Lusitania – Tragedy or War Crime? is a new assessment of one of the most infamous incidents of the First World War, published during the centenary of the tragedy in 2015.
Launched in 1907, the Lusitania was briefly the world’s largest liner, symbol of the fierce rivalry between transatlantic shipping agents in Europe and a forerunner of the Titanic. The Lusitania proved to be a similarly ill-starred vessel when it became a target for German U-boats early in the First World War – its sinking in 1915 as shocking as any of the many tragedies that characterised the conflict. The massive loss of life confirmed all the preconceived ideas of German brutality, and there were far-reaching political and social repercussions of this act of aggression.
In consequence, anti-German propaganda reached fever pitch in Britain and forced Prime Minister Asquith into a massive ‘Alien Internment’ programme after riots in Liverpool and London’s East End. The USA, which had been resolutely isolationist, experienced a huge swell of support for intervention on the side of the Triple Entente. In Germany, the captain of the U-Boat that sank the Lusitania was initially hailed a hero before, in response to international outcry, being court-martialled.
There are still question-marks about the sinking a hundred years on. Why was the Lusitania’s captain unfairly scapegoated after not being told of U-boats in the area? Was the ship actually armed as the Germans have often claimed? And how much about all of this did the First Lord of the Admiralty – one Winston S. Churchill – know?
This new book by prize-winning author, poet and playwright Jennifer Kewley Draskau brings together new research and evidence to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding this great sea tragedy which is also one the enduring enigmas of the Great War. To order the book from AmazonUK, click here: Lusitania – Tragedy or War Crime?