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slaytonf

Doesn't anyone want to talk about World War I?

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The recent Ken Burns documentary of The Roosevelts  highlighted how much T.R. agitated for the U.S. to actively participate in WW1 right from its start in 1914. This was not a popular view with the American public at the time and that issue helped derail any thoughts that T.R. may have had for another presidential run in 1916.  And all 4 Roosevelt sons actively joined in the military and eventually they all saw action when the U.S. finally entered the war in 1917.  One son was killed and a second severely wounded.  T.R. may have had a sense of guilt for so aggressively encouraging his sons to go to war   ( he certainly grieved terribly over the death of son Quentin) and that despair may have contributed to his own death soon after.

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I can't understand the change from Military Channel to American Heroes Channel either.  I certainly wouldn't consider gangsters and street toughs as 'heroes' either.  That must have been an interesting production meeting when this idea was introduced.  Because of it, I seldom watch the channel anymore.  H2 is far more interesting on most days than History Channel itself, for that matter.

 

 

Once in awhile they show something interesting. Mostly its reruns about the Nazis and such. But they did run a series on WWI I'd never seen..........

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I thought we really had some interesting discussion on this thread. We can chronologically follow the events of the war as we acknowledge the 100th anniversary of those  events that took place. I just caught a glimpse of a show about the sinking of the British liner LUSITANIA  (May 7th, 1915).  There  were a lot of other things happening around this time period (100 years ago), and the war would shortly widen to involve more countries.  Americans were outraged about the LUSITANIA sinking and the deaths of over 100 Americans, but few were willing to actually get involved in the war, at least not yet.

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For such an iconic event/image, we know so very little about it, and it's role in leading the U. S. into war.  We have Tora! Tora! Tora! for World War II, are there any movies that have the sinking of the Lusitania as a major part of it's theme?

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I don't know of any movies that pertain to the LUSITANIA; there seems to be a tendency to link the LUSITANIA to the TITANIC in twilight zone type of  tv episodes (  with never any mention of the 3rd great liner tragedy of the era, the EMPRESS OF IRELAND) . Of course the circumstances  of the TITANIC and the LUSITANIA  sinkings   are about as far apart as can be. As has already been noted the LUSITANIA  sinking itself did little to draw America into the war, that  would take another  2 years to happen. But there were constant reminders made of that incident to  help sway American public opinion towards the British and the other Allied nations.  If America was  ever going to get involved in this war there was little doubt which side would be supported.

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Read: "DEAD WAKE: THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA" By Erik Larson.  This book just came out in 2015.  I highly recommend this informative book.

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I can never quite understand the thinking of any of the civilian passengers (Americans or any others) in traveling on a ship flying the flag of a country that was currently at war and also a ship that would be traveling directly into an area where that war was being fought. There were ships of neutral nations that were sailing in those waters, I would have booked passage on one of those ships at least. These nations in Europe were fighting an ugly all out no holds barred war. Anyone who thinks that there are civilized rules of conduct in fighting a war and depend on those rules always being followed is very naïve or plain stupid. If the British expected the LUSITANIA to be regarded as a non combatant  ship that ship should have been flagged under a neutral nation with officers and crew from neutral nations. Under those conditions it would have been less suspect of carrying any war related material.  But obviously the ship was intended to carry war supplies as well as passengers and was openly flying the British flag. The British government  took the risks of combat and failed to properly escort the ship to prevent any attack. Very unfortunate that so many innocent people were on board and put at risk, but those people had to understand the risks that they were taking and the potential consequences.

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I don't think of WWI as such a pivotal point after reading more about it - it seems, sadly, like an awful eventuality.

 

Richard J. Evans wrote a solid trilogy starting with THE COMING OF THE THIRD REICH which delves back to some of the Big Lies that politicized newspapers fomented in the last 40 years of the 19th Century, and the caldron was bubbling more and more with each of those.  And this is just within the first 75 pages of that book.

 

Barbara Tuchman's A PROUD TOWER is even more indictful of the preceding decades, where she focuses on 5 personalities and social movements from the 1860s forward. 

 

So much of these 'crucible moments' highlight the faster exchange of information - the explosion of Big Lies that newspapers could use to increase their circulation which exploited the increased literacy.

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So much of these 'crucible moments' highlight the faster exchange of information - the explosion of Big Lies that newspapers could use to increase their circulation which exploited the increased literacy.

 

So in essence Ollie, perhaps the very beginnings of that old saw: "A little bit of learning is a dangerous thing"??? ;)

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I can never quite understand the thinking of any of the civilian passengers (Americans or any others) in traveling on a ship flying the flag of a country that was currently at war and also a ship that would be traveling directly into an area where that war was being fought. There were ships of neutral nations that were sailing in those waters, I would have booked passage on one of those ships at least. These nations in Europe were fighting an ugly all out no holds barred war. Anyone who thinks that there are civilized rules of conduct in fighting a war and depend on those rules always being followed is very naïve or plain stupid. If the British expected the LUSITANIA to be regarded as a non combatant  ship that ship should have been flagged under a neutral nation with officers and crew from neutral nations. Under those conditions it would have been less suspect of carrying any war related material.  But obviously the ship was intended to carry war supplies as well as passengers and was openly flying the British flag. The British government  took the risks of combat and failed to properly escort the ship to prevent any attack. Very unfortunate that so many innocent people were on board and put at risk, but those people had to understand the risks that they were taking and the potential consequences.

 

So as I understand it, the British wanted to smuggle arms into the country under the cover of a passenger liner.  Did the Germans know, or suspect the subterfuge?  Or did they go after anything with a British flag on it?

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For such an iconic event/image, we know so very little about it, and it's role in leading the U. S. into war.  We have Tora! Tora! Tora! for World War II, are there any movies that have the sinking of the Lusitania as a major part of it's theme?

 

Doesn't appear that anyone knows of any, Slayton.

 

 

Sepiatone

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So as I understand it, the British wanted to smuggle arms into the country under the cover of a passenger liner.  Did the Germans know, or suspect the subterfuge?  Or did they go after anything with a British flag on it?

Get or buy (like I did) Erik Larson's "Dead Wake: The last Crossing of the Lusitania".  A great deal is explained and a lot of questions raised that the British still refuse to answer a century later.  There are other excellent history books on the submarine and surface ship warfare of WW1.  There was a lot of "propaganda" put forth by the Brits and other of their allies that was often very untrue and designed to simply incite war hatred towards the Central Powers ("The Huns") by any means and hopefully by the neutral-until-1917 United States. 

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So as I understand it, the British wanted to smuggle arms into the country under the cover of a passenger liner.  Did the Germans know, or suspect the subterfuge?  Or did they go after anything with a British flag on it?

I would say that in time of war anything goes. As the war progresses both sides are going to get more desperate in their actions. They will take risks that earlier may have seemed too high. The German submarine warfare was taking a heavy  toll on British shipping, the British then started to arm their merchant ships, some vessels that were normally  merchant ships were heavily armed and manned by military crews specifically to trap and destroy U boats. If a U boat surfaced to stop a ship and warn it of an attack (to humanly give the crew a chance to abandon the ship before it was sunk) the U boat was then vulnerable to being destroyed itself.  So submarines had no choice but to remain submerged and attack without warning. Under those circumstances I think a U boat commander had little option but to site a vessel, determine if it was an enemy (British or other Allied ship) and then act.  It was  to be expected that a British ship like LUSITANIA was carrying some amount of war related cargo. So  LUSITANIA was fair game, the fact that civilian passengers were on board was a risk that the British government and those people were willing to take.  Sad but true, in time of war anything goes.  

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Get or buy (like I did) Erik Larson's "Dead Wake: The last Crossing of the Lusitania".  A great deal is explained and a lot of questions raised that the British still refuse to answer a century later.  There are other excellent history books on the submarine and surface ship warfare of WW1.  There was a lot of "propaganda" put forth by the Brits and other of their allies that was often very untrue and designed to simply incite war hatred towards the Central Powers ("The Huns") by any means and hopefully by the neutral-until-1917 United States. 

 

RR, why am I thinking I've heard something fairly recently which said some sort of "proof" had recently been discovered that the Lusitania had indeed been transporting war material?

 

(...or am I just imagining this?)

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Doesn't appear that anyone knows of any, Slayton.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Yes, from what I can see, the event only figures tangentially in movies.

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RR, why am I thinking I've heard something fairly recently which said some sort of "proof" had recently been discovered that the Lusitania had indeed been transporting war material?

 

(...or am I just imagining this?)

There is some very interesting stuff in the Wikipedia site about the munitions the Lusitania WAS carrying and discovered amongst the wreckage.

What I didn't know is that there is still a lot of unexploded depth charges amongst the wreckage which is evidence that the British government subsequently tried to destroy the wreck as much as possible to eliminate said military cargo evidence.

Very curious.  Yet another conspiracy by a government!

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For such an iconic event/image, we know so very little about it, and it's role in leading the U. S. into war.  We have Tora! Tora! Tora! for World War II, are there any movies that have the sinking of the Lusitania as a major part of it's theme?

 

There is a scene in Yankee Doodle Dandy where Cohan learns of the Lusitania's sinking and Cagney very dramatically says something like 'Well, this changes everything". And then... Nothing happens.

 

Maybe that's why the Lusitania never had a big movie. The US would not enter the war until 2  years later.

 

If you're a fan of song classics like "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes",  "Old Man River", and "The Way You Look Tonight", be grateful for faulty alarm clocks. Jerome Kern was supposed to be on the Lusitania, but overslept and missed the boat. This incident is depicted in 'Til The Clouds Roll By, but embellished with Kern frantically racing to the dock in a taxi just as the ship pulls out.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/8-famous-people-who-missed-the-lusitania-49564938/?all

 

Toscanini, Isadora Duncan, and William "Sherlock Holmes" Gillette also missed the boat. Theatrical agent William Morris -- he of the namesake agency -- not only missed the Lusitania but the Titanic as well.

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Unless I missed it, there has been no mention of a film which combines the subject of this thread with the focus of this forum:

 

0WoAZ9H.jpg

 

 

This is an episode from Kevin Brownlow's history of American silent film, Hollywood, which happens to be my favorite documentary series, on any subject. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1970s, it features interviews with survivors of the era, including (for this episode) screenwriter Anita Loos, Jesse L. Lasky Jr and choreographer Agnes DeMille, Cecil's niece (the latter two were children at the time of WWI, and Loos, although an active screenwriter, wasn't much older).

 

The film not only looks at how the war affected Hollywood's residents and the pictures they made, but also makes a bigger point: WWI was the major factor in establishing America as the world wide leader in film production, through the destruction of the industries of its competitors.

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RR, why am I thinking I've heard something fairly recently which said some sort of "proof" had recently been discovered that the Lusitania had indeed been transporting war material?

 

(...or am I just imagining this?)

Yes, the L. was carrying a large quantity of ammunition made in America bound for Britain and the war.  Horrendous as the loss of life and sinking of a passenger liner was,  the Lusitania was indeed a legitimate war target for the Germans.  The Germans had issued full page newspaper warnings in America before the ship sailed and which only a few heeded.  The tragedy of war. 

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There is some very interesting stuff in the Wikipedia site about the munitions the Lusitania WAS carrying and discovered amongst the wreckage.

What I didn't know is that there is still a lot of unexploded depth charges amongst the wreckage which is evidence that the British government subsequently tried to destroy the wreck as much as possible to eliminate said military cargo evidence.

Very curious.  Yet another conspiracy by a government!

There is a very good possibility that traces of depth charges and mines around the wreckage of the LUSITANIA is from the Second World War.  Surface ships tracking submarines in these waters may have even confused the wreckage with the presence of a sub.

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Boy oh boy! Gotta say It sure sounds like you guys are makin' a whole lot o' excuses for those HUNS, here!!!!

 

What NEXT? Maybe claiming "The Prince of Darkness", namely Joe Lucas, supplied all the electrical wringing for the Lusitania, and thus causing a spontaneous and wide-spread fire on board that doomed ocean liner and which in turn being the REAL reason for her sinking????

 

(...wait...I suppose that COULD have happened, huh...sorry...never mind) 

 

;)

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Boy oh boy! Gotta say It sure sounds like you guys are makin' a whole lot o' excuses...

;)

Yeah... what amazes me was that the Belgiums - after having villages slaughtered wholesale by the Kaiser's opening-week soldiers allowed the Kaiser to neighboring to The Netherlands.  The Kaiser spent some of the War in Spa, Belgium, too, and wasn't assassinated.  I suppose when "there are no living witnesses", he could get away with things like that. 

 

And when his Chancellor Hollweg drafted up reparation demands in 1915 - assuming they'd win the war - their stated reparations were far worse than the eventual Versailles Treaty was, along with massive territorial demands into Persia, Finland, Denmark and France.  Of course, Ludendorff, who engineered the final two years' collapse himself, knew all of these full values when he started the Big Lie about the "stab in the back" in 1919.  "Stabbing in the front", "cleaned and gutted" should have been his own confession.  Too bad more than one corporal believed his big lie.

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Please don't misunderstand my recent comments. I'm not trying to make either side the villain here.  Its just to review what happened with the LUSITANIA and put it in a  proper prospective. In the U.S. we have learned  history from our biased side of things. But in fairness, the LUSITANIA sinking was not quite the terrible atrocity  we have been taught.  The loss of life was tragic, but so was that whole stupid war. Many ships were sunk and many lives were lost. But the sinking of that ship, one of the most famous in the world,  made great headlines. And the story was so slanted to sway public opinion in America. Its somewhat reminiscent of the sinking of the MAINE in Havana harbor and blaming the Spanish government. Right from the start there was strong evidence that the explosion on the MAINE was really an accident that happened on the ship itself. But some people (like Teddy Roosevelt) wanted a war and they got one by playing up the story as an act of Spanish aggression.  Ironically there are similarities to the explosion on the MAINE and the violent second explosion that doomed the LUSITANIA. The volatility of the coal used for fuel  on the ships and the presence of stored munitions was a deadly combination. Of course the LUSITANIA's fate was determined by an enemy torpedo in time of war.

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The loss of so many civilian lives is a great tragedy.  I can't imagine any amount of munitions that could mitigate to any extent it's torpedoing.  Even if the ship were entirely filled with weaponry, with no passengers whatsoever, they could not have made any measurable difference in the war.  How much less significant with hundreds of passengers and a clandestine cargo?

 

One thing intrigues me.  The sinking of the Lusitania is popularly remembered at the event that brought America into the war, yet it has been noted there was a two-year gap.  How has it come to be regarded so?  And what did finally get America to go over there?

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Well said, Mr.R.

 

My previous posting's intent was of course to just poke a little fun at a particular British gentleman of the past and his wares, and who anyone that's ever owned a British car or motorcycle will "affectionately" refer to as "The Prince of Darkness".

 

And, your USS Maine-RMS Lusitania correlation and the whole propaganda machine which kicked in after their various sinkings was of course also well observed I believe, and something I had thought of earlier myself.

 

(...but you know me, "comedy before pathos" is always my byword, and so I went with the whole "Prince of Darkness" thing instead!) ;)

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