LUSITANIA: The Cultural History of a Catastrophe

LUSITANIA: The Cultural History of a Catastrophe

WILLI JASPER    Book Number: 85879    Product format: Hardback

The 1915 sinking of the British liner Lusitania, homebound from New York, was the event that brought the US into World War I when it became known that 128 American citizens had perished. But from the German point of view it was a triumph of strategy and technology. The Captain of U-20 watched cold bloodedly through binoculars as the Lusitania sank with terrifying speed in 18 minutes. There was an ideological dimension to the sinking which exemplified the German cultural mission, a national ethos which was soon to see its culmination in Nazism. In 1907 the Lusitania had achieved the Blue Riband on its second Atlantic crossing, completing the journey in under five days, and Germany was challenging the rest of the western world for technological supremacy. Among the dead was Marie Depage who worked in field hospitals alongside Edith Cavell, later shot by the Germans. The fabulously wealthy Alfred Vanderbilt and his valet Ronald Denyer gave up their seats on the lifeboats, saving lives with their selfless heroism, as did Margaret Mackworth, a champion of women's rights. The sinking of the Lusitania reduced German standing in the world, and the playwright Wedekind foresaw the militarisation of Europe if the Germans won the war. But it was popular in Germany, where the Jewish journalist Stossinger, soon to be exiled when Hitler came to power in 1933, proclaimed the sinking as an act of heroism. A fascinating account of the story from a new angle. 233pp, photos.
Published price: £18.99
Bibliophile price: £4.50

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ISBN 9780300221381
Browse these categories as well: Transport, War & Militaria

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