Chapter

The Dawn of the <i>Lusitania</i>

Matthew S. Seligmann

in The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199574032
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741432 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574032.003.0004
The Dawn of the Lusitania

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In 1902 the British government lent the Cunard Company money to build two fast transatlantic liners. It is often assumed that it did this out of fears of American competition, but an entirely different motive existed. Most of the world's fastest passenger vessels were German. This was a source of alarm in the Admiralty, where it was feared that this gave the German government a potent weapon for attacking British trade. When armed and manned by trained naval personnel, these liners would be fast enough to catch any British cargo vessel, but too rapid to be caught themselves by the cruisers of the Royal Navy. The only known antidote to this threat was to build British liners that were even faster than their potential German opponents. Hence, in 1902, the navy pushed for the construction of the ships that became the Lusitania and Mauretania.

Keywords: Cunard; Lusitania; Mauretania; transatlantic liners

Chapter.  10511 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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