the "Lusitania",

On May 7th 1915 Commander Schweiger of the German navy was patrolling in the submarine U-20 off the southern coast of Ireland. Three months earlier on February 4th the Germans, unwilling to challenge Allied superiority on the surface, had established a submarine blockade around the UK and had declared any vessel in it a legitimate target.

At about 1.40p.m. Schweiger saw through his periscope a vessel approaching. Closer inspection identified it as Cunard's "Lusitania" on the final leg of its passage from New York to Liverpool. Seeing it as a "legitimate target" and after only initial hesitation he released two torpedoes, the first of which scored a direct hit. Within a mere 20 minutes the great liner sank along with almost 1200 of its passengers and crew, including the former Marplites.

The repercussions of this act of gross inhumanity were enormous. Amongst the innocent victims were 128 American citizens, this caused a great outcry in the United States. The German response was to claim that they had given clear warning that the area in which the ship was sunk was a war zone. They also claimed that they had irrefutable proof that the ship was carrying war material from the Americans to the British. Winston Churchill, who was then British First Sea Lord, admitted to the presence of a small
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