Visit Website In Februaryin an attempt to stop just such war material shipments—and to counter a crushing Royal Navy blockade—Germany adopted a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the waters around the United Kingdom. Even neutral ships, it declared, would be fair game. Though submarine technology had progressed by leaps and bounds in recent years, the effort got off to a slow start, with only seven vessels going down in the first two weeks.
At the outbreak of the First World Warthe British Admiralty considered her for requisition as an armed merchant cruiser, and she was put on the official list of AMCs. They were also very distinctive; so smaller liners were used as transports instead.
During the ship's first eastbound crossing after the war started, she was painted in a drab grey colour scheme in an attempt to mask her identity and make her more difficult to detect visually. When it turned out that the German Navy was kept in check by the Royal Navyand their commerce threat almost entirely evaporated, it very soon seemed that the Atlantic was safe for ships like Lusitania, if the bookings justified the expense of keeping them in service.
Germany's declared exclusion zone of February Allied ships within this area were liable to search and attack Many of the large liners were laid up over the autumn and winter of —, in part due to falling demand for passenger travel across the Atlantic, and in part to protect them from damage due to mines or other dangers.
Among the most recognisable of these liners, some were eventually used as troop transports, while others became hospital ships. Lusitania remained in commercial service; although bookings aboard her were by no means strong during that autumn and winter, demand was strong enough to keep her in civilian service.
Economizing measures were taken, however. One of these was the shutting down of her No. Even so, she was the fastest first-class passenger liner left in commercial service.
With apparent dangers evaporating, the ship's disguised paint scheme was also dropped and she was returned to civilian colours. Her name was picked out in gilt, her funnels were repainted in their traditional Cunard livery, and her superstructure was painted white again.
By earlya new threat to British shipping began to materialise: At first, the Germans only used them to attack naval vessels, and they achieved only occasional—but sometimes spectacular—successes.
U-boats then began to attack merchant vessels at times, although almost always in accordance with the old cruiser rules. Desperate to gain an advantage on the Atlantic, the German government decided to step up their submarine campaign. On 4 FebruaryGermany declared the seas around the British Isles a war zone: This was not wholly unrestricted submarine warfaresince efforts would be taken to avoid sinking neutral ships.
The Admiralty issued her specific instructions on how to avoid submarines. At sea, the ships contacted Lusitania by radio, but did not have the codes used to communicate with merchant ships.
Captain Daniel Dow of Lusitania refused to give his own position except in code, and since he was, in any case, some distance from the positions he gave, continued to Liverpool unescorted. She was ordered not to fly any flags in the war zone; a number of warnings, plus advice, were sent to the ship's commander to help him decide how to best protect his ship against the new threat' and it also seems that her funnels were most likely painted a dark grey to help make her less visible to enemy submarines.
Clearly, there was no hope of disguising her actual identity, since her profile was so well known, and no attempt was made to paint out the ship's name at the prow. A group of German—Americans, hoping to avoid controversy if Lusitania were attacked by a U-boat, discussed their concerns with a representative of the German Embassy.
May 12, · It follows the story of the destruction of the RMS Lusitania from the time of her departure from New York City to her torpedoing off the coast of Ireland several days later and the subsequent Inquiry into the sinking/10(). The Sinking of the Lusitania May 29, by Robert Brammer On May 1, , the RMS Lusitania set sail from New York City to Liverpool, England, carrying 1, passengers. On May 7, , the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, which primarily ferried people and goods across the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Great Britain, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk. Of the 1, people on board, 1, died, including Americans.
The embassy decided to warn passengers before her next crossing not to sail aboard Lusitania, and on 22 April placed a warning advertisement in 50 American newspapers, including those in New York: Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Imperial German Embassy Washington, D. The warning led to some agitation in the press and worried the ship's passengers and crew. Departure[ edit ] A woman rescued from the sinking of Lusitania, 25 May While many British passenger ships had been called into duty for the war effort, Lusitania remained on her traditional route between Liverpool and New York.
She departed Pier 54 in New York on 1 May on her return trip to Liverpool with 1, people aboard. In addition to her crew ofshe carried 1, passengers, mostly British nationals as well as a large number of Canadians, along with Americans. Second Class was severely overbooked with passengers, far exceeding the maximum capacity of While a large number of small children and infants helped reduce the squeeze into the limited number of two- and four-berth cabins, the situation was ultimately rectified by allowing some Second Class passengers to occupy empty First Class cabins.A little past noon on May 1, Lusitania gave three blasts of its horn as it left Pier 54 in New York City and began moving down the Hudson River to the Atlantic Ocean.
With the weather cooperating, the first few days of the voyage proceeded uneventfully. The sinking of Lusitania prompted an outcry in the United States (as well as in other Allied countries).
Topics in Chronicling America - Sinking of the Lusitania. Despite published newspaper articles warning against travel on Allied ships, the RMS Lusitania departed from New York on May 1, . May 12, · It follows the story of the destruction of the RMS Lusitania from the time of her departure from New York City to her torpedoing off the coast of Ireland several days later and the subsequent Inquiry into the sinking/10().
The Sinking of the Lusitania May 29, by Robert Brammer On May 1, , the RMS Lusitania set sail from New York City to Liverpool, England, carrying 1, passengers. On May 7, , the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, which primarily ferried people and goods across the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Great Britain, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk.
Of the 1, people on board, 1, died, including Americans.