What if Lusitania had not sunk


Jan 5, 2001
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I thought I'd throw this question in and ask for any opinions from the array of Lusitania experts who frequent this board.

  • In the first place, assuming that the Lusitania had somehow managed to survive the torpedoing;
  • or secondly, assuming she had not been hit

Would she have continued to be more popular than Mauretania post-war? Would Lusitania have maintained her speed as well as Mauretania? Would the ships still have been Speed Queens by 1929? Or would Lusitania have lasted as long as her sister?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
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Nathan Good

Guest
Well if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that the Lusitania would have remained the passengers favorite after the war, if not the speed queen. After all, she was still continuing service into and during the war. I'm sure that Cunard would have benefited from having both ships as running mates. Both would have been very popular ships. I have read that many passengers preferred the light and airy interiors on the Lusitania, however their popularity probably would have been shared. I'd liken it to the popular connection between the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth after WW2. As sisters, the bond would most likely have been stronger. But I'm sure the Lusitania would have been as popular, if not more than her sister proved to be.

All the best,

Nathan G.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hmm....what if eh? Had she not been torpedoed and survived the war, I'd guess she would have suffered the same fate as her sister, cruising the islands until the depression. By then she would be way too old fashioned for the Art Deco crowd and worth more as scrap. She might have been berthed next to the Olympic waiting for the torch. You'd think someone coulda saved the Olympic much like the Queen Mary was saved. Oh well. Nostalgia wasn't invented yet!
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Thanks for the responeses.

Nathan, I thought your reply well-considered. It's logical, although coming to think of it I wonder if Cunard would ever have got the Berengaria.

I guess you think then David that Lusitania could have survived as long as her sister. I wonder if Lusitania and Mauretania would have been modernised? Aquitania was extensively, i.e. in 1929.

On the issue of Olympic, there were actually several schemes about preserving her. It's just that people ignore them. Economics was a cold subject.

Thanks again for your contributions and let's hope even more join in.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hmmm.....have we given a thought to the fact that both Lusitania and Mauretania could have been in German hands at the end of the War? Had Lusitania not been sunk (one of the main reasons for America entering the War)and Britain and the Allies defeated, both ships might have been taken as "spoils of war". It's popular to play down America's role in WW1 (the majority of schoolchildren don't even realise the vital part they played)but without them the results of both World Wars could have been very different.

Geoff
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Nathan

the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were not sister ships, just running mates, same same w/ Rex and her sister the Conte De Sovai (i think thats how its spelled), another good example is Cunards big 3 after the war Mauretania, Aquitania, and Berengaria (former german Imperator of 1913, first ship to surpass titanic and olympic in size). as for lusitania and mauretania keeping the blue riband after 1929, i doubt they would have if lusitania didnt sink, for one thing ships by 1929 were alot more modern than they were in 1907, and the Bremen which took the blue riband from the mauretania was designed for speed and to be faster than the mauretania.
 
Nov 5, 2006
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'It's popular to play down America's role in WW1 (the majority of schoolchildren don't even realise the vital part they played)but without them the results of both World Wars could have been very different. '

Actually, while Lusitania's sinking was one of the reasons we entered WWI, it was not THE reason. We waited until 1917 to join the allies, two years AFTER Lusitania was sunk. Obviously, it was not enough to get us to help the Triple Alliance, the reason we joined was NOT because of the Lusitania's sinking, but because of economics, and strong ties to the British Empire and France. So, had Lusitania not sunk, we can still assume that in 1917 we joined on the side of the Allies.

'Hmmm.....have we given a thought to the fact that both Lusitania and Mauretania could have been in German hands at the end of the War? Had Lusitania not been sunk (one of the main reasons for America entering the War)and Britain and the Allies defeated, both ships might have been taken as "spoils of war".'

Yes, well, doesn't that sound like an apparent reversal of the horrible treaty of Versailles which let Adolf Hitler dupe the German people into buying his brand of facism?

But back to the ships, Lusitania would have been with her relatives Aquitania and Mauretania raking in profits for Cunard, in a good natured rivalry with the Mauretania. She probably would have been refitted after the war, and converted to Oil Burning. Imperator would have been given to White Star Perhaps instead of the Columbus, ensuring a better transatlantic service for White Star with three 45,000+ tonners, at an average speed of 21-23 knots.

Lusitania would have been kept on the transatlantic run similar to Imperator, while her sister would have been put into cruise service, similar to 'our' timeline. Lusitania would have been on 'booze cruises' in the early 1930's, before being laid up in 1933. Mauretania would be scrapped in 1936, with Lusitania back in service in early 1935, replacing Mauretania on the cruise service. After the Cunard-White Star merger, she would be laid up once again, with her fate undecided. With the outbreak of WWII, she'd be converted into a Troopship along with Aquitania. She'd serve well until it was decided after the war that she was too old for any further service, so Lusitania would be in one of two possible scenarios:

1.(most likely)Scrapped
2.(somewhat likely)Sold to investors in New York as a floating Hotel

Thats just my personal opinion of things.
 

Lucy Burkhill

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Mar 31, 2006
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Had she survived, Lusitania would probably, after WW1, have been engaged in a friendly rivalry for the fastest crossing with her sister, however, whether Lusitania would have regained the Blue Riband is open to debate. I read somewhere (possibly in Humfrey Jordan's book Mauretania, that Maury was the faster of the two, however, if Lusitania had had her engines souped up in the 1920's, (as was the case with her sister), who knows what might have happened!

>>Lusitania back in service in early 1935<<

I think this would have been highly unlikely-

Why would Cunard wish to keep in service what would have been, by the mid-'30's, a liner with an old-fashioned power plant of Scotch boilers and direct-drive turbines, few modern facilities (private baths, swimming pools etc,which passengers of the 1930's demanded), plus a style of decor that was increasingly out of vogue? The most likely scenario would have been that Lusitania would have gone to a breaker's yard somewhere in the North of the UK at the same time as her sister.

>>Sold to investers in New York as a floating Hotel<<

Hmm, not sure about this one either?!

In the post WW2 period, when modernity was the thing, would there really have been any demand for a hotel in the form of a 40 year old ship?
 
Mar 27, 2004
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Lucy,

If you're interested in information on the competition between the two sisters, I dug up a lot for my most recent book, "Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography of the Ship of Splendor," which shows that the MAURETANIA was definitely the faster of the two while they were in service together. If the LUSITANIA had survived the war... that's open to debate, but I have a hunch the MAURETANIA would still have been faster.
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
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Dec 3, 2000
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Actually, while Lusitania's sinking was one of the reasons we entered WWI, it was not THE reason.
You're correct, it wasn't the only reason the United States entered the war. Although, the soldier's did have the disaster on their minds, as they were reported to have remarked "Avenge the Lusitania!" just as they were going to battle.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Actually, the whole Lusitania fracas was pretty much relegated to the back burner by the Time the U.S. entered the war. There were a lot of aggravating factors that were enough on their own to push the USA in that direction (Like unrestricted submarine warfare where anything became fair game, including nuetral shipping. However, the straw which finally broke the camel's back was the Zimmerman Telegram which the United States got wind of. You can read the transcript at http://www.pittstate.edu/services/scied/Staff/Shoberg/History/wwi/zimmer.htm

I think you can see why this got a few hairs raised.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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"...for one thing ships by 1929 were alot more modern than they were in 1907, and the Bremen which took the blue riband from the mauretania was designed for speed and to be faster than the mauretania."

Hello,

I'll not argue the Mauretania could have kept the Riband - but after 25 years of improvements in design, consider the margin of loss on her July '29 attempt to get it back (if only for one crossing). Compared to the Bremen's speed - .61 knots - under an hour!

Best,
Eric Longo
 
Nov 5, 2006
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Yes, Micheal H. is right, the reason we entered was the infamous Zimmerman Telegram.

>>In the post WW2 period, when modernity was the thing, would there really have been any demand for a hotel in the form of a 40 year old ship?<<

Yes, thats true, and I suppose Lusitania would be scrapped about a year BEFORE her sister. But who knows, some French Investors wanted to buy Olympic as a floating hotel around 1933-1934. But Cunard didn't want ANY relics of White Star Around, so they chopped her up(despite the fact that she and Majestic were not as old or junky as Mauretania and Berengaria at this point). The WWII troopship idea was sort of based on the Aquitania, but the truth was she just got lucky. Around the Time that the Aquitania was due to be scrapped, WWII had started, and the need for troopships increased.
 

Grant Carman

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Jun 19, 2006
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>>The WWII troopship idea was sort of based on the Aquitania, but the truth was she just got lucky. Around the Time that the Aquitania was due to be scrapped, WWII had started, and the need for troopships increased.<<

Aquitania survived because her replacement, the Queen Elizabeth, was not completed when war broke out, so they quickly converted the Aquitania, along with the Queen Mary to troopships. The Queen Elizabeth was completed as a troopship, and wasn't formally launched as a passenger liner until after the war.
By the late 1930's, Cunard only needed 2 large liners on the North Atlantic run. Until 1938, they had 3, Queen Mary, Berengaria and Aquitania. Berengaria was the first to go, with Aquitania scheduled next.
Even though the Aquitania is my favorite ship, by the late '30's, she was out of date, rusting out, and generally at the end of her life. The fact that she survived until 1950 is somewhat of a miracle, as when she was retired, she was found to be structuerally unsafe. Berengaria on the other hand was in great physical shape, but needed a complete re-wiring, which wasn't worth it.

At least that's what I understand. Now I'll step back and let people correct me.
happy.gif
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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"...were not as old or junky as Mauretania..."

On July 20th, 1933, while that "old junk" was completing the 110 miles stretch between Carysfort Reef and Juniper Lighthouse she averaged 32 knots an hour with a touch of help from the Gulf Stream. The British Board of Trade found her to be in decent shape as well.

Best,
Eric Longo
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
I don't recall reading of any major structural issues with the Mauretania at the end of he career. She was a sound and well built ship. Her retirement was based on economic reasons and the takeover of White Star made her redundant.
I do think if the Lucy had survived the war the U.S. may have kept Imperator and run her with the Leviathan.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I don't recall reading of any major structural issues with the Mauretania at the end of he career.<<

Nor do I and the Board of Trade tended to keep a close eye on this sort of thing. The Olympic was in quite sound condition as well, having benefited from very good upkeep. The problem with a lot of these ships wasn't so much that they were junky as they were simply outmoded in terms of style and accomadation. Simply put, the public wanted something else.

The German built ships suffered from quite a few problems, not the least of which was topweight which...in the Imperator at least...was never ever made quite right. The electrical problems tended to be annoying as well, especially in it's tendency to catch fire. (That never goes down to well with us sailors either!)
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
Hindsight is a wonderful gift, of course, but it would have made more sense for Cunard to have kept Olympic over Berengaria because of the wiring issues. (Perhaps Majestic would have lasted longer than the Berengaria as well.)
An express service by QM, Aquitania, & Olympic. That wold have been cool......

Brent
 

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