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The Sinking of the Lusitania In the early part of the twentieth century the only way to traverse the Atlantic was by ocean liner It was a time of fierce competition between rival lineswith passengers expecting not only a speedy crossing but luxurious accommodations as well In 1903 Lord Inverclyde created the Cunard Line Construction soon began on two fast and luxurious liners that were to challenge the German vessels that had held the Blue Riband since 1897 The resulting sisterships RMS Lusitania and RMS Mauretania would be a firm reassertion of British supremacy at sea Launched at the River Clyde in June 16 1906 RMS Lusitania was a grand ship and the first of the two sister ships to be launched At 785 feet in length and 31550 gross tons she took the title of largest liner afloat Her maiden voyage took place September 7 1907 and in October 1907 she recaptured the coveted Blue Riband from the German liner Deutschland which Britain had failed to obtain since the industrialization of Germany The construction of Lusitania was financed by generous loans from the British government In return for the generous loans the Admiralty could requisition Lusitania or her sister in times of war This would be key in the demise of the Lusitania World War I would eventually erupt During the war the Allies blockaded Germany preventing them from receiving any supplies food or munitions This led to Germanys development of a new weapon called the U-boat or submarine as we now know it This would allow the Germans to form a counter blockade as well as sink all these unsuspecting ships with out getting caught The Lusitania left New York harbor on May 1 1915 nobody was expecting the tragedy that was soon to occur Although a warning against Americans boarding British ships signed by the Imperial German Embassy had appeared in the morning papers on the day the vessel was scheduled
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