Ninety-three years after the fact, a team of divers discover that the Lusitania – the fastest liner in the North Atlantic – was indeed carrying American-made munitions to aide the British war effort.
For those who don’t know, the sinking of the Lusitania is considered the event which brought the United States of America into World War One on the side of the British, an act that tipped the war in favour of the Allies.
Germans have all along insisted that the Lusitania was being used as a weapons ship, and sunk it. The sinking of what the British then called a passenger ship helped fire anti-German sentiment at home and left the Americans little choice but to openly declare their support for the Allies.
Winston Churchill, who was first Lord of the Admiralty and has long been suspected of knowing more about the circumstances of the attack than he let on in public, wrote in a confidential letter shortly before the sinking that some German submarine attacks were to be welcomed.
He is quoted as having said said: ‘It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the U.S. with Germany. For our part we want the traffic – the more the better and if some of it gets into trouble, better still.’