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The Titanic

The Passing Show: Censured

In the May Socialist Standard was reprinted part of an article on the Titanic disaster from the May 1912, issue. It recalled some of the unsavoury details of the tragedy—the desperate rush (in order to attract the rich transatlantic passengers) to break speed records for the crossing, which resulted in an insufficient look-out being kept; the much higher proportion of first-class than steerage passengers rescued; the officer who kept steerage passengers from the lifeboat with his revolver; and so on. Now another significant piece of evidence has come to light.

Letters

Barmy Lammy

Dear Editors

In the March Greasy Pole – Baby David Speaks – Ivan wrote a witty and perceptive account about the August Riots and Tottenham's MP David Lammy.

The Titanic Disaster 100 Years On

This April will witness the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Many words will be written in the capitalist media about the disaster, but what of the class aspects of the tragedy and has anything really changed in the last century?

The Titanic came into being purely for the speedy conveyance of the rich and wealthy classes between Britain and the US. Opulence and luxury were the watchwords of her design and construction, rather than safety. Designed around class division and reflecting the extremes of wealth and poverty in Edwardian Britain, the vessel featured Turkish baths, gymnasiums, electric lifts, ballrooms, dining rooms, a swimming pool and a library for the first class passengers – all designed to attract the wealthiest clients and secure the biggest returns for the investors in White Star Lines.

The Titanic: Who Was To Blame?

Seven days after the Titanic settled at the bottom of the Atlantic the first of the enquiries charged with answering questions, exposing negligence and apportioning blame, got under way in New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel. Central to the enquiry would be the questioning of Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line, who had been on the Titanic throughout its first and last voyage. In the chair was William Alden Smith United States Senator for the state of Michigan, whose opposition to alcohol drove him to try to prove that the Titanic's captain and other officers had been drinking when the ship hit the iceberg. Smith's questioning was resented by the officers for its ignorant bluster; for example his asking Fifth Officer Lowe what an iceberg was made of (“Ice, I suppose, sir” was Lowe's answer).

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