Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Paul Bookbinder

Second Advisor

Vincent Cannato

Third Advisor

Spencer Di Scala


The last voyage of the RMS Lusitania is examined. The Cunard liner left New York for Liverpool on May 1, 1915 as the conflict in Europe began to escalate. The research separates the act of war from the actions of the ship's command and control infrastructure and the seamanship of its crew. This distinction is made under a thesis that more lives could have and should have been saved. The central question of the research was therefore: to what extent should the captain and crew of RMS Lusitania be held to account for the elevated loss of life in the hostile sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915 and to what degree did this singular tragedy influence American public opinion toward the War.