One of the most ironic things about the voyage was that on the day of sailing, the New York newspapers published both an advertisement announcing the sailing of the Lusitania and a notice that any Americans traveling through the waters of the Irish Sea near the south coast of Ireland were traveling at their own risk. This was based on a warning put out by the German Embassy in Washington about their plans to destroy enemy and neutral vessels approaching Britain. Now we don't know if the Captain or the crew or any passengers were aware of it, but we do know that due to shipping being disrupted by torpedo attacks while they were underway, the British Admiralty warned the Lusitania to either stay out of those shipping lanes or at least run a zigzag pattern. The Captain of the Lusitania chose to ignore the message.
Shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon of May 7th, the Lusitania shuddered under a direct hit from a German torpedo. The initial explosion was dwarfed not long thereafter by a major explosion, likely of the ship's boilers and sank within twenty minutes. Over eleven hundred on board out of more than nineteen hundred present perished that day as the Lusitania went to her grave off Ireland. It was also learned that the passenger liner was carrying over one hundred and fifty tons of munitions for the British and the Germans noted that in their report. America claimed foul and Germany issued a formal apology for the deaths of so many, saying they would cease attacks on vessels not providing war support for Britain.
In November of 1915, Germany violated their own commitment with the sinking of an Italian liner and loss of over two hundred and seventy on board, including twenty-seven Americans. American public opinion began a slow swing from neutrality to active support of Britain and over a year later, in late January 1917, the United States suspended diplomatic relations with Germany. In response, Germany sank an American liner, the Housatamic, mere days later and the preparations for war began. On April 4, 1917, following Congressional approval, America was declared to be at war with Germany.
Sadly, the war that began being dubbed as the war to end all wars was anything but as only a generation later America was in another World War, one that would make World War I look small by comparison. Germany and Japan, two very different cultures yet using each other to help their own ambitions, became our enemy on two different fronts at once. That we survived and won that struggle was truly epic, but also truly destructive and it points to the reality that when evil people push their grandiose schemes of self-glory to the extreme, coupled with politicians often responding to the emotions of the day with an added fervor, usually precludes any alternative to all out war. And sadly, it's not the dictators and tyrants, nor the politicians, who play the major price, for the common folk are always the ones who lose the most in mortal combat.
Yet, in a case of radical extremism and violent pillage, plunder and loss of humanity, a case which was present then and in many places is so today, it's inescapable that the fight must ensue. So, we all need to pray that mankind at all levels of power, value and worth can find ways to turn from evil to goodness. That way is only possible with help from the always ready and available open arms of He who made us all, but unless all are willing to open their hearts to the truth and the light, war will continue on this planet until our Lord returns to earth to govern it Himself. In the meantime, remember the past and work for the best with an open heart and a loving soul. Only when those efforts fail should we ever consider the horrors of war. Sometimes in a world filled with much animosity and hate, war is meant to be and it must be waged.