Conspiracy


Sep 22, 2003
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Although The Conspiracy Theories have largely been rejected, i still thought it would be nice to see what opinions are on the subject. I'll Start by giving my opinion.

Although I think the odds are against a conspiracy theory, we may never know, as we may never know what was realy going through heads or going on behind the scenes.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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I Am not referring to any particular conspiracy theory, though it should be obvious that it would be whether or not lusitania was involved in a conspiracy theory. you can go by whichever conspiracy theory you like. the 3 most famous being Simpson, Butler, and Beesly. there are of course others, which are'nt as popular or not as well known.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I don't think much of grand conspiracy theories at all, other then to observe that they're quite common in the wake of extrordinary events.

You might find This Webpage to be interesting reading. While it doesn't relate to maritime history per se it does provide some interesting insights on the sort of mentality that's at work behind the lot.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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i just got done reading the page provided on the link above. while i think lusitania probably wasn't the victim of a conspiracy, im not gonna dismiss the idea of a conspiracy theory, for reasons stated above on Saturday, 20 March, 2004 - 4:43 pm by me.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Jesse, one can hold too all the reasons they want to on this, but it really doesn't change anything. While I wouldn't put it past the Admiralty to engage in a cover up, it would have been ex post facto to the sinking itself and done in order to hide their own mistakes. I don't think any competant historian would claim they didn't make any, and screwups such as what lead to the loss of a liner to enemy action are not the sort of thing you advertise to "The Peepuhl" during war.

A conspiracy to get a specific ship sunk doesn't really work well because there would be one actor in the drama who would have no reason to play along, and who's actions could not be anticipated much less planned for, and that would be the skipper of the U-20. (Unless somebody can show evidence that he met with the First Sea Lord to arrange all this. In the middle of a bitter war, that one's going to be a tough pill to swallow.)

Grand conspiracy theories thrive in the wake of extrodinary events, usually in an attempt to make some sense of them. They rarely hold up under close scrutiny when the selective thinking that goes into it all is exposed for what it is, and in the case of the Lusitania, there's really no need to look for the extrodinary when the ship was the victim of the mundane.

•Lusitania sailed into a war zone.
•Lusitania was spotted by a hostile submarine.
•Lusitania was identified as a ship belonging to a belligerant.
•Lusitania made a turn towards the hostile submarine which made it possible for the submarine to get a good firing solution.
•Lusitania was torpedoed.
•Lusitania sank as a result of being torpedoed. (Ships that eat explosives tend to do that)
•A lot of people died.

An all too understandable sequence of cause and effect where Lusitania had a very bad day, and U-20 had a very good one. Tragic to be sure, but that's how war works.
 

Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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Failing which put into your web search

World War 1 Document Archive ( which, by the way, is worth a browse on its own right)

Thence go to

The Maritime War

and the Lusitania Controversy is in there somewhere
 

Jon Hollis

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Jan 23, 2004
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Question: "What would happen if a British Liner carrying Americans was to be sunk by the Germans?"
Answer: "It would be a lot of live bait." (Winston Churchill First Sea Lord)
Anyone who does not think there was a conspiracy would believe chunky peanut butter came from pine trees.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The whole problem with the conspiracy theory is that in order for it to work, any conspirators would have to be able to control a number of random factors that could not be controlled by any means, not the least of which would be having the means to target a specific ship and whistle up a submarine to play ball. Hardly the sort of thing the Germans would have any reason to co-operate with.

At most, if something was going on, these hypothetical conspirators could set things up and hope that the "Bad Guys" take the bait.
 

Jon Hollis

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Jan 23, 2004
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> [Hi Mike interesting in your text you used the same word"bait" Take it they did.
A few questions
Did the Admiralty know submarines were active on Turners route?
Did they refuse his request after they notified him when he asked to change course around the North of Ireland?
Did they not tell him he would be escorted by a cruiser?
Was the Cruiser not already to go steam up and lines singled up?
Did the Cruiser not recieve order at the last minute to stay in port?
Was the First Sea Lord and the U.S Secretary of the Navy close friends?
Did England not want America to take her side?
Why was the original manifest not found until after a president of the U.S. died and it was found in his private library at home?
Why were empty cheese containers listed as full on the working manifest and consigned to a Royal Navy Base in England?
Where were they stowed?
Why would the First Sea Lord of a few years ago say the Luistania is still sa sticky can of worms with them?
Do you really believe ONE world war one type torpedeo could sink an Ocean Liner in 18 minutes with out some other source of internal explosion and not the coal dust or steam bit?
And why did some years ago BB (Before Ballard)did 20/20 only complete 2 parts of their 3 part series of dives with Hugh Downs of 20/20 on board to the the Lusitania have to leave the site when they were only one bulkhead away from proving whether or not the guns to be quickly installed on deck as an Armed Merchant Cruiser having already found the installed ammunition hoists and after making that public and showing the video on the air recieve a telex from the British Gov't and have to leave the site and never complete the series
Hmmmmmmmmmmm !!!! ]
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>Did the Admiralty know submarines were active on Turners route?<< They did. REALLY.

>>Do you really believe ONE world war one type torpedo could sink an Ocean Liner in 18 minutes with out some other source of internal explosion and not the coal dust or steam bit?<< When bad luck and chance come together, maybe. The 1 torpedo might have hit the wrong place at the wrong time.

>>And why did some years ago BB (Before Ballard)did 20/20 only complete 2 parts of their 3 part series of dives with Hugh Downs of 20/20 on board to the the Lusitania have to leave the site when they were only one bulkhead away from proving whether or not the guns to be quickly installed on deck as an Armed Merchant Cruiser having already found the installed ammunition hoists and after making that public and showing the video on the air recieve a telex from the British Gov't and have to leave the site and never complete the series<<

Something's up
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Sorry Jon, there's really no "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" about it. That submarines were active was a secret to nobody, and the U-20 for example had been fairly active in the area. That no warship escort was provided hardly qualifies as any smoking gun as ASW technology was extremely primitive. A warship could deal with a surfaced submarine, but few had the means to deal with one that was submerged, and no way to detect where they were until the first torpedo exploded.

It helps to know that very few warships of the time could keep pace with the Lusitania and such as there were tended to be needed elsewhere.

The list of 'who knows who, who wants what' and allusions to secrets, manifests and motives is hardly compelling. These people could want any number of things and have any number of objectives, but for all of that, they simply could not control any number of random factors that were in play to make some neferious plan work. It's also a nice piece of historical misdirection which ignors the fact that the Lusitania was a perfectly legitimate target of war. She flew the flag of a belligerant, was designed for rapid conversion to an armed auxilary cruiser, was subsidized by the British Government for just that reason, and had potential as a transport as well. Were I a sub driver, I would have taken the ship out myself for those reasons alone.

And yes, I do believe a single torpedo could take out the ship for the simple reason that this was exactly what happened. The secondary explosion that everyone crows about was not the sort of massive bang one would assocciate with ammunition being cooked off and could not have happened save as a consequence of the first in any event. From the sort of deep rumbling sound actually described, it sounds to me like some steamlines and boilers were ruptured.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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The suggestion here is that Winston Churchill et al deliberately set up Lusitania as a target hoping she'd be torpedoed, to get America into the war? Is that it? I know governments can get up to some fairly murky things, but this seems a really fantastic suggestion. If WC said it would be "a lot of live bait", he was probably responding to a "what if" scenario by stating the only positive thing he could see resulting from such a catastrophe. He had a rather dark sense of humour sometimes, and it wouldn't have been unusual for him to say something like that. As for the Govt telling 20/20 to leave the site, well, they probably didn't want people concluding that guns = conspiracy, even though as MS said she'd been designed and subsidised for wartime conversion, a perfectly well known fact.
 

Paul Rogers

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Nov 30, 2000
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If the conspiracy theorists are correct, then IMHO the plan didn't work out very well.

Lusitania sunk: May 1915
America entered WW1: April 1917

Hardly an efficient demonstration of Cause and Effect! Surely there must have been a better way?
 

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