The RMS Lusitania

Tragedy on the Atlantic, May 7, 1915
Free tutorial
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 (76 ratings)
5,536 students
3hr 38min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

understand the interesting origins of the Lusitania, and the dual function of the ship during the Great War as both passenger liner and as a transport for munitions to England.
appreciate the aesthetic design and features of the Lusitania for its saloon, 2nd and 3rd class passengers.
describe the effect that the sinking of the Titanic had upon the history of the Lusitania.
describe how the Great War changed the use and purpose of the Lusitania.
discuss some of the Lusitania passengers and their stories.
describe the German U-boat U20, its commander, and features and capabilities.
summarize the events surrounding the attack and sinking of the Lusitania.
discuss the rescue efforts of others, and of the people of Queenstown.
compare and contrast the responses of the Americans, Germans, and British to the sinking of the Lusitania.
summarize some of the major efforts to explore the underwater wreck of the Lusitania.
compare the two main views of the second explosion on the Lusitania.
relate how the Lusitania story came into music, drama, and art during those years.


  • Students just need the ability to view and hear video recordings.


This course on the RMS Lusitania was created to memorialize the 100th anniversary of the sinking of this ocean liner on May 7, 1915. In 25 video lectures, lasting almost four hours, this course will survey the complete history of the Lusitania. Included are class notes, quizzes, and extra links to videos or articles.

The Lusitania went into service as one of the largest, most luxurious, and fastest liners. It transported saloon class, second class, and third class passengers between New York and Liverpool, England.

However, when the Great War began, the Lusitania was used by the British government and Royal Navy to transport munitions from the United States to England, while still functioning as a passenger liner. This course will describe the tensions from performing both of these roles, as well as the German outrage over the munitions supplies being shipped.

The course will focus especially on that last voyage, including the stories of some of the passengers. The lectures will combine the accounts of the U20 German U-boat and the Lusitania, as well as the decisions and actions of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic concerning the ship. After the successful U-boat attack upon the Lusitania, the lectures will focus upon the crew and passengers and their efforts to save themselves and their loved ones. We will also look at the rescuers, and the significant efforts of the people of Queenstown, Ireland.

The lectures will cover both the immediate and long-term aftermath, including various inquiries held to assign responsibility, as well as underwater explorations of the Lusitania site. The course will end with an epilogue, conclusions, and a last lecture concerning the memory of the Lusitania from 1915 to 1917, when the United States entered the Great War.

Welcome aboard this course!

Who this course is for:

  • This course is for persons High School age and up.


Professor of history
Gerald Franz
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 2,040 Reviews
  • 24,718 Students
  • 9 Courses

      Dr. Franz has been teaching history for 34 years in various colleges, and sometimes to high school students.  He has written a number of historical dramas for his history students, and after one season's performance, he received a letter of commendation from former president George Bush, Sr. for making history alive to students today.  He has also taken history students on a number of field trips to various important historical locations.  He hopes to continue putting short history courses on Udemy in order to share his favorite historical events.  He currently teaches many online history courses for various universities, along with various live classes in his area. 

    He has been married since 1983 to Wendy, and they have a son and daughter, both adults.  In their spare time, they love to walk, jog, swim, and ride their bikes. 

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