Lusitania (Page 2)
If the Lusitania had not altered her course when she did, thus exposing herself to a direct shot, she could have outdistanced the submarine. The lives of some 1,200 persons would have been saved, including more than 120 Americans. Of those on board, 761 were rescued, while 1,198 perished.
The German government contended that the Lusitania was a warship and that she was carrying Canadian soldiers and munitions. Her sister ship, the Mauretania, had been converted for military service, and the original plans for both vessels allowed for 12 six-inch gun emplacements. The disaster aroused deep resentment in the United States and brought the nation to the brink of war with Germany.
While controversy about the Lusitania possibly carrying war materials still exists, the families of passengers who died still claim, and enjoy popular support for the argument, that they died from an act of outright murder. Germany, on the contrary, celebrated the event by striking a medal. The British copied the medal and circulated it widely to show how their enemy was rejoicing over their fallen victims.
One of the more famous ocean liner disasters, the Lusitania endures as a model of the horrors of war imposed on civilians.
Also, an ancient Roman province comprising most of modern Portugal and southwestern Spain; name comes from Lusitani, group of people who held off Roman domination until the death of their leader.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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