CONSPIRACY THEORY


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DANNY T. FERGUSON

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COULD THERE HAVE BEEN A CONSPIRACY TO SINK THE TITANIC? WHO WOULD HAVE HAD A MOTIVE? COULD THE DANGEROUS ICEBERG-RIDDEN COURSE AT HIGH SPEED WITHOUT BINOCULARS, WITHOUT REGARD TO MARCONI WARNINGS HAVE BEEN PLANNED? COULD THE EXPLOSIONS HAVE BEEN PART OF THIS CONSPIRACY?
 
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Daniel Ehlers

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I don't think so... Since Titanic was underinsured, why would White Star want to sink her? She was the newest and largest addition ever to their fleet. Also, a sinking of a ship like the Titanic would have brought bad publicity to WSL... Meaning WSL couldn't be responsible...

As for who COULD have had a motive, I'd say that Hapag, NDL, CGT or Cunard COULD have had a motive, being rival shipping companies, or perhaps the Germans, preparing for WW1... However, I do NOT believe that these people had any say; they would have a hard time convincing the crew, especially Cpt. Smith who had been with WSL for a long time, to deliberately sink the ship.

There was an attempt to miss the "dangerous iceberg-ridden course" (Capt. Smith turn "The Corner" later, to give Titanic a more southern course, thereby avoiding icebergs.) However, since the Mesaba and Californian's messages never made it past the Marconi office...

As for explosions, could you clarify? I don't recall any explosions occuring onboard...
 
Jul 9, 2000
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1)There was no conspiracy. Just a string of mistakes leading up to a very bad day for the ship.

2)Nobody would have a motive for doing as you suggest and every reason to avoid such like the plague. As Daniel pointed out, the ship was underinsured. Also, killing 1500 of your own passengers and crew makes for really bad pubilicity which hurts future trade.

3)Follow the chain of events and what you find is that the bridge did recieve some ice warnings and steered a course further south in an attempt to avoid the ice that was actually reported.

4)Binoculars are actually not that useful on a lookout for anything save identifying a target once you know something is out there. They're virtually useless for searching. Having stood low visibility lookout watches myself, I don't have to guess at this. I know from personal experience.

5)There were no explosions on the ship during the sinking, although I recall a few people thought so. What they actually heard was the noise of the ship breaking up just befor the final plunge, then later, three destinct implosions as air filled compartments in the stern section caved in under the increasing water pressure.

6)Conspiracy theories may be fun to dabble with, and some people think that espousing them makes them look like the learned intellectuals who are really "in the know." Nothing could be further from the truth and none of these hysterical tales last long when run past people who actually know what they're talking about.

If you want to read the testimonys for yourself and the reports of two different investigating bodies, click on The Titanic Inquiry Project

If you want to get into detail on the actual forensics of the sinking, go HERE.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Danny, it's amazing how many people have heard of the so-called conspiracy. Most don't realise that it doesn't even have the pedigree of a seaman's yarn told in a 1912 Belfast pub.

It originated in a book by Robin Gardiner and Dan Van Der Vat. It appeared in 1995 and was published as The Riddle of the Titanic in England. In 1996 it was published as The Titanic Conspiracy in the USA.

The story is manifest nonsense and on page 261 of the book the authors admit it never happened. It's actually a small part of the book, which is otherwise a conventional but inaccurate account of the sinking.

Robin Gardiner has followed up with The Ship That Never Sank.

Apart from Michael's good points, have you ever tried to keep 15,000 Irishmen quiet?
 

Karen Christl

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Dec 18, 2002
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just have to add my two cents to this... yes i have heard of the conspirancy theory, do i think its true? who knows but the point is rather moot. whatever the ship was titanic/olympic it doesn't take away from the fact that 1500 people still died that night nor does any of the things that we all love about the ship change, seasons greetings, merry xmas to all
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kaz
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Jul 9, 2000
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G'Day Kaz...not to be excedingly blunt, but there's no "who knows" about it. The whole conspiracy theory angle is a very recent contrivance. To pull off a ship switch such as what Gardiner and Van Der Vat suggested simply could not be done without a cast of thousands knowing about it, and whom I can gaurantee you wouldn't keep quiet.

There is nothing that people in a day of increasing union organizing and activism would have loved more then a chance to catch the "Big Boys" trying something underhanded. The chance to expose a scheme like this...which couldn't possibly been hidden in a shipyard...would have seemed to them a heaven sent gift.

The fact that the authors themselves admitted that it never happened in the end of their original tome should have been enough to put an end to this a long time ago.

I guess it's because conspiracy theories sell pretty well.
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Taner Tanriover

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How are we to know that all you people are not conspirators conspiring to cover up the conspiracy?
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Karen Christl

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haa haa tee hee taner, you don't you'll just have to take my word for it!!!
hoping everybody has a safe & happy holiday season
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kaz
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Taner Tanriover

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I guess I will kaz
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Seriously though, with all facts on the table the 'conspiracy theory' is just as silly and fictional as the 'mummy story,' if not more. The mummy story at least can be traced back to Stead's fiction and therefore relates to real life and people (even if rather remotely); but especially the 'Olympic-Titanic switch theory' is so utterly nonsensical and implausible on so many levels that one couldn't decide where to begin dissecting it.
 
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Chris Laidler

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Were the passengers on the Titanic victims of a conspiracy? Although I'm only half-way through reading Gardiner's The Ship That Never Sank?; I have to say that he puts up a very compelling argument.

Several of you have mentioned above that if the Olympic/Titanic switch did take place how would they keep it quiet? Considering that jobs weren't all that easy to come by, there being no money from the state, if one person started spreading rumours then it wouldn't just be him that lost his job. It wasen't beyond companies in those days to lay off workers from one family if a brother/uncle/cousin upset the apple cart. I doubt if everybody within Haarland and Wolff would need to be informed as to what was going on anyway.

As to the question of sea-worthiness, why was Titanic's sea trial completed within a matter of hours? Yes, she was at sea for full day, but nearly four hours of that time was spent doing speed trials. Olympic on the other hand took two days.

At Queenstown, when mail and passengers both came aboard and left Titanic, a letter from First Officer Wilde sent to his wife contained the phrase 'I still don't like this ship'. Wilde had only joined Titanic on the morning of departure, yet he had served on Olympic, he was aboard during both the Hawke incident and when she lost a propeller. This statement can't be explained with the explanation that Wilde was having bad vibes due to being on a new ship, he'd never set foot upon her before that morning.

As for the wreck itself, how can you explain the fact a propeller that was documented as being fitted to Olympic following the Hawke collision found itself on the Titanic? Why when looking for the name on the bow and scrapping away the rust and plant growth they found the letters 'M' and 'P'? Neither of these is found in Titanic.

I know these are just some of the points that are contained within Gardiner's book, but it might just get one or two of you to think that it could have been done. As the old saying goes... there's no smoke without fire.

Hope you all have a good Christmas.

Chris
 

Karen Christl

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hiya chris!! you are correct gardiner does bring up some valid points in "the ship that never sank?", (also try "the riddle of the titanic" by robin gardiner & dan van der vat) however, i'm always doubtful of conspiracy theories, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. as to wether or not any of the passengers were part of any "conspiracy" i highly doubt it. but as i said before, it really doesn't matter what name you give to the ship, she still hit an iceberg on the 14th of april & sank with 1500 odd souls on board & caused a 90 year love affair with her & that is why we are all here on this site
happy & safe holidays to all
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kaz
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Taner Tanriover

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The discovery of the letters "M and P" on Titanic's wreck is news to me. Is there a reliable source on this?
At any rate, I don't think thousands H&W workers would have kept quiet. At least some of them would have come forward with the truth after the ship went down, no matter how costly as regards their relations with employers or even at the expense of losing their jobs. I think such a scheme would have been fully exposed within DAYS of the disaster. Weeks at worst.
 

Leona Nolan

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Dec 17, 2002
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HI all!! The arguments for both are quite fascinating but I'm going to agree with the opposition and say that it wasn't a conspiracy just a terrible string of events that led to such a tragic ending for 1500 odd souls!!! By the way Dave, not liking the comment 'have you ever tried to keep 15,000 Irishmen quiet?' Thanks for all the info!!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Chris, you might want to read that page that David refers to as Gardiner makes it clear that the whole thing never happened. My understanding was that originally, the book was intended to demonstrate how it was that conspiracy theories can be contrived whole cloth out of nothing. Had he stuck with that premise...if that was in fact his aim to begin with...then I wouldn't have a problem with the man or his work.

To your arguements;
>>I doubt if everybody within Haarland and Wolff would need to be informed as to what was going on anyway.<<

You're right, they wouldn't need to be informed, they would know at once that something was up. The superficial similarities notwithstanding, the Titanic and Olympic were very different ships with literally hundreds of differences in the fitting of vents, public spaces, internal arraangements of passenger accomadation etc. To make sweeping changes to make each one "look like" the other would be expensive, time consuming, and couldn't fail to be noticed by thousands of shipfitters who, I can gaurantee you, would not keep quiet about it. Shipyards are lousy places to keep secrets and something like this would have been all over the waterfront they day things started to happen.

>>As to the question of sea-worthiness, why was Titanic's sea trial completed within a matter of hours? <<

Expediancy and a rush to get the ship...already much delayed...into service.

>>This statement can't be explained with the explanation that Wilde was having bad vibes due to being on a new ship, he'd never set foot upon her before that morning.<<

Yes it can! I've been down that road on the precommissioning detail for a brand new warship. I had bad vibes about the USS Comstock from the start. Fortunately, the bloody thing didn't do anything awkward and annoying like sink on us, but we were a year and a half fixing all the builders mistakes.

>>As for the wreck itself, how can you explain the fact a propeller that was documented as being fitted to Olympic following the Hawke collision found itself on the Titanic? <<

What documentation? And it was the other way around. If you check Simon Mills "RMS Olympic, The Old Reliable", you'll find that it was parts for the propellor shaft that were pinched from the Titanic to put the Olympic back in service.

>>It wasen't beyond companies in those days to lay off workers from one family if a brother/uncle/cousin upset the apple cart. <<

No it wasn't, but then what do you need to pull off an insurance scam? You need the total loss of the hull and that's easy enough to arrange...with much greater secrecy...while tied to the pier. Also, let's not forget the fact that the Titanic was underinsured by 2.5 million dollars. That 2.5 million was covered by White Stars own in house insurance fund.

In order to have me beleive the insurance scam angle, you would have to get me to believe that White Star would invest millions of dollars, risk the ill will of the traveling public, (Sinking ships and killing people is a lousy marketing stratagy!) and the certain knowladge that the secret would get out in order to rip themselves off.

While the corperate directors of White Star were far from being saints, do you really think they would be stupid enough to do something this brain dead? Puhleeze!
 
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