The Titanic - Why Did People Believe Titanic Was Unsinkable?
It seems incredible to us today that anyone could believe that 70,000 tonnes of steel could be unsinkable, but that was exactly what people in 1912 believed. The information on this page will seek to look at some of the reasons why people at the time had that belief.
The shipbuilders Harland and Wolff insist that the Titanic was never advertised as an unsinkable ship. They claim that the 'unsinkable' myth was the result of people's interpretations of articles in the Irish News and the Shipbuilder magazine. They also claim that the myth grew after the disaster.
Yet, when the New York office of the White Star Line was informed that Titanic was in trouble, White Star Line Vice President P.A.S. Franklin announced " We place absolute confidence in the Titanic. We believe the boat is unsinkable." By the time Franklin spoke those words Titanic was at the bottom of the ocean. It would seem that the White Star Line President was also influenced by the 'myth'.
It is difficult to discover exactly where or when the term 'unsinkable' was first used. Listed below are some possibilities.
An extract from a White Star Line publicity brochure produced in 1910 for the twin ships Olympic and Titanic which states ??these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable. Some sources state that this wording was used on an advertising flyer while others point to an illustrated brochure. The White Star Line insist that the words used in the publicity brochure (shown above) only point to Titanic's being designed to be unsinkable, not that it was claimed to be unsinkable.
On June 1, 1911, the Irish News and Belfast Morning News contained a report on the launching of Titanic's hull. The article described the system of watertight compartments and electronic watertight doors and concluded that Titanic was practically unsinkable.
In 1911, Shipbuilder magazine published an article on the White Star Line's sister ships Titanic and Olympic. The article described the construction of the ship and concluded that Titanic was practically unsinkable.
"God himself could not sink this ship!" This quotation, made famous by Cameron's film, is reputed to have been the answer given by a deck hand when asked if Titanic was really unsinkable.
Whatever the origin of the belief, there is no doubt that people did believe Titanic to be unsinkable.
Passenger Margaret Devaney said "I took passage on the Titanic for I thought it would be a safe steamship and I had heard it could not sink."
Another passenger, Thomson Beattie, wrote home "We are changing ships and coming home in a new unsinkable boat."
It was the beginning of the twentieth century and people had absolute faith in new science and technology. They believed that science in the twentieth century could and would provide answers to solve all problems.
The sinking of the 'unsinkable' Titanic shattered much confidence in science and made people more sceptical about such fantastic claims.
Spying became an integral part of the Cold War. Both sides went out of their way to acquire as much knowledge as they could about each other. While Hollywood has romanticized the whole image of espionage, the real thing is far from romantic. It is a dangerous cat and mouse game that typically results in torture, prison, or execution if caught by the opposing team.
During the Cold War, spies had to prepare... Read More
The seafaring Vikings were a group of people that came from the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They made an enduring name for themselves through the 8th and 11th century for being tactical warriors, smart traders, and daring explorers. In fact, they arrived in America way before Columbus ever did, and archeologists have found some of their remnants scattered as far East as Russia.
... Read More
The Middle Ages is full of historical myths. Many historians blame this on the rise of Humanism and the Renaissance movement that appeared in the early Modern Period. Both of these cultural shifts encouraged society to look back at Medieval times in disgust. Gothic architecture from the Middle Ages was abandoned in the beginning of the Modern era, and replaced by classic Greek and Roman architecture. In other... Read More
1. The First Thanksgiving
What they told you: Escaping religious prosecution, the pilgrims left England on sailboats and landed on Plymouth Rock, barely surviving their first winter. With the graceful help of a nearby Indian tribe, who taught the settlers how to fish and hunt the land, the early colonists succeeded in establishing a foothold in the vast North American Wilderness. Thus, the pilgrims held their... Read More
How World War II Began
World War II was one of the most destructive conflicts in all of human history. More than forty-six million civilians and soldiers died, many in cruel and horrifying circumstances that lasted for years. The majority of them were unknown faces, lost in time and history, and only recognized by the people who loved them. Their lives, culture, and livelihood were swept away from one day to... Read More