Which sinking had more impact on modern history


Status
Not open for further replies.
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Greetings all,

I was wondering what the boards members thoughts might be as to which sinking bore the most historic significance that of Titanic or Lusitania?

My vote is for the Lusitania because it was the causus belli for the USA entry into the First World War and broke the isolationist policy that we had toward european involvments that propelled the USA onto the stage of world history in the last century. What do you think?

James
 
Dec 13, 1999
1,458
11
313
Hello James,
I suppose it has to do with which country you viewed each disaster from. I think that the Titanic had a far greater effect on both the USA and UK because it was the first real instance of so many deaths in one accident in living memory.
By the time the Lusitania was torpedoed, Britain was used to losing her young men in Battles in both France and Belgium as well as on the High Seas. The Lusitania outrage caused a shock because of the loss of women and children, but it was forgotten by the newspapers after a week or so and only dragged up again for propaganda purposes. The US was stunned because of the loss of one hundred and twenty three of her citizens but of course did not enter the war until 1917.
This two year wait whilst the US citizens cooled their heels would probably cause many to forget about the Lusitania anyway.

Geoff
 
Dec 12, 1999
997
5
313
I would say, by far, the Titanic's sinking. This site, all the movies, the fact everyone out there has heard of Titanic, etc., show that the historic significance of the Titanic disaster has been overwhelming. In terms of a direct impact on public policy, I think Titanic also had more effect - - because there were American inquiries, and the imposition of the ice patrol, mandatory 24 hour wireless regulations, etc. As the book by Steven Biel points out, the Titanic disaster had an enormous impact on aspects of American life - which continues to this day. In other posts, I've projected that the Titanic story could become an Illiad, of sorts, for the 20th Century. All of us are contemporary Homeric bards. That's why, too, it is becoming less important for stories about the Titanic to be factually correct. Eventually, I expect the story to take on a life of its own in folklore.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,672
892
563
Easley South Carolina
Hi Joe, and I suspect the folklore thing has been well underway for 88 years now. The press certainly didn't waste any time turning the matter into a three ring circus, and it still goes on today.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Hi Joe, Michael and Geoff,

I agree with you from a perspective of influenceing the cultural history of the 20th century, but I don't think the Titanic played an important role in shaping the future as the Lusitania did. Safety precautions, ice patrols, and books, movies,etc.; doesn't carry the enormous impact on the formation of global history as an event that leads to the USA getting involved in the First World War. True, the press and people may have become desensitized to loss and downplayed the Lusitania sinking but it nevertheless became a rallying point for America when unrestricted submarine warfare carried out by the Germans finally became too intolerable to suffer any longer. Had the Lusitania not been torpedoed and Germany had not continued with its Naval warfare policies, this country may have chosen to stay out of the war. Our involment insured an Allied victory which had the seeds of WWII and the Cold War as direct results. Certainly Titanic can't claim to have had that much influence over the history of the 20th century no matter how romantic or poignant the epic its fate weaves in our cultural history.

James
 
Sep 12, 2000
1,513
6
313
Wow, James. I have to disagree with you in that last sentence.

Titanic represented absolute gild (not gold) but gild...it was everything that the era had to say in one container. It was segregation. It was riches and yet refined purity that could be bought with a price for those rich enough and the pits of hell for those who could not. It was definace against a God whom they knew could not penetrate the safety of the metal shell. And in only a little over 2 hours it was all at the bottom of the ocean, seared by a mere piece of God made ice.

There were no answers and yet everyone had them, but none fit. The newspapers were more than happy to fill in where the event had no words.

They promised it couldn;t sink and it did and everything that was owned for some was gone.

I'd say that Lusy and WWI were very important, but I agree with Geoff that the US was not moved to join in for a few more years.

Titanic impacted The White Star Line and every single person that survived that sinking in some way.

It is my belief that this one incident caused a breaking from many traditions and it made people stand up and take notice that saving the woman and not the man creates a lot of widows and childrenw ithout the breadwinners in the homes and their lives will never be the same again.

Molly Brown fights for women;s rights. I can not help but believe that the many widows that she saw from the Titanic sealed in her heart the urge to help women through equality.
Just my stupid opinion. Maureen.
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Aug 20, 2000
8,239
30
398
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi James,

The Titanic had more historic significane and still does today then that of the Lusitiana. When the Titanic sank, it was the end of an era which was the gilded age and the White Star Line was never the same after the sinking.

I also have to disagree with you on your last sentence. Titanic affected everybody that was a part of her in every which way. A lot of people were never the same after the disaster and they carried that experience for the rest of the lives. WW1 and the Lusy were very historical, but I also agree with Geoff that the US wasn't involved with it until a few years after.

Just my opinion.

Best regards,

Jason
 
Mar 20, 2000
3,107
33
323
Geoff, Maureen, and James,

I absolutely believe the Lusitania had greater political impact and was therefore of greater historical signifigance than the Titanic. The Titanic has been romanticized out of all bounds and that is why I think people have what I believe is a distorted perception of its magnitude. This is not to say that it was/is not of huge importance but I think the Titanic, thanks mainly to Hollywood, has to it a mystique that clouds people's view of the real thing.

I have to say, too, though I respect Geoff, that I am very offended by his remark about America cooling its heels over the Lusitania affair. This is totally unfair and I object to its being said (though I appreciate his right to say it.)

It is true America was horrified - and justifiably so - at the loss of its citizens to a war we weren't yet a part of. There was a great deal of hysteria and outrage here so it is very mean to insinuate that we were indifferent.

I believe Geoff and others who might feel as he does should be reminded that our national heart was already with Britain in the conflict as is proved by the fact of the British-bound munitions aboard fresh from American factories.

And I dare say if accusations of indifference are to be made, one ought only to recall that it was England's own admiralty head Winston Churchill who basically allowed the ship to enter dangerous waters unescorted.

It may have taken two years for us to get into the war but it was our might that ultimately rescued England (for the time being) and ended the war.

Personally I feel it is a sorry thing for anyone to be making cracks about US military involvement - past or present - when the world's nations are sure as hell glad to rely on us to help them out of their many and sundry scrapes. But right now is a really low time for any such remark to be made and I absolutely resent it.

Randy Bigham
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Hello Randy, et al good friends here!

I said earlier that perhaps this board wouldn't be the best forum for this question as it is after all a place for those who are emotionally atached to the Titanic and thats as it should be. I agree with you Randy that anyone who thinks that America dragged its heels to enter WWI really has no idea what the poeple of the times felt after the sinking here in the USA. I remember the stories told to me by people who like the survivors of Titanic, actually experienced those times and have vivid memories of the anti-German sentiments that caused many German-Americans to change their names to more Anglo-Saxon sounding ones. No, we as a nation didn't drag our heels and once committed to the cause we did as Americans always do in a crisis rose to the occasion and prevailed. True, the lives of survivors were forever altered by their Titanic nightmares, but so were the families of the souls on the Lusitania (not Lusy, please ,people died here too) and the 8 million people killed in WWI whose nations, customs, econmies, ideologies, and families were either wiped away or permanently altered. The death of innocence/arrogance and the class divisions that defined the age of the Titanic was completely lost as 'the lights went out all over the world,' never to burn the same way ever again.

The boards sentiments are with the story and people of the Titanic with whom your studies and interests have caused this board to come into its own, and thats a good thing as you are all good folks for caring so much. I apologize again for bringing what should have been a question more fitted to a board on 20th century history to this forum whose focus is keen and Titanic centered. I do hope that friends and shipmates all we allow for discourse to encompass larger issues at times than the Titanic with open minds and kindness too all.

James
 
Aug 29, 2000
4,562
28
323
Depends on what's meant by "greatest"- long-term or immediate effect? The sinking of Titanic established new shipping routes, the Ice Patrol- all-new standards for ship -building , safety equipment, wireless regs concerning 24 hour monitoring, life belts for every person, and on and on. The effects are still being felt. They will continue for as long as we take to the sea in ships. It was also the first time the pampered few got a real wake-up call-and the plight of the huddled masses was brought to light. Greatest instant and political impact must have been the Lusy IMHO. I feel if the Gustloff had been widely made known when it happened-to the world- the effects would have been ENORMOUS!
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
5,343
70
398
Hallo, Randy and James :)

I don't think Geoff was actually saying that America was cooling its heels after the Lusitania disaster. He was pointing out, quite correctly, that in spite of the passions it aroused at the time it did not immediately hurl the US out of neutrality and into the fray. Although people did not forget what had happened, other events took their places on the front pages of the newspapers. It was used as an instrument to sway public opinion (I would say 'propaganda', but as the point is a sensitive one I don't want to use wording that might be seen as inflammatory), and not just in the US. In Ireland, for example, Irishmen were exhorted to 'remember the Lusitania' on recruiting posters. In the end it was a contributory factor, not the cause.

We do love and appreciate our American mates :) It was for good reason that the first Americans to arrive here at the Western Front were sent into battle alongside seasoned Australians - and the two nationalities had something of a mutural admiration society going, by most accounts. My grandfather remembered with a good deal of affection those American troops that arrived and were sent into battle alongside men who, like himself, had been fighting since Gallipoli.

There were a lot of factors that ended the war, and not simply American involvement.

Our contribution might have seemed slight - we were a new nation, and our population wasn't large enough to send huge numbers of troops 12,000 miles away. But the Anzac casualties were among the highest rate of loss among the allies. That was a high and bloody price to pay for a new nation - we'd only become a Commonwealth in 1901. We lost the men who should have been building a new nation.

And then there was the poor bloody Tommy - fighting in the trenches all those long years. It wasn't a question of 'saving' England - it was a question of coming to the aid of France and Belgium, as England had done.

In WWII, our Prime Minister, The remarkable Curtin, made a speech in which he stated in the clearest possible terms that in spite of our long-cherished ties to England, it was America to which we looked to stop the potential invasion of Australia. It marked a watershed in our sense of national identity and foreign relations. Please don't imagine that we forget the contributions America made in either war. I'm certain that Americans don't forget that Australians were there in both wars from the begining, or that England suffered and sacrificed much - and, in 1939, would finally be the nation to take a stand against Hitler when it, too, was sick of war.

All the best,

Ing
 
Dec 13, 1999
1,458
11
313
Dear Randy & James,
I am sorry that you were offended by my remarks, I assure you that it was not my intention.
True, this was not America's war, and her reluctance to enter into it can be understood, but neither should it have been the United Kingdom's war either, it was just that we considered the invasion of Europe to be an affront to civilisation.
I am at a loss to see how America's "National Heart" being with the U.K.at the time can be taken as an issue -what was needed was action, not sympathy, and as to the British bound munitions proving the fact, it could be argued that in time of war you buy your weapons from whoever will sell them to you.
I wholeheartedly agree with your comments regarding Churchill's actions, and if you ever come across any of the Admiralty coded telegrams
concerning the lead up to and aftermath of the Lusitania affair you would be left in little doubt that it was set up to "stop the United States of America from sitting on the fence" and I can assure you that these are not my words.
My initial remarks were not made as "a crack" - why when we disagree with someone do we always
downgrade their opinions as "a crack" I'm as guilty as anyone else!
Anyway, I hope I have not caused more offence to too many of my American friends and as James says, this is not really the place.
Regards

Geoff
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
1,277
6
313
Dear Geoff,

Actually, if you hadn't posted your remarks about the two years between the sinking of the Lusitania and our entry into WWI, I would have. While there may have been those anti-German sentiments among the American people, the larger picture (which chiefly included an Isolationist congress) did indeed sit back and not rally to war. Also, still in recent memory was the Spanish American War, brought on by the sinking of the Maine in Havana's harbor. (Years later, as you know, it was discovered the ship was not exploded but imploded, causing the belief that it was NOT sunk by the enemy.) The lessons learned on THIS one caused many NOT to rush headlong into battle after the Lusitania disaster.

In fact, I believe we should include the Maine in this catagory. This ship did INDEED start a war.

JMHO

Best regards,
Cook
 
Sep 12, 2000
1,513
6
313
The topic of this thread and I thought the question was of an "opinion" nature...which was (parapharsed) which Titanic/Lusy do we believe had the most impact on Modern history. And for the record, I think that as long as we recognize the fact that it is merely opinions stated here, the question, James, was not out of place.

Randy, I am an American. I did not mean any offense to you or anyone by my comments above, but I can't track how you got where you did from anything that was said.

The Lusy attack was horrific. And yes, Americans (the people) were moved emotionally by it, but America (the country) did not act instantly to join into the war across the pond due to policy and politics. Yes, there was a war eventually that contributed to the deaths of many people. And yes, many people died on the Lusy. But connecting the two as cause and effect are not there as they were in WWII. But that is my own opinion Randy and I do not disrespect yours.

Pearl Harbour was an incident that happened. It instantly brought the United Stated into WWII. And it has definitely impacted our modern history through how the United States does everything within its power to try to work out things without war....plus many other things. There clearly was a cause and effect there.

But as proud as I am to be an American, it is the attitude of the United States citizens of being the "American Saviours of the World", that often places a bad taste in other countries' mouths about us, because many countries sacrificed and came to the aid of Europe in both WWI and WWII. It was not just us. Yes, we assisted, but we had the use of the French Underground and many English and as Ing stated the Australians who sacrificed their lives. My father went to Australia during WWII and he made many treasured friendships there. My uncle fought and was seriously wounded in Germany in WWII. I knew a woman who had lost her husband and sons in WII.

All that I was attempting to say in my posting was that, maybe the Lusy sinking was impactful for that time and that place, but the impact of the Lusy on Modern History from a social, religious, financial, race, sex, business and country relationships standpoint...Modern History, simply was not that impactful from that view. Yes people died and yes it was a horrible tragedy, but it was an act of War and its cause although horrible, was clear and understood.

The Titanic incident was a gamble, a wager against God, that lost. There was no hostile act. No boat from one country versus another. No boat from teh same country. But it also was not just emotion and romance as an incident.

No, it was not the sole contributor to the end of the Gilded Age, but I believe that it was a large contributor. The sinking impacted many things. Laws were changed. Board of Trade Rules were changed. People's general attitudes towards God changed. Crossing socially unacceptable boundaries changed. For modern History, I have to listen to some flight attendant go through the instructions of how to save myself each and everytime I board a plane and folks have to do that as well on a ship.

Loss of lives and the emotions of the loss are one thing and we all feel them, but the question was the impacts felt today specifically by the sinkings of two ships.

Randy, I appologize to you if I hurt you, but my intention was not to do that. I merely was addressing Mr Eldridge (aka James) statement that Titanic did not have as much of an impact on our history and was merely the emotional...I am hopelessly paraphrasing there so don;t beat up on me James. But he too has a right to his opinion and so do you.

Sorry Geoff, James, Randy and anybody else. Okay, Randy...I have my Victoria Secrets Garters, I can meet both you and Shelley at dawn. So after I beat Shelley, you can slingshot me into space if you like. (So, does this mean our date is off!?)
Love you guys.
Maureen.
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Well met and done all! Yes, Inger the Australians are some of the most worthy fighters ever to take the field and America has always been proud to call them friends and allies. I'm glad we can all agree to disagree without hurting anyone's sensibilities and with that perhaps we should mark this topic closed.

James
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Aug 20, 2000
8,239
30
398
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hello all,

I thought this topic was just of opinion on which ship had more historical significance of the 20th century. James, no need to apologize. I don't think Geoff's intention was to offend, just to merely state his opinion.

From an emotional standpoint of view, the Titanic has more impact. After it sunk, a lot of things changed and nothing was ever the same. What happened to the Lusitania was terrible and many lives were lost and those survivor's lives were also forever changed. It was because of the war and there were politics and policies surrounding it. Both sinkings were tragedies, but for different reasons.

Just my opinion.

Best regards,

Jason
 
Mar 20, 2000
3,107
33
323
All,

I intend only to throw out there this last rambling addendum to what I've already said (which is probably too much as it is!) and then I'm running for cover for good!!!

First of all: we DID rescue the English because they (and the Allies) were losing ground - and lives - and were so desperate that we come into the war that the uppers in the British Government had no scruples about setting a trap for the Lusitania and all her innocent crew and passengers - just to outrage the American nation into action. Now THAT was propaganda, insidious propaganda.

If we were guilty of indifference to the politics of war (and I agree Pres. Wilson was certainly a worrisome pacifist), England was grossly indifferent to the basic value of human life. This criminal thing was done, lives were lost in a horrible assault on private citizens, only now to have the event brushed over as of no real conseqence or, worse, forgotten.

To me the Lusitania disaster must be one of the coldest and most senseless acts of military aggression on civilians during WWI; in fact to my mind only Hiroshima in the 2nd WW eclipses it in barbarity. It was an act of outright and deliberate murder, not a freak accident.

I have heard what everyone has to say and you all sound perfectly sane to me. This is just a matter of historical viewpoints and perspective. There can be no right answer as in most things. It's all relative to your own perception. And we all have our own. My main objection was mainly to the tone I "perceived" from Geoff in saying what he did which "to me" implied feelings of resentment toward America.

This is all cleared up insofar as I'm concerned. Geoff made his point beautifully. I heard it clearly. Inger made hers. I heard it. Maureen and Shelley made their points. Heard threm. And so on. I have responded here to a few of their remarks and though I'm sure someone will want to respond to my response, I am bowing out of this for at this point the result can only lead to the same road of confrontation we've been down so often before and I will not get embroiled in that. So someone else can have the last word as I am content now to read from the sidelines. Which means any volleys shot my way will be noted but left on the battlefield unreturned!

I have no hard feelings against anyone on the ET board, and especially not toward the thoroughly respectable souls engaged in this discussion, but arguments make you think you do, so that's why I'm ducking out now.

Geoff, you know I think you're great, Inger, you know I think you're the greatest, Maureen and Shell, you know I LOVE you both (with or without your crepe de chine, garters, OR cheesecake). Actually I don't know if that sounds quite right but I'll let it go.

Movin' on,

Randy

PS) Also, in case there is any confusion on this, I love England and I love the British people. I actually have more friends there than here - or did have!!!. And lastly I love the Titanic. Nothing touches her when it comes to ships. And I do agree that she embodies her time better than any other. Hence my own personal fascination with her and her story.
 
Dec 13, 1999
1,458
11
313
Hello All,
Well said everybody and how nice to be able to put forward ideas without ending up in a fight!
I've learned a lot from so many different opinions.Lastly as in Randy's final paragraph, I love America, I love the American people and way of life, oh hang it all...I'm going to emigrate there!!

Best wishes

Geoff
 

George Behe

Member
Dec 11, 1999
1,280
12
313
Geoff, if you'll give me the date that you intend to move to the U.S. I'll alert the immigration authorities so that they can be on the lookout for you. (I hear the reward for your capture has risen into the six figure bracket, and I intend to put that money to good use.) :)

All my best,

George
 
Dec 13, 1999
1,458
11
313
George,
You really are too kind - going to all that trouble setting up a meeting with immigration just for me! I will fool you though, I'll slip past your road blocks under the cloak of darkness (doesn't that have a nice poetic ring to it!)from where I will make my way to Maureen's house, where she will hide me in the basement and feed me cheesecake! She has promised to entertain me with her Dance of the Seven Veils routine but tells me that as she is economising she will have to make do with a three pack of dusters! Who am I to argue! That will thwart you Mr Behe, you'll never be rich at the expense of my hide sir!!
What is the bounty on overweight, balding, rather simple Englishmen George? How can you live with yourself after trying to cash me in? Pat will hear of this and I'm sure that she will give you a sound thrashing!
Geoff (The Outlaw!)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.