The Lusitania, and civilian warfare.

The Arafat thread inspired this, as to not start hijacking.

Lusitania. While yes, it WAS technically listed as a possible auxilary cruiser, it was not being used as such. The ship most likely DID carry contraband, however, did the Germans follow the correct procedure of search and destroy?
Was Churchill at fault, or did he even try to have the ship sunk on purpose?

WAS the attack justified?

For the history-challenged.

This PBS thing says it’s all the captain’s fault, for ignoring warnings and setting sail anyway.

Woodrow Wilson works himself into a diplomatic froth.

Seems I’ve heard that song before…Hmm. Now where was it…?

An interesting summary of the whole controversy.

This part is on the alleged arming of the ship.

This part is called “Warning and Conspiracy”.

To address the OP, I think it’s one of those things we’ll just never know for sure. Sorry I can’t do more of a “debate thing” here. :frowning:

Regardless of whether the vile Huns (to use the lingo of the time) acted within proper rules of warfare, it’s considered bad form to gloat about the sinking of a passenger liner and to issue a medal to commemorate it.

  1. Altho it is unlikely the Lusitania actually had large caliber guns mounted- it still had the mounts for these guns, and was officially lited in Janes as an “auxilary cruiser”. A U-boat commander could not be expected to know she had not yet been converted- especially as her sister ship had. In fact, it would be difficult to know which of the 2 he was torping. In any case, even if not YET converted- she was still a “military target”.

  2. The article DDG links to goes on about whether of not the munitions cargo of the Lusitania was “legal”- however, whether it was “legal” by US shipping regulations is not important. It was 'contraband" and ‘war material’ by International law, and the ship was a legit target. However, it was likely that the Lusitania was carrying more munitions that was listed.

  3. Jackmanni has apparently been taken in by one of the best pieces of Brit propaganda. The "medals’ were made by the brits- to show how despicable the Huns were. The germans did not go for that sort of thing.

Not quite, DITWD…the Germans did INDEED make the first few medals. The British caught on-and made copies to show people, Look what the Germans did!
So the Germans made the first few medals. And there were several postcards made celebrating the sinking in Germany.

Guin- I hate to do this- but I am afraid you are going to have to back that one up- AFAIK, all the medals were made for Brit propaganda. It is not impossible that a private person in germany made some up, I guess.

Well, I went & searched it myself. I was sorta right. The first medal WAS made by a german, one herr Goetz, bit not to give to the crew, or an any sort of 'commemorative medal"- the purpose, according to the Imperial war museum, was to mock the Brit & Yank pre-occupation with the sinking. See: or whatever a link done by someone competant would look like. :smiley:

Thus, the “vile Huns did not issue a medal to gloat about the sinking”. Incidentally, the site admits the Lus was carrying war material.

You’ll find a variety of opinions here.

Also, a good book to read would be Exploring the Lusitania by Robert Ballard (the guy who discovered the Titanic wreck).
I didn’t say the Huns were gloating, I simply said they made the first medals. And I’ll see if I can’t find where I got those postcards celebrating the sinking. They did exist-I have one saved on my harddrive. It has the Lusitania exploding with an inset of Admiral von Tirpitz.

If you’d like to quote accurately, I said that it was considered bad form to gloat about the sinking of a passenger liner and to issue a medal commemorating the event.

A.J.P. Taylor in The First World War - An Illustrated History says in regard to the sinking of the Lusitania, “The Germans were delighted: medals were struck to commemorate the deed.” (the first medal described on the site you link to is pictured in the book).

Another historian who noted a tendency of the German military in the first World War to commit questionable or atrocious acts with little shame or even a sense of pride is Barbara Tuchman (I refer you to The Zimmermann Telegram and The Guns of August.

I don’t know how widely the original commemorative medal was circulated in Germany, but it’s interesting that it wasn’t suppressed by the authorities until 1917.

I had a relative who survived the Lucitatinia attack. He saved a little girl whose parents drowned and adopted her.

I don’t think Churchill was at fault completely, but the fact is that none of the civilians on board new what was in cargo. Personally, I’d want to know that before I stepped onto a boat.

BTW, would anyone like to hear the story? It really is a great one. I won’t waste anyone’s time if they don’t want to hear it, but if they do, I will.

Are you kidding? I’d LOVE to hear it! What was your relative’s name?

(I’m FASCINATED with the Lusitania. Why they don’t make a movie about that, I have no idea! I think the story is even better than the story of the Titanic.)

I don’t remember his name; we always called him uncle Bob. I’m not even sure if he was an actual blood relative.

Bob owned a castle in the Hebrides (that side of the family was always so rich; I could never for the life of me figure out why my father grew up on a chicken farm). He of course visited it once in a while.

Anyway, the ship gets hit. Bob’s about to jump, and he’s sees this little girl, no older than about three years. So, he decides to be a hero and give her his life jacket. He does this, and throws her overboard, thinking he’d find her when he went over, too. Guess what happened.

At this point in the story, the facts get kind of fuzzy. I was told he swam twenty miles to shore. The official statistic was that the Lucitania sunk eight miles off shore. So, either Bob was exagerating, or he swam way more than he had to.

Whatever the answer to this one is, once he got to shore, he found the little girl. Her parents died, so he decided to adopt her. And they lived happily ever after