On 7 May 1915, Cunard Line’s Lusitania became the target of a terrifying new weapon of war. As the popular liner—nicknamed “Lucy” by her admirers—was nearing the end of her 101st eastbound crossing, she was sunk off the southern coast of Ireland by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20.
Lusitania exploded and sank in just 18 minutes. Some 1,200 people died, more than half of the ship’s passengers and crew. Lusitania’s destruction shocked the world and hastened the US’s entry into World War I.
Unlike the Titanic tragedy just three years earlier, there’s not even a whiff of romance in Lusitania’s intentional destruction, only terror, pain, anger and tears. Lots and lots of tears.
The Lusitania attack was, and remains, a stain on humanity, a harbinger of even worse atrocities to be inflicted upon innocent civilians worldwide during the decades to come.
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