Anyone think Churchill had anything to with the sinking of the Lusitania to get America into WW1


Daniel Ehlers

Hey, all... Just a few more responses here.

First of all, yeah, there's little doubt the Lusitania had munitions crafted in neutral America but that, by the rules of war, was generally accepted, pending that they were small munitions. However, on this voyage, she carried highly explosive artillery shells, which could be detonated rather easily. And, since the Admiralty expanded her cargo hold, she was carrying quite a number. As for how long they would have lasted in combat, and whether or not these caused the second explosion, it doesn't matter, just the fact that they would be enough to sink Lusitania if detonated is something...

As for endangering innocent civilians being beneath governments, I tend to disagree. It's easy to say that now, but the war was supposed to be concluded by Christmas 1914. However, it was four months after that, and there was not even the hint of an end in sight; the Germans were halted at the French border in trench warfare, thousands were dying and no side was gaining land, Russia had been kicking the Austrians, but were on retreat from the Germans, and new nations, like the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, were broadening the conflict. And, since the war was expected to be a short one, the economies of each nation could not handle continued fighting (eventually, the British, thanks to some quick thinking by David Lloyd George later in the war, would be the only European economy still standing), the situation was getting more and more desperate. Each side continued to deploy their offensive troops against enemy trenches, but made no progress for three years, since the machine gun proved superior. Without the possibility of successful attacks in the west, the war could stretch on forever. If it means the end of a war, saving millions of people, a few civilian casualties would be risked; in World War II, the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan to keep one million Americans alive, at the expense of 100,000 Japanese. Also, don't forget that Churchill in World War II allowed the Nazis to destroy an entire town; if he had acted, they would know he broke their code, and he could not protect the millions of British people later in the war. It's all a numbers game; if 1,000 civilians had to be risked to save the millions of people that died in World War I, it was a risk they would be willing to take.

As for the Zimmerman Telegram, keep in mind that, while this officially started the war, was the end of a chain of events that concerned the Americans. The Zimmerman Telegram was sent because Germany knew by restarting their total submarine warfare again, the Americans would begin shipping over troops. Without the Lusitania, the Americans wouldn't have demanded the Germans stop their submarine indiscretion, thus Germany wouldn't have restarted it, and the telegram would never have been sent. So while the Lusitania didn't automatically bring the Americans into the war, it eventually started a chain that would. Whether or not this made the British looked good, or allowed the US to formally join the Entente Cordiale, they were at war with Germany by the end of 1917, which was definitely good for Britain.

As for Germany not going along with the plan, that's true. However, the plan didn't require much on the German part. U-boats were active in the English Channel, and U-20 had been spotted on the surface near Queenstown, waiting for a ship to come by. All the British had to do was dangle the prize, in this case, the Lusitania, in front of a nearby U-boat, and wait for them to fire, which they knew Germany would, since they had sunk countless other ships.

And yes, Miles, this is a VERY good mystery.
Sep 22, 2003
Coatesville, PA

While what you just said sounds very interesting, I disagree w/ Some of it.

1. The Shells lusitania Were carrying not highly Explosive. They Were not Complete Shells, a Complete Shell being 21 Lbs, These Uncomplete Shells being 18 Lbs. (For more info Refer to Ch 9 Patrick O'Sullivan, The Lusitania. Diania Preston, Lusitania Appendix B.)

2. The only High Explosive in Lusitania's Cargo was Aluminum Powder.

3. It More likely the 2nd Explosion Occured somewhere in the boiler room. I do not Believe it was a Boiler However, as that would have caused more extensive damage, maybe the torpedo simply struck an Ash Ejector, Steam Line, or Funnel Uptake, and caused a small but fatal explosion.