How Lusitania Led to USA’s Involvement in World War I

The 1915 sinking of the Lusitania is less well-known than the notorious Titanic disaster three years earlier, but the Lusitania is, in some ways more significant. Like the Titanic, the Lusitania was massive, luxurious and fast. In its homeport of Liverpool, “Lusi” was launched at a time when safe air flights were a dream, and ocean travel was the way to go. The Lusitania, which was named after a Roman province that stretched across Portugal and parts of Spain, carried passengers traveling across the North Atlantic.


Captain William Thomas Turner next to The Lusitania. Photo by Granger, Shutterstock / Stuart Clarke, Shutterstock

But, on May 7, 1915, the luxury liner was sunk by a German torpedo off the Irish coast. The ship was clearly not as invincible as it was deemed to be. Of the 1,959 passengers on board, 1,198 perished (128 of them were American citizens). Tragedy aside, the Lusitania disaster set off a chain of events that brought the US into World War I.

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