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Dead Wake
The enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania by #1 New York Times...
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Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

Created: 03/20/16

Replies: 21

Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking of such a prominent ship would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?


Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 48

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

It certainly seems as though that was the case. They did not notify the Captain of incidents, of route changes, and of intelligence reports that suggested the Lusitania was in much more danger than the Captain and crew suspected. Having the United States enter the war would provide Britain with a significant ally. But if they hoped to draw the U.S. into the war by allowing a passenger ship, with so many Americans aboard, to be sunk, I find that horrifying.


Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
meredithk

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 27

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I would like to give Churchill the benefit of doubt. I think because of miscommunication between the different agencies crucial information wasn't forthcoming which led to the sinking but I pray that it wasn't a conscious decision on Churchill's part.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 35

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I thought about this question when reading Dead Wake as I had recently read another account of the sinking of the Lusitania (thank you BookBrowse for both books). In both books, the answer is murky. Was Churchill fully informed of what was happening while he was traveling? Hard to know. I waver - sometimes I think it was a deliberate decision in order to bring the US into the war, other times, I think that war is confusing and maybe it was general confusion that allowed the events to transpire. I wonder if we'll ever know the answer.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I think that Larson led his readers a bit toward that conclusion, however, I kind of doubt there was an overt attempt to draw the US into the war. There was a lot going on simultaneously - the Admiralty was protecting many ships at the time, including troop transports and supply ships, plus Room 40 was constantly intercepting & decoding transmissions. I think the fact that most considered it so unthinkable that a sub would sink a passenger ship played into the decision as well.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
linz

Join Date: 08/12/15

Posts: 38

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I think its hard to be sure. I think Larsen would like us to agree with him, but at the time, communications were not what they are today. Too many agencies had too much to say. Churchill wanted the US in the war, with that I can agree. But to sacrifice innocent civilians to force the issue? I sure hope not!


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

Yeah, Linz, that's also a great point about the communications/information not being what they are today, adding to the confusion.


Posted Mar. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
wendyf

Join Date: 05/11/11

Posts: 20

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I think this very well could be the case. This tragedy may have been strategy for Churchill as difficult as that is to believe. The world continues to sacrifice lives for power and prestige.


Posted Mar. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Silly Lotus

Join Date: 10/07/15

Posts: 11

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I certainly hope not. And i think the fact that the US did not enter the war for another two years (right?) shows that the Lusitania was not the trigger that I had believed prior to reading the book. The fact that the story is still a horror suggests that the idea of a sub deliberately sinking a passenger ship is and was, as noted above, unthinkable..


Posted Mar. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 24

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

This book was the first time I had ever heard this theory and I found it shocking. In war it is difficult to know in absolute terms what result a particular move may have but if it is true that he knowingly avoided protecting the Lusitania in order to encourage the U.S. to join the war it diminishes Churchill in a significant way.


Posted Mar. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosienick

Join Date: 03/20/16

Posts: 14

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I refuse to believe that this is the case. However, it was a huge mistake not to have protection for the Lusitania...with so many passengers and munitions on board. It does seem strange that destroyers were not sent to accompany her to her final destination, but I can't believe that Churchill would purposely put this ship in danger when most of the passengers were not Americans. Just a tragic oversight!


Posted Mar. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 70

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

Such a complex issue for there to be a simple answer. I agree that we'll never know the answer. But I doubt that Churchill had that single intention, though he secretly might have hoped that it would happen.


Posted Mar. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

We'll never know for sure. I read this book with my in-person book club at the local library. We spent a lot of time debating this very question. The consensus of the group was that it's plausible that Churchill would make this deliberate choice, and Larson tries to lead us to that conclusion, but that we hoped not!


Posted Mar. 27, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 35

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I think that might have played a small role, but if it was the main goal it wasn't particularly successful. It took the US a couple more years to really enter the war. I think it was more about not tipping their hand that they had succeeded in cracking Germany's code and were intercepting messages.


Posted Mar. 27, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 99

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

It's difficult to disagree with this concept given the protection given to other ships in that area and the lack of protection provided to the Lusitainia. It's a hard nut to swallow, as the old saying goes, but given the facts swallow it I must. Yes, they did not want the Germans to know that they had captured their secret codes, but at the cost of so many innocent deaths? And those not of servicemen who signed up knowing the risks, but of men, women and children who had no military ties????


Posted Mar. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorianbc

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 25

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I would also like to hope that there was no deliberate choice made to not protect the Lusitania. Perhaps rather than a specific choice to not protect the ship, it was a genuine mistake. Did Churchill ever address this publicly?


Posted Mar. 31, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 71

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

My parents certainly believed that was the case and they and their parents were alive during the time. My Dad was 14 and my Mom was 16. Britain was almost a goner by the time we entered the war and both of my parents often said, were it not for the US, the Germans would have won.


Posted Apr. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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mojogirl

Join Date: 02/20/16

Posts: 5

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I believe there's too much meat to his theory to cast it off as miscommunication. Churchill was a bad***. No doubt. The main agendas of getting the US to join the war and the utmost secrecy of Room 40 being kept are compelling. How many horrific acts have been committed in times of war to procure a desired outcome?

I have a hard time with all those warnings Room 40 intercepted at the end of April re: amped up U-boat activity. All those warnings and *nothing*. I don't see how sending an escort would have compromised Room 40's existence, so why wasn't one sent? Wasn't that a standard practice then?

I felt she was abandoned. All that intelligence, why didn't they reroute her? Even Schwieger, (before taking aim), thought it was crazy that the ship wasn't sent through the North Channel. If sinking the Lusitania was simply a means to an end, it has to be one of the most monstrous acts ever committed!

However, despite the conspiracies, there IS a tiny part of me that leans in the direction that everything just fell into place and it just "happened" to be in the wrong (worst) place at the wrong time. What with the unexpected transfer of the Cameronia's passengers and Turner's niece being on board indeed changing the departure time. So MANY things came into play. The delay, the fourth boiler room being shut down, the fog, it's like an episode of Final Destination. You can't escape your fate!


Posted Apr. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

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RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

I believe this to be true. Sacrifices will be made of people and property when it comes to war. Churchill was a pretty calculating leader and knew what he was doing. This was not a little fishing trawler or unimportant freighter.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 35

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

From what Larson said, it's also not clear whether Turner actually received the information that would have sent him through the North Channel. There were so many crossed wires, miscommunications (possibly intended, possibly not), and missteps that if this were a movie we might be tempted to call it unrealistic. But you can't make this stuff up. Truth can be stranger than fiction.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marym

Join Date: 08/13/14

Posts: 12

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

It is quite possible that Churchill withheld protection for the Lusitania in hopes that it would be attacked by a U Boat and thus bring the US to join in the war. Britain needed our considerable resources if they were to defeat Germany just as they would need us to join in WWII. Given the desperation of the time I would not be at all surprised if Churchill felt the means justified the end.


Posted Apr. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenbrinkley

Join Date: 04/05/16

Posts: 2

RE: Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson's account, what do you think of this theory?

The speculation about Churchill's thoughts bothered me greatly while reading Dead Wake. I am sure that his actions were recorded accurately, but we can never know exactly what he was thinking. If he did withhold protection of the Lusitania in order to provoke US involvement in the war I am truly disappointed in one of my favorite heroes of the Twentieth Century.


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