Secret of the Lusitania: Arms find challenges Allied claims it was solely a passenger ship
By Sam Greenhill
But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania on its final journey in May 1915.
Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military target.
The Cunard vessel, steaming from New York to Liverpool, was sunk eight miles off the Irish coast by a U-boat.
Maintaining that the Lusitania was solely a passenger vessel, the British quickly accused the ‘Pirate Hun’ of
The disaster was used to whip up anti-German anger, especially in the U.S., where 128 of the 1,198 victims came from.
A hundred of the dead were children, many of them under two.
Robert Lansing, the U.S. secretary of state, later wrote that the sinking gave him the ‘conviction we would ultimately become the ally of Britain’.
Americans were even told, falsely, that German children were given a day off school to celebrate the sinking of the Lusitania.
The disaster inspired a multitude of recruitment posters demanding vengeance for the victims.
One, famously showing a young mother slipping below the waves with her baby, carried the simple slogan ‘Enlist’.
Two years later, the Americans joined the Allies as an associated power - a decision that turned the war decisively against Germany.
The diving team estimates that around four million rounds of U.S.-manufactured Remington .303 bullets lie in the Lusitania’s hold at a depth of 300ft.