God Himself Couldn't Sink the Titanic


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Daniel M. Roper

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Ladies and Gents,

I am writing a magazine article about the Titanic and I remain uncertain whether or not anybody associated with the Titanic every uttered the phrase quoted above. I've done a search in this message board and this has been discussed at length but I couldn't really tell whether the consensus of knowledgeable people is that the alleged utterance of this statement is merely an urban legend or, on the other hand, if somebody actually had the chutzpah to say it. If any of you authorities could weigh in on this briefly, it'll help me decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to permit me to refer to this in my article. It's a juicy comment but I don't want to use it if there's not a shred of truth to it.

Thanks,

Dan Roper
Rome, GA
 

Don Tweed

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Mar 30, 2006
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I may be wrong, but, a White Star employee at her launch was credited for uttering those words May 31st, 1911.
-Don
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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Don is right, it's quoted in "A Night to Remember."

Best regards,

Jason
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Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Walter Lord attributes it to a 'deck hand' at Southampton on April 10th 1912. He allegedly said it to Mrs Sylvia Caldwell, a second class passenger. See page 73 of the illustrated version of A Night to Remember.

Personally, I take all the remarks recorded post-disaster with a big grain of salt. As you've seen, we have been discussing this at length and I've expressed the view that the the widespread idea that Titanic was unsinkable was a legend created by the press after the event.
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
As you can see, the provenance of this quote is questionable at best. It may have been said by a deckhand or just about anyone else in the crew to re-assure a jittery passenger, or it may never have been said at all. It certainly seems to have taken on a life of it's own, and you might want to toss in a caveat to the effect if you use it.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Alan Hustak

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Jul 25, 2007
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Thomas Andrews told Bert and Vera Dick, "This ship is as perfect as human brains can make her," not quite as convincing as unsinkable, but close. And the Gazette in Montreal pronounced it "A triumph of the designers and the builders craft." The impression before the disaster was that the ship was "practically unsinkable".
 
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Nov 22, 2000
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White Star Lines advertising brochure stated regarding Olympic/Titanic:
"...and as far as it is possible to do so, these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable"

So WSL never actually CLAIMED to be unsinkable - only DESIGNED to be so.

This brochure may well have been a proof copy (printed circa September 1910) which never went into circulation as the word Titanic was printed in error as Titantic.The leaflet belongs to a friend of mine and is reproduced in the booklet enclosed with the PRO CD ROM. (page 5, wording to the left of the lowest photograph.)

Regards

Geoff

(Mr. Hustak, see you in a few weeks!)
 
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Mar 3, 2001
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God may not have been able to sink her, but that iceburg did!
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I'm under the impression that "God himself couldn't sink this ship" "The Titanic is unsinkable" or any other context the words are used in were mostly used for publicity, maybe even to make the disaster seem even more amazing. It seems to have grown in magnatude after I believe "ANTR" used it on the back cover in the description. "God himself couldn't sink this ship" I believe that's the book i may be mistaken as it's been awhile since I've gone through my books. I agree that the 'phrase' has taken on a life of it's own. Kind of like how AFTER it sank so many other passengers suddenly appeared. after it sank it was suddenly unsinkable.
 
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holly lynn

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i think god sunk her cuz the people who uttered those words were insulting his power. god gave them the skill to build it he sure enough had the power to sink it.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Well the question that goes begging here...aside from whether or not diety even exists...is why would God take an interest in Titanic? There was nothing really that special about her and the claims of being practically unsinkable (Notice the qualifyer) were not unique to the Titanic. Such claims were made for nearly all of the big liners. Nor was there really anything that out of the ordinary about the way the ship was operated.

Divine intervention can be debated forever with no resolution in sight, but what can't be debated is that the Titanic was the victim of an especially bad accident. After nearly forty years of operations with few serious casualties on the North Atlantic run, it was just a matter of time befor the odds caught up with somebody, and with Titanic, it did.

When you get past all of the "Golly-gee-whiz-willikers-wow" superlatives, one sees that what was at work was questionable navigation practice. God didn't need to do anything when simple human fraility was more then adaquate to do the dirty work. Sadly, there's nothing especially remarkable about that.
 

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