RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner, holder of the Blue Riband and briefly the world's biggest ship. She was launched by the Cunard Line in 1907, at a time of fierce competition for the North Atlantic trade.
As German shipping lines tended to monopolise the lucrative passage of continental emigrants, Cunard responded by trying to outdo them for speed, capacity and luxury. The Lusitania was fitted with revolutionary new turbine engines, able to maintain a speed of 25 knots. Equipped with lifts, wireless telegraph and electric light, she provided 50% more passenger space than any other ship, and the First Class decks were noted for their sumptuous furnishings.
On the outbreak of war in 1914, she was commandeered by the Admiralty as an armed cruiser, but proved unsuitable in this role, and was allowed to resume passenger services on condition that she carried government cargoes. When she left New York for Liverpool on what would be her final voyage on May 1st 1915, submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around Great Britain (which still included Ireland) to be a war-zone, and Germans in America had been specifically warned by their embassy not to sail in the Lusitania.
On the afternoon of May 7th, the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 11 miles off the Southern coast of Ireland, and sank in just 18 minutes with a loss of 1198 lives. The loss of 128 Americans among the dead helped to stimulate anti-German sentiment in the USA, leading eventually to its own declaration of war several years later. Although denied by the British at the time, recent underwater explorations have proved that the ship was carrying war munitions, and was thus a legitimate military target in terms of the laws of the day.

Film Duration: 84 min