- Museum number
Cast iron, a replica of the "Lusitania" medal. (whole)
People standing in line to purchase tickets from a skeleton behind ticket booth. (reverse)
Image of the ship Lusitania sinking. (obverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 55 millimetres
Thickness: 4 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Jones 1990
The Lusitania medal, 1915
Very large numbers of such medals were sold in Britain and the United States during the first World War accompanied by a label which read:
'An exact replica of the medal which was designed in Germany and distributed to commemorate the sinking of the 'Lusitania'. This indicates the true feeling the Warlords endeavour to stimulate and is proof positive that such crimes are not merely regarded favourably, but given every encouragement in the land of Kultur.'
The 'Lusitania' was sunk by a German submarine on May 7th 1915. She had on board at the time 1,951 passengers and crew of whom 1,198 perished.
It was even alleged that the mistaken date on the medal (5 May for 7 May) proved that the Germans had planned to commemorate the event in advance. In fact, the medal proved nothing about the attitude of the German government since it was produced on the private initiative of the satirical medallist Karl Goetz, and was suppressed by the government as soon as it became aware of the medal's existence. Even Goetz himself was not glorying in loss of life but seeking to excuse it on the grounds that the Lusitania had been carrying arms (it had) and that the passengers were warned of the danger in advertisements placed in American newspapers.
Literature: P. Dutton, 'Notes on some medals inspired by the sinking of the Lusitania', Imperial War Museum Review 1 (1986), pp. 30-42.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Sinking of the Lusitania 1915
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number