• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Sinking of the Lusitania A Justifiable Act of War, or an Immoral Attack on Civilians?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Sinking of the Lusitania: A Justifiable Act of War, or an Immoral Attack on Civilians? Jeremy Sutton World Cultures IB 3 Mr. Moser 4/8/06 A. Plan of Investigation In Febuary 1915, Germany declared the waters of the British Isles to be a war zone. Any ships, enemy or neutral, were at risk of being attacked, either intentionally or by mistake. On May 7, 1915, the Lusitania, a British passenger liner traveling off the coast of Ireland headed for Great Britain, was sunk by a torpedo fired by a German submarine. The attack killed 1,198 people, including 128 American passengers. The question is, was this attack on a liner carrying civilian passengers a justifiable act of war by the Germans, or was it an immoral, malicious attack on a neutral country's morale. In my judgment, I perceive the German attack to be valid and justifiable, considering many different facts and arguments that I will present. I will prove this thesis by using primary sources such as history books and internet articles. The history and text books offer straight forward facts about the event, and the internet articles offer arguments and debates on separate views of the attack. B. Summary of Evidence The quandaries being discussed in this dissertation are the moral and ethical issues concerning the sinking of the Lusitania. These dilemmas are still debated to this day. No one knows exactly what the German's were thinking when they attacked it; did they know it was a passenger liner and simply want to teach the world a lesson, or did they believe that the liner was an enemy cargo ship? ...read more.

Middle

(Droste, C4) However, this publication was written from an American point of view none the less, and uses some generalizations in their arguments. The facts are all from the information that the American government released, therefore may not be completely accurate. "The Germans are not a nation of poker players. Germany does not bluff." (Droste, C5) The second source that played a big part in my research was an article written by Henry Watterson. It provided me with a counterclaim to my thesis, condemning the Germans and accusing them of performing an atrocity of civilians from a neutral country. "With up most decorum, I condemn Germany for attacking the ocean liner and killing hundreds of non-combatants, including women and children. Must we sit down and let those fiends run over us like fanatic dogs?" (Watterson, 14) It is a valuable source in my essay because it was written just days after the incident, and completely condemns Germany, resting absolute responsibility on the German nation. "Are we at the mercy of the insane Wilhelm II of Germany, not only through his emissaries sending his odious system of government and debasing theories of casteism affecting superiority to our doors and proclaiming them, but bringing his war of conquest and murder across the line of our transit and travel over the high seas, which are ours to sail as we list, without let or hindrance from man or monarch, from him or from any one on land or water?" ...read more.

Conclusion

The Cunard Line knew of the impending dangers of the waters surrounding Britain, yet for the sake of profit, they chose to ignore the warnings and, instead, place their passengers in great danger. The Cunard Line also failed to inform their passengers that the Lusitania was short eighty to ninety crew members, had a defective turbine, and had narrowly escaped a submarine attack on its previous voyage. (Heyman, 115) How many of the passengers would have remained on the boat if the Cunard Line had not suppressed the truth? How many victims of the attack would have been spared? E. Conclusion In conclusion, restating my thesis, the sinking of the Lusitania was a justifiable and valid act of war. The passengers of the ship were previously warned by the German government to travel across seas at their own risk. It was the responsibility and fault of the U.S. government for transporting contraband munitions along with non-combatant civilians through the waters of a declared war zone. Fault also lies with the passengers who chose to board a ship carrying the British flag, through German infected waters, after numerous precautions and warnings. A break for the Germans that would make the attack permissible is if munitions were proved to have been stored on that ship. And proof is what we have. One torpedo. Two explosions. What caused the second explosion, making the great ship to sink so fast? What other explanation but contraband munitions? Therefore, there is proof that contraband munitions were stored on the Lusitania, rending the Germans legally and morally excused. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. American History.

    - Largely b/c of Common Sense, by late spring in 1776 independence had become inevitable. On May 10 the Second Continental Congress proposed that individual colonies start forming state constitutions, and all the loyalists dropped out of the CC. - On June 7 some congressmen introduced a motion towards independence.

  2. How did World War II affect the lives of civilians in Wales and Britain?

    Nonetheless it is my view that this source disagrees with the other two that preceded as they are being told from the viewpoints of people from different social classes. The women in source 6 are both rich, middle and upper class women and they would have found the whole experience

  1. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    Rifai selected the controversial Ghanim as his minister of defence; all other cabinet ministers except one were also military officers. Franjieh's motives were difficult to discern. Some believed his move was part of a plot to cement Maronite dominance of the government.

  2. How and why do Historians disagree about the Sinking of the Lusitania?

    he was standing in the port side and thought starboard side but it was written 2 days later. The captain said that they definitely hit starboard side and the captain fired one explosion but he saw two explosions. The captain will know what side he was standing and he knows

  1. The Lusitania was a British cargo and passenger ship that was torpedoed and sank ...

    These were a very explosive cargo, which was forbidden by American law and should never have been on the ship. The German submarine attack devastated the Lusitania. The ship sank within twenty minutes of when she was hit and took with her 1,201 people.

  2. On the 7 May 1915 at 14:30, then 240 metre long and 27 meter ...

    Approximately 200 000 people had gathered to see her offm´┐Żnniskor, despite the fact the ship had been built to win the Blue Riband back from the German ship "Deutschland" it was not until the Lusitania's second journey that the record was broken on the 5 October 1907.

  1. In 1915 a British Newspaper printed a letter from a 'Lady Reader' who claimed, ...

    mothers, and, I venture to think, the whole British nation are justly proud...If my own son can best serve England at this juncture by giving his life for her, I would not lift one finger to bring him home. If any act or word of mine should interfere with or

  2. The Lusitania was a British cargo and passenger ship that was torpedoed and sank ...

    various other precious stones, but these things were never found and port records do not list them either. She is believed to have instead carried, under the guise of bales of fur and cheese boxes, 3-inch shells and millions of rounds of rifle ammunition.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work