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The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany$
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Matthew S. Seligmann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574032.001.0001

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The Dawn of the Lusitania

The Dawn of the Lusitania

Germany's Fighting Liners and the Cunard Agreement of July 1903

(p.46) 3 The Dawn of the Lusitania
The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914

Matthew S. Seligmann

Oxford University Press

In 1902 the British government lent the Cunard Company money to build two fast transatlantic liners. It is often assumed that it did this out of fears of American competition, but an entirely different motive existed. Most of the world's fastest passenger vessels were German. This was a source of alarm in the Admiralty, where it was feared that this gave the German government a potent weapon for attacking British trade. When armed and manned by trained naval personnel, these liners would be fast enough to catch any British cargo vessel, but too rapid to be caught themselves by the cruisers of the Royal Navy. The only known antidote to this threat was to build British liners that were even faster than their potential German opponents. Hence, in 1902, the navy pushed for the construction of the ships that became the Lusitania and Mauretania.

Keywords:   Cunard, Lusitania, Mauretania, transatlantic liners

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