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 - proving to be a similarly ill-starred vessel as it became a target for German U-boats early in the First World War. The Lusitania sinking in 1915 was as shocking as any WW1 incident: the massive loss of life confirmed all the pre-conceived ideas of German brutality but what has not been revealed till now is the far-reaching international political and social repercussions of this act of aggression.
In Britain anti-German propaganda reached fever pitch and forced PM 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 of intervention on the side of the Triple Entente, while in Germany the U-Boat captain was initially hailed a hero before being court-martialled after the international outcry. And there are still question-marks a hundred years on. Why was the ship 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 and much more did the First Lord of the Admiralty, one Winston S. Churchill, know? This new book on one the great enigmas of the Great War brings together new research and evidence to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding this great sea tragedy.