Monday, April 23, 2012

The Tragedy of the Titanic: A to Z Blogging Challenge

What lessons can we learn from the Titanic Tragedy...did anything good come of it?

The luxury liner was a 46,000 gross ton floating city, deemed "unsinkable" by its architect and the White Star Line.  The Titanic was complete with Ritz-worthy dining rooms, 3 elevators, a grand staircase, and Turkish Baths. Ironically, what it lacked was more important: enough lifeboats for all aboard.

Was it the absence of a disaster drill, the inattention to iceberg warnings, or tempting the Almighty with the boast that "not even God Himself could sink this ship" that caused the Titanic's demise?

One thing was for certain: the vessel's fate had already been decided.  Events worked against them from the start:

Photo: Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS


-they had heeded any of the six iceberg warnings...

-Ice conditions had been normal...

-they had seen the iceberg 15 sec sooner or later (the ship swerved so hard it cut a long gash across its side)...

-the Bulkhead airtight decks were built one level higher...

-the Californian, only 10 miles away, had come to their rescue, and not ignored the SOS call and flares...

-the Titanic provided enough life boats (there were 1178 with 2207 passengers on board)...

-a drill had been performed for all the passengers and crew before beginning their overseas journey...

Then...the majority of passengers could have saved!

Photo: Ralph White/CORBIS

Even after the Titanic hit the massive iceberg that cold April evening, men in first class continued to smoke, drink and play cards.. believing the vessel was "unsinkable".  Even staff and those in charge made light of it for a while, and moved slowly towards preparation.  

Unbelievable Facts:

-Many passengers still expected to reach NY, even after lifeboats were being lowered.

-The ladies in partially filled life boats, #2 and #5, listen to the cries of those in the icy sea as they rowed away...determined to save themselves!

-One boat, #6, in which the ladies (including the "unsinkable" Molly Brown) had requested to return to aid those in the water, were refused by the quartermaster manning their boat.

-Of 1600 people that went down, only 13 were picked up by the 18 lifeboats nearby.

-The cry was "Women and Children First," but some cowardly men took their seats in the lifeboats.  Gone is the era of chivalry, when men would protect and give their lives for those under their care.

-In the end, most of the first class women and children were saved, but fewer of the second class, and even less from steerage.  

The Carpathia was 48 miles and 4 hours away...they heard the distress call, and answered.  The decision was made to cut the heat and hot water, so the steam could be saved to propel the vessel full speed ahead.  The staff fully prepare their ship to be a floating, hot drinks, brandy, blankets, restoratives, stimulants, etc.

One iceberg after another was dodged as they headed for the survivors.

Chief Steward Hughes made a speech: "Every man to his post and let him do his full duty like a true Englishman.  If the situation calls for it, let us add another glorious page to British history." (With an attitude like that, no wonder their Empire spread across the entire world!)

What good came of this tragedy?  From this time forth:

-It was the end of class distinction in filling the lifeboats

-24 hour radio watch was instituted

-SOS messages were taken seriously

-Lifeboats were required for everyone on board

-Drills instituted before departure

-Start of the International Ice Patrol...watching for icebergs that threatened the ships.

The past 100 years were those of industrial and financial were too sure of themselves.  Titanic 'lowered the curtain' for opulent living...taxes, depression and then the war brought it to a halt.


A Night to Remember

"A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord   book and movie...much more accurate than "Titanic 3-D; sorry folks!

The Sinking of the Titanic (Commemorative Edition)

"The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters" edited by Logan Marshall

Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner

"Last Dinner on the Titanic" by Archbold and McCauley

Links to Websites/Blogs about the Titanic:

100th Anniversary Celebration of the Titanic: Women and Children First

Titanic Artifacts, Exhibits and Memorials across the USA

Video of the Titanic 100th Anniversary Ladies Tea in Branson, Mo.

Photos of the sunken ship from BBC
Ghostly remains

Forbes warning to "Fast Moving Firms" as it relates to the Titanic

Greg Ward's Website: "The Rough Guide to the Titanic"

Just For Fun....

Titanic Interactive "Game"

Titanic in Texas

From what you know of the disaster, which "if only" disturbs you the most?  Would you have been able to leave all behind?


  1. Ahaan that was a very informative post
    I have read many things about titanic but here got to know something more new
    Great post

    1. Thank you so much...I am thrilled when others learn something new! It must be the teacher in me...

  2. Thanks for this thorough and very readable post about the Titanic, Jarm.

    I guess for me the ignoring of the six iceberg warnings.... isn't the most incredible.... THIS was evidence, and not the same as setting off and feeling invincible thus ignoring any lifeboat drill!! I confess I can't understand this.

    I loved reading more about the Carpathia and their attitude!

    1. Yes, Joanna...there was no excuse for many of the "ifs"! Much of it we will never understand, other than the fact that one should never tempt God! Thanks for your insights...I think the Carpathia and its crew were the heroes...

  3. Tough questions! I think "if only the Californian would have come to their rescue" disturbs me the most. To answer the second question, I can't even imagine getting on a lifeboat with my daughter and leaving my husband and sons on the ship. That's why we're still so fascinated with the stories of those who showed such strength of character when everything seemed so hopeless. Thanks for encouraging me to consider these things today...there are still good lessons to be learned from this tragic event.

    1. Yes, Daisy...those men showed strength of character in a time of trial. I'm glad we can still learn, as you say, from this tragedy. Somehow, it eases the pain...

  4. The not enough life boats -if. The boat was a big city. Did they think the possible would never happen? What were they thinking- or were they?

    Yes - unless it was my child; I would have had to stay;other wise I could have easily left anything material behind.

    1. We see material possessions in a different light when we review the events of that day, don't we? People, not possessions, are paramount. Thanks for pointing this out, Betty!

  5. My husband always wondered why they didn't climb onto an iceberg and wait to be rescued there? I'm guessing that there probably wasn't enough surface area for something like that. Anyway, wonderful post!

    1. I would have assumed that the temperature of the iceberg would have been colder than the water, and would have lowered their body temp...and yes, there probably would not be enough flat areas. Thanks for your comments, Cathy!

  6. Wow! Lots of information. The world remains fascinated by this tragedy.

    Mary Montague Sikes

    1. Yes, Monti...the fascination lives on even after 100 years. And man continues to make poor choices! Thanks for stopping by...

  7. Life is full of so many ifs, isn't it? My mother still goes over the day she fell and broke her hip, when her life was never the same again. Oh, if she'd only never gone out to dinner, if she hadn't requested outdoor seating...the ifs. If only they could be changed.

  8. Yes, I could go crazy, Sandra, just wishing I hadn't done something. But them, I try to realize that's what God wanted for me at that particular time, and that He will work all things out for good someday! Thanks for stopping by....

  9. Great post! Thank you. The ship not responding to the SOS and the lack of lifeboats disturb me most. The latter I knew about; the former I did not, which makes it even more shocking to me now.

    With all the events in the cruising industry today, you could draw some noteworthy comparisons and contrasts.

    1. Yes, you could make comparisons. And I agree...the Californian not responding was one of the most unsettling and heart wrenching pieces of the puzzle! Thanks for your insightful comments...

  10. I've always been fascinated with the Titanic. Very good post! Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you found it interesting, Dusty...thanks for stopping by...

  11. It really was a tragedy on so many levels. And it's a shame it takes a tragedy for changes to be made. It's a fascinating part of history though.

    1. It seems at times that it does take a tragedy to change what is wrong and make it right. But, I'm sure that thousands of lives have been saved since then, because of the laws that have been set into motion. Thanks for your observations, Lynda!


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