What was the RMS Lusitania known for?

RMS Lusitania

The Lusitania was a British passenger ship that ran regularly between Liverpool and New York. She belonged to the Cunard Companywhich, as already mentioned, is the only larger ship from a competitor of the Morgan-Cartel was. She left New York Harbor on May 1, 1915 and was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland six days later. Of the 1,195 dead, 195 were Americans. More than any other event, this gave advocates of entering the war a compelling platform for their views. At that moment the Americans began, still hesitantly, not necessarily to accept the need for war, but to accept its inevitability.

The description of the Lusitania as a passenger ship is deceiving. Although built as a luxury ship, the British Admiralty had determined that she could be converted into a warship if required. From the power of the machines to the shape of their hulls to the ammunition chambers, everything testified to a military plan. It was designed to be equipped with twelve six-inch cannons. The cost of this optional equipment was borne by the UK government. Even in peacetime, her crew had to be reinforced with officers and sailors from the Royal Navy Reserve.

In May 1913 she was towed into dry dock and equipped with additional armor, bogies for cannons on the decks and ammunition depots. There were also pulley blocks to lift grenades to the cannons. Twelve powerful cannons were brought to the dry dock. All of this is done in the National Maritime Museum documented in Greenwich, England, but there is still some debate as to whether these cannons were actually installed at the time. There is no proof of that. In any case, on September 17th it returned Lusitania back to sea, ready for the rigors of war, but she was listed on the Admiralty's fleet register not as a passenger ship, but as a armed support ship registered! From then on she was also used in Jane's Fighting Ships as an auxiliary cruiser and in British publication The Naval Annual run as an armed merchant ship.[3]

Some of the conversions in the dry dock served to remove passenger cabins on the lower decks to make room for larger military cargoes. This is how the Lusitania one of the main means of transport for war material, including ammunition, from the United States to England. On March 8, 1915, the captain handed in the Lusitania resigned after several threatening approaches by German submarines. Although he was ready to face the submarines, he said, he was no longer willing to “take responsibility for mixing passengers with ammunition or smuggled goods”.[4]

Churchill sets a trap

From England's point of view, the signs on the wall were clear. If the United States could not be drawn to war as an ally, England would soon have to seek peace. So the challenge was: How could you get the Americans out of their stubborn neutrality? How this succeeded is one of the controversial aspects of the war. It is almost inconceivable for many people that British politicians could possibly have considered the destruction of one of their ships with American citizens on board in order to draw the United States on their side in the war. The very thought seems to spring from German propaganda. Robert Ballard wrote in National geography: “Within a few days of the sinking, German sympathizers appeared in New York with a conspiracy theory. The British Admiralty, they claimed, had deliberately endangered the Lusitania in the hope that it would be attacked and that the VSA would go to war. "[5]

Let's take a closer look at this conspiracy theory. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, said:

There are many types of war maneuvers ... There are maneuvers of time, diplomacy, construction, or psychology. None of these are directly related to the battlefield, yet often have a critical impact on it ... A maneuver that brings an ally into the field is as useful as one that helps win a major battle. The maneuver that helps occupy an important strategic point may be less valuable than the one that appeases or intimidates a dangerous neutral.[6]

The maneuver Churchill chose was downright inconsiderate. According to the so-called Cruiser Rules both England and Germany gave the crews of the enemy’s unarmed merchant ships a chance to get into the lifeboats before the ship was sunk. But in October 1914 Churchill gave orders that British merchant ships could no longer obey orders from submarines to stop and be searched. If they had weapons, they would have to attack the enemy. If not, they should try to ram the sub. The immediate effect of this order was that German submarines remained under water for their protection and sank the ships without warning.

Why should the British commit such stupidity that could claim the lives of thousands of their own sailors? The answer is: it wasn't stupid. It was one cold blooded strategy. Churchill boasted:

The first British countermove, on my responsibility, was to keep the Germans from attacking the surface. The submerged submarine therefore increasingly had to rely on underwater attacks and thus ran the great risk of keeping neutral ships for British ships and drowning neutral seafarers and thus embroiling Germany in conflicts with other great powers.[7]

To increase the likelihood of an accidental sinking of a neutral "great power", Churchill ordered British ships to remove the names on their hulls and to fly the flag of a neutral country, preferably the United States, in ports. As a further provocation, the British Navy was ordered to treat captured submarine sailors not as prisoners of war but as criminals. "Survivors," Churchill wrote, "should be captured or shot ... whatever may be appropriate."[8] Further orders, which today are an embarrassing part of the official archives of the Navy, were even more ruthless: "Whenever you act, you should shoot white flags immediately."[9]

The trap was carefully laid. The German Navy was encouraged to shoot first and then to ask questions later. Under these circumstances, it was practically inevitable that Americans too would lose their lives.

A floating ammunition depot

After many years of research it is now finally possible to charge the Lusitania found on their last trip. Among other things, it consisted of 600 tons of pyroxyline (known as gun cotton),[10] six million rounds of ammunition, 1,248 boxes of shrapnel charges (possibly without explosives) plus an unknown amount of ammunition that filled all the chambers of the lowest deck and the corridors of the F-deck. In addition, there were tons of "cheese", "lard", "furs" and other items that were later found to have been mislabelled. What it was about is unknown, but it seems certain that it was contraband or even weapons. The entire cargo had been delivered by the J. P. Morgan Company. But the public had no inkling of this, least of all the unsuspecting Americans who had unwittingly booked a cruise to their deaths for themselves and their families and served as human bait in the global game of high finance and low politics.

The German embassy in Washington was aware of the nature of the cargo on the Lusitania knew well and sent an official complaint to the American government because practically all of it was in direct violation of international neutrality agreements. In response, there was a categorical denial of knowledge of such a charge. After realizing that the Wilson government tacitly approved the shipment, the German embassy made one last attempt to avert the disaster. She placed ads in 50 East Coast newspapers, including New York, warning Americans not to use the Lusitania to travel. The ad was prepaid and was due to appear on the travel pages a full week before the ship was to leave. It read:

TRAVELERS wishing to take a voyage across the Atlantic may consider that there is war between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the war zone includes the waters near the British Isles; that in accordance with the formal notification of the Imperial German Government, ships which have raised the flag of Great Britain or its allies may be destroyed in these waters and that travelers staying in this war zone on ships of Great Britain or its allies do so at their own risk to do. - Imperial German Embassy Washington D.C., April 22, 1915

Although the ad text was available to the newspapers in good time, the Foreign Ministry intervened with the specter of possible defamation lawsuits. This frightened the publishers to such an extent that they did not want to print the advertisement without first consulting with the State Department attorneys. Of the 50 newspapers only published Des Moines Register the display on the desired date. What happened next is described by Simpson as follows:

George Viereck [the editor of a German newspaper who designed the advertisements for the embassy] asked the State Department on April 26 why his advertisements had not been published. He finally got an appointment with [Secretary of State William Jennings] Bryan and pointed out that the Lusitania had carried ammunition on all but one of her voyages during the war. He showed copies of their cargo registers, which were publicly available at the harbor master's office. He also informed Bryan that no less than six million rounds of ammunition was due to leave the Lusitania next Friday and that the loading could be observed at Pier 54 at that moment. Bryan picked up the phone and cleared the ads. He promised Viereck that he would endeavor to get the president to warn Americans not to travel. No such warning was ever issued by the President, but there can be no doubt that President Wilson was aware of the nature of the Lusitania's cargo. He did nothing, but confessed on the day when he learned of her submergence that his premonitions had caused him many sleepless hours.[11]

It is probably true that Wilson was a pacifist at heart, but it is equally certain that he was not in control of his own destiny. He was a converted college professor from ivy-overgrown Princeton who was an internationalist at heart and who dreamed of creating a world government to achieve a millennium of peace. Yet he found himself surrounded and dependent on men of strong will, astute political talents, and powerful financial resources. He was unable to do anything against these forces on his own, and there is reason to believe that he suffered internally from many of the things he was forced to do. We shall leave the moral judgment of a man who sent 195 of them to their deaths for deliberately refusing to warn his compatriots. We can also wonder how such a man brings up the hypocrisy of condemning the Germans for this act, but at the same time does everything to prevent the American public from knowing the truth. It would be amazing if his personal remorse were not more than a few sleepless hours.

The last trip

While Morgan and Wilson set the deadly stage on the American side of the Atlantic, Churchill played his part on the European side. As the Lusitania on the l. Sailed from New York Harbor in May, she was ordered to get close to the coast of Ireland with a British destroyer, the Juno, hold true. In this way she was to be escorted into enemy waters. As the Lusitania When she reached the meeting point, however, she was alone, and the captain suspected they had missed each other in the fog. In truth, however, it was Juno out of this area at the very last minute deducted and ordered back to Queenstown. This was done with full knowledge of the fact that the Lusitania was on a direct route to an area that was known to have a German submarine lurking there. And even worse: the Lusitania orders had been given to use less coal, not because there was not enough of it, but because it was less expensive. Of course, slow targets are much easier to hit than fast ones. The ship was forced to turn off one of the four steam boilers and now reached submarine-infected waters at only 75 percent of its maximum possible speed.

While the Lusitania As she approached the dangerous waters, practically everyone knew that she was in grave danger. The London newspapers were full of stories of German warnings and sinking ships. In the British Admiralty's card room, Churchill watched the game and coolly counted the shots. Small discs marked the places where two ships had been attacked by torpedoes the day before. A circle indicated the presumed operational area of ​​a submarine. A large disc represented the Lusitania represent that at 19 knots headed straight for the circle. But nothing was done for them. Admiral Coke at Queenstown was given superficial orders to protect her as best he could, which he had no way of doing. In fact, nobody bothered to see the captain of the Lusitania to inform that the rendezvous with the Juno had been canceled.

Officers present in the chart room that fateful day included Frigate Captain Joseph Kenworthy, who had previously been asked by Churchill to investigate the political consequences of sinking an ocean ship with American passengers aboard. Indignant about the cynicism of his superiors, he left the room. In his book published in 1927 The Freedom of the Seas he stated without further comment: “The Lusitania was sent at significantly reduced speed and without an escort to an area that was known to be a submarine. "[12] You don't have to add anything here.

At that time Colonel House was in England, and on the very day of the sinking he was to have an audience with King George V. He was accompanied by Sir Edward Gray, and on the way Sir Edward asked him: "What will America do if the Germans sink an ocean ship with American passengers on board?" Sweep indignation across America that would likely drag us into war. "[13] in the Buckingham Palace King George also broached the subject and even explicitly mentioned a possible goal. He asked, “Suppose they sink them Lusitania with American passengers ... "[14]

A powerful explosion, a wet grave

Four hours after this conversation, black smoke from the periscope of the German submarine U-20 appeared on the horizon Lusitania discovered. The ship was heading straight for the submarine, which dodged at full steam for a 90-degree shot at the ocean liner, which was barely 600 meters away. The torpedo hit starboard three meters below the waterline just before the bridge. A second torpedo was prepared but not needed. Immediately after this explosion there was a second and much larger explosion that literally tore open the side of the second storage room and sent the ship to the bottom of the sea. What a hole that must have been! The Lusitania, one of the largest ships ever built, sank in less than 18 minutes!

Survivors of the crew who were working in the boiler room during the attack stated that the boiler did not explode. Simpson reports:

The German torpedo had not exploded behind the bulkhead of the first boiler room, but further ahead something tore through most of the ship's bow. It could be the three-inch grenades Bethlehem Company Maybe the six million rounds of ammunition or the highly dubious contents of the balls of fur or the little cheese boxes. Divers who inspected the wreck agreed that the bow had been destroyed by a huge internal explosion and that large parts of the armor, bent from the inside, were some distance from the hull.[15]

As a team of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute inspecting the wreck in the summer of 1993, she stated: “When our cameras slid over the hold, there was a big surprise: There was no hole ... we found no evidence that a U-20 torpedo had exploded, with what a theory of the ship's sinking lost its persuasiveness. "[16] It's hard to share the team's surprise. Photographs show that the wreck is on the starboard side, i.e. the right side. Because that is where the torpedo hit, it is only logical that a hole should remain hidden. It should be on the side that is on the ocean floor. The group reported that they could only inspect part of the underside of the bow. It is surely because most of it, like the entire starboard side, is buried in the mud. Because the torpedo hit only three meters below the waterline, the resulting hole cannot even be near the bottom of the ship's hull, but approximately midway between the main deck and the bottom. In other words, it should be roughly in the middle of the side that is now facing the ocean floor. If no hole can be seen, it does not mean that there was no internal explosion. Instead, this is exactly what is to be expected.

Anyway: The Lusitania would not have sunk in 18 minutes had it not been for a hole somewhere. Even the search team had to acknowledge this indirectly when they came across the question of what might have caused the second explosion. In an obvious attempt not to feed any "conspiracy theory," the report concluded that the explosion was probably caused by coal dust rather than ammunition.

In the end, it seems relatively irrelevant whether the explosion was caused by weapons or coal dust. Suffice it to say here that they are also of ammunition would have can be caused.

A hasty cover-up

An official investigation, led by Lord Mersey, was to clarify the circumstances of the sinking and the question of guilt. From the beginning, this was a pieced together affair. All evidence and testimony were carefully examined to ensure that nothing was found to expose the duplicity of British and American officials. Among the papers given to Lord Mersey prior to the hearing was one from Captain Richard Webb, one of the men chosen by the Navy for the cover-up. It read: "I have been instructed by the Admiralty to inform you that it is considered politically expedient to make Captain Turner the main culprit on the Lusitania."[17]

The final report is an extremely interesting document. If you read it without knowing the facts, you might think that Captain William Turner was responsible. Still, Mersey tried to tone down this portrayal. He wrote, "The captain should not be blamed ... for not following the advice in every respect cannot legitimately be attributed to negligence or incompetence." Then he added a final paragraph which, on the surface, was a condemnation which may be German, but with the background understanding an indictment by Churchill, Wilson, House and Morgan was:

All the blame for the gruesome destruction of life in this disaster rests solely on those who invented the crime and those who carried it out.[18]

Was Lord Mersey aware of the ambiguity of these words? Possibly not, but two days after his report he wrote to Prime Minister Asquith declining payment for his services. He added: "I ask that you not be entrusted with the performance of His Majesty's judicial duties in the future." He later commented on the events extremely succinctly: "The Lusitania-The case was a damn dirty business. "[19]

The call for war

The purpose of the plot would have been better served if the Germans had sunk an American ship, but a British ship with 195 drowned Americans was enough. Those involved wasted no time in stirring up public sentiment. Wilson sent an outraged telegram to the Imperial German Government, widely quoted in the press.

By then, Bryan was completely disaffected with the duplicity of his own government. On May 9th he sent Wilson a sharp letter:

Germany has the right to prevent war contraband from being sent to the Allies, and a ship wielding such contraband cannot rely on passengers as protection against attack. It would be like putting women and children in front of an army.[20]

Wilson did not let himself be dissuaded from his plan. His first letter was followed by a second with a threatening undertone, which was discussed intensively in the cabinet on June 1. The McAdoo present at the meeting said:

I remember Bryan had little to say at that meeting, his eyes half closed most of the time. After the meeting he told the President - as I learned later - that he could not sign the letter ... then remarked that he could no longer be useful as Foreign Minister and proposed his replacement.[21]

At Wilson's request, McAdoo was sent to Bryan's home to persuade him to change his mind, as his resignation could be seen as a sign of disagreement in the cabinet. Bryan wanted to think about it another day, but the next morning he was determined. In his memoir, which was annotated by his wife, Mrs. Bryan revealed that her husband was unable to sleep that night. “He was so restless that I suggested he read a little to get tired. In his pocket he had an old book from 1829 called A Wreath of Appreciation of Andrew Jackson. He found it very interesting. "[22] What irony! In chapter 17 we read of President Jackson's bitter struggle against the Bank of the United States, the forerunner of the Federal Reserve Systems, and its prediction:

Is there no danger to our freedom and independence from a bank whose nature ties them so little to our country? ... No need to worry about the purity of our elections in peace and the independence of our country in times of war? ... Because it controls our currency, manages the public money and keeps thousands of our citizens in their dependency, it could be more serious and dangerous than an enemy's warships or armies.[23]

It would be exciting to know what thoughts went through Bryan's mind as he read Jackson's warning and applied it to the man-made war hysteria these days, that of Wall Street financial forces and the newly created Federal Reserve was stoked.

Colonel House sent a telegram from England to President Wilson, who read it out in the Cabinet. It generated thousands of editorials from all newspapers across the country. House wrote in solemn words:

America is at a crossroads where it must decide whether to go for civilized or uncivilized warfare. We can no longer remain neutral viewers. Our actions in this time of crisis will determine the role we will play in peace. And how far we can influence a peace agreement for the eternal good of humanity. In the time of balance we are weighed and our standing among nations is judged by humanity.[24]

In another telegram two days later, House reveals himself to be a psycho-political master who was able to play on Wilson's ego like a violinist on the strings of a Stradivarius. He wrote:

If, unfortunately, war is necessary, you will hopefully show the world an example of American proficiency that is meant to be a lesson for a century or more. It is widely believed in Europe that we are so unprepared and that it would take so long to exhaust our resources that our entry into war would make little difference.
In the event of war, we should speed up the manufacture of ammunition so that we could supply it not only to our troops but also to those of the Allies ... and so quickly that the world would be amazed.[25]

The congress could not withstand the joint pressure of the press and the president. On April 16, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany (and Austria-Hungary in December). Eight days later, Congress dutifully passed the War Loan Act, which gave the Allies $ 1 billion. The very next day, the British were transferred $ 200 million, which was immediately sent to pay off the debt Morgan went on. A few days later, 100 million was allocated to France. But the bloodletting went on. Within three months, the British were up Morgan $ 400 million was already overdrawn and the bank turned to the government with a request for payment. However, initially unable to raise that much money without jeopardizing its own available funds, the Treasury Department refused to pay. However, with the help of a financial maneuver, described in Chapter 10, this problem was quickly resolved: Under Benjamin Strong created this Federal Reserve System the funds needed using the Mandrake Mechanism. "The Wilson administration found itself in the uncomfortable position J. P. Morgan Having to bail out, ”wrote Ferrell, but Benjamin Strong,“ [Treasury Secretary] offered to help McAdoo. In the following months from 1917 to 1918 the ministry paid Morgan Bit by bit the overdraft. "[26] By the end of the war, the Department had loaned a total of $ 9,466,000,000, including $ 2,170,000,000 after the armistice.

These were the sums that had been long awaited. In addition to the Morgan loans, far greater profits were made from war production. The government had secretly prepared months before the declaration of war. According to the then Ministerial Director of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, extensive war materials had already started to be dumped in the fall of 1916.[27] Ferdinand Lundberg adds:

It was no accident that all strategic government posts, especially those involved in shopping, were reserved for the Wall Street patriots. Wilson has consulted [the President of Rockefeller’s on most of the major appointments National City Bank/ Dodge, who proposed the then unknown Bemard Baruch, a speculator in copper stocks, as chairman of the all-powerful War Industries Board ...
As head of this commission, Baruch spent ten billion dollars a year ... Baruch filled this office and all committees with past and future Wall Street manipulators, industrialists, financiers and agents ... who put prices on a "cost-plus" - Established the basis and - as research has found - made sure that the costs were generously cushioned in order to throw off hidden profits ...
The American soldiers in the trenches, the workers at home, the whole nation in arms ... they fought not only to subdue Germany, but also against themselves. That this interpretation is not metaphysical becomes clear from the statement, that the total United States war spending from April 6, 1917 to October 31, 1919, when the last troops returned from Europe, was $ 35,413,000,000. Net corporate profits between January 1, 1916 and July 1921, when wartime industrial activity finally ceased, were $ 38,000,000,000, roughly equal to total war spending. More than two-thirds of these corporate profits were reaped by the very companies designated by the Pujo Committee as being under the control of the "money trust".[28]

With the help of Federal Reserve Systems the banking cartel was able to create money for France and England so that these two nations could repay American banks ... just as it did again during World War II and then again during the "great bailout" of the 1980s and 1990s Happened years ago. In fact, the recently introduced income tax in 1917 was a practical tool to collect large amounts of money for warfare and, as Beardsley Ruml later explained, to siphon off middle-class purchasing power. But the biggest chunk, as always in times of war, came not from direct taxation, but from the hidden tax called inflation. Between 1915 and 1920, the money supply doubled from $ 20.6 billion to $ 39.8 billion.[29] Conversely, purchasing power fell by almost 50 percent during the First World War. In other words, Americans have unwittingly paid around half of every dollar in existence to the government. And of course additionally to their taxes. This massive increase in money was the result of the Mandrake Mechanism and cost nothing. But the banks were allowed to charge interest for it. The age-old partnership between politics and finance had accomplished its mission.


In order to finance the beginning of the First World War, England and France had to borrow a lot of money from American investors and had that for the brokerage of their bonds House of Morgan select. Morgan worked for them as a purchasing agent for war material and therefore benefited twice: when the money was borrowed and when it was spent. Further profits were made by awarding contracts to companies that were under the influence of Morgan stood. But the war became threatening to the Allies when German submarines began to control the Atlantic shipping routes. When it appeared that England and France were approaching defeat or an armistice on German terms, it became increasingly difficult to place their loans. No bonds meant no purchases, and Morgan's cash flow was in jeopardy. Also, if the bonds previously issued became worthless, as was to be expected as a result of defeat, would have Morgan-Consortium suffered gigantic losses.

The only way to save the British Empire is to restore the value of the bonds and Morgan's Getting cash flow consisted of the American government stepping in with money. But since neutral states were prevented from doing so by international treaties, America had to go to war. A secret agreement was reached between British officials and Colonel House with the consent of the President. From that moment on, Wilson urged Congress to declare war. This happened exactly at the time when he was running for re-election with the slogan “He's keeping us out of the war”. In the meantime had Morgan secured control of large parts of the media, with which he was then able to wage a nationwide "newspaper blitzkrieg" against Germany by presenting entry into the war as an act of American patriotism.

Morgan had already created an international shipping cartel, including the German merchant fleet, which had a near monopoly on the high seas. British only Cunard Lines stayed apart. The Lusitania was one of them and was in competition with Morgan's Cartel. The Lusitania was built to military specifications and registered with the British Admiralty as an armed auxiliary cruiser. The passengers served to cover up the real mission of bringing war contraband out of the United States. This was known to Wilson and to other government officials without their doing anything about it. When the German embassy wanted to print a warning to American passengers, the State Department intervened against the publication. As the Lusitania Leaving New York Harbor on her last voyage, she was essentially a floating weapons depot.

The British knew that the involvement of the United States in the war would mean the difference between defeat and victory, and each Measures suitable for this seemed welcome - even the cold-bloodedly planned victim of one of his largest ships with English on board. Yet the trick was, too American on board to create an emotionally heated climate in the United States. As the Lusitania In enemy waters, where a German submarine was lying in wait, the British Naval Minister Winston Churchill ordered the withdrawal of the destroyer that was supposed to protect the ship. This move, as well as the ordered decrease in speed, made the Lusitania an easy target. After the impact of a well-aimed torpedo, a second explosion tore apart the ship, which many believed was unsinkable, and it gurgled to the bottom of the sea in less than 18 minutes.

The deed was done, and it generated waves of dislike for the Germans. These waves swept Washington as well, washing the United States into the war. Within days of the declaration of war, Congress approved a billion dollar loan for England and France. $ 200 million was immediately sent to England and in accounts of Morgan directed. The huge amounts of money needed for the war were given by the Federal Reserve System created, so collected by the Americans with the help of the hidden tax called inflation. In just five years, that tax had devoured half of her savings. The infinitely higher cost in the form of American blood was added to this bill.

So it came about that completely different motives of such diverse personalities as Churchill, Morgan, Colonel House and Wilson came together on one point: to drive America into the First World War. Churchill sought military advantage, Morgan sought war profits, House sought political power, and Wilson dreamed of the chance to dominate a League of Nations after the war.

Source: Excerpts from a text from G. Edward Griffin: The Creature of Jekyll Island: The Federal Reserve - The most terrifying monster international high finance ever created, Pp. 282-299