-distant past.


Featured image by George Grantham Bain

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