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100 years ago: The Lusitania is sunk

15 May 2015

May 14th, 1915

IN RECORDING the latest of German barbarities, the sinking of the Cunard liner Lusitania and the drowning of nearly 1,200 passengers and crew, we perceive the uselessness of trying to bring home to the guilty perpetrators a sense of shame. The whole world that still honours the higher instincts of humanity is horrified at the deed, but the Germans, after nine months of self-exclusion from the pale of civilization, glory in it. Berlin has sung paeans, and the German Navy exults in this fresh addition to its laurels. Words would be wasted there, and they are not needed elsewhere. Naturally, all eyes are turned towards the United States Government, which has yet to show how it will carry out its announced intention to hold Germany to "strict accountability" for the murder of any American citizen. So far, while the tide of indignation is rising throughout the Union, the President has taken no step beyond that of addressing a meeting of 4,000 newly naturalized Americans, giving them to understand that his Government, while maintaining peaceful relations with Germany, would try to make her see the seriousness of her offence. He is reported to have said: "There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right."

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