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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 didn't work for some reason, and I did a cut and paste on the link. I wonder if there's something about the website which doesn't like direct links.
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.
Yes. that quote has been used in lots of books, misused by conspiracy theorist advocates. it represents no proof. possibly a clue, but not proof.
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.
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