November we will feature blogs about World War I and World War II. We are kicking off November with the docu-drama Sinking of the Lusitania: Terror at Sea. This docu-drama was produced in 2007. It kicks off with the narration of Professor Ian Holbourn, one of the survivors of the Lusitania sinking. He was a second-class passenger and made friends with a young lady Avis Dolphin.
Germany unleashed the U-boat onto the world during World War I and it proved to be a deadly weapon. They were an underwater weapon. The British attempted to starve Germany into surrender, an illegal action at the time. The rules were being re-written. The British Admiralty did not take these weapons too seriously. However, they too report on U-Boat activity around the British Isles.
The First Lord of the Admiralty was Winston Churchill, he did not take it too seriously. He wanted to encourage neutral shipping into British waters. If one of these ships were sunk, especially if an American ship or American casualties were involved it could draw the United States into the War. Holbourn speculates that passenger liners could be targeted. He had been on a lecture tour of America and was coming home.
Lusitania was about to set sail in May 1915 when a notice appeared in the newspaper: “Notice! Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk. Imperial German Embassy Washington, D.C., 22 April 1915.”
The Lusitania was the British Flagship liner. The Germans would not sink a ship full of innocent people. Alfred Vanderbilt is being interviewed by journalists. He dismisses the warning as scaremongering by the Germans. A family is also about to board the ship. The mother is worried about boarding the ship. However, they would not get money their money back if they did not board it.
Captain Turner signs off on a shipment of munitions and assures the passengers that the Admiralty will look after them. They cite the size and speed of the ship. The Admiralty also receives the warning Lusitania got. The Admiralty dismisses the warning. The Lusitania sets sail with 2,000 souls on board.
At the same time, U-20 was making its way to the Irish Sea. Their travels are interrupted when they get a destroyer in their sights. They dive to avoid the destroyer. There is one young sailor who seems reluctant to be a part of the war effort. After avoiding the destroyer, they make their way to the Irish Sea.
The British Admiralty is listening in on the messages between U-20 and Germany. They know that the U-20 is heading to the Irish Sea. The Admiralty advises not to tell the Lusitania about U-20 since the ship is 100’s of miles away.
During the voyage, the passengers get used to life onboard the ship. It is here Professor Holbourn meets up with Avis Dolphin. They would become lifelong friends.
Continue to watch to see what happens. The Sinking of the Lusitania: Terror at Sea is a fascinating docu-drama. It is nice to finally see something involving the Lusitania. Titanic has been overdone. Both Germany and England produced this documentary. Show clips of this documentary or show the whole thing in a class. It is a good docu-drama to show in class.
You can access the YouTube video here.
This is the last of my suggested YouTube Video series. This final section will cover the early 1900s to the Present Day. I hope that I have provided a wide variety of suggestions for your classroom. These videos could be shown when there is a teacher in the room or a substitute teacher in the classroom.
Lost Liners - YouTube
This documentary features Bob Ballard exploring his career as an oceanographer. He discusses the Titanic and Lusitania and learns about the Empress of Ireland. He talks about the Titanic’s discovery and the problems it caused. Then he talks about the mystery of Lusitania’s sinking. Finally, he visits the Empress of Ireland as his last ocean liner. He visits the Empress of Ireland with a descendant of one of the passengers. *Highly recommended for a middle school and high school classroom. This documentary can be broken up into sections.*
Waking the Titanic - YouTube
Fourteen young people from one small town in Ireland made their way to America, on board the Titanic. They traveled together in a group to keep each other safe. Only 3 survived the trip. The deaths of 11 young people deeply scarred the town they grew up in. Narrated by the actor who played Branson on Downton Abbey. This docu-drama offers a different perspective on the Titanic by sharing the story of ordinary people. *Highly recommended for an elementary school, middle school, and high school classroom. Recommended for a substitute teacher to show.*
Women Who Made History - Sophie Scholl - YouTube
Sophie School was a resistance fighter during World War II. Initially, she had joined the Hitler Youth. Her father was not pleased with this. She loved music, boys, dancing, and alcohol. Sophie and her siblings were arrested for listening to music. Sophie was surprised that the government would arrest and imprison children. This is a German-produced documentary with English voiceovers. *Highly recommend for middle school and high school classrooms.*
Anne Frank & Eva Schloss: Tale of Two Sisters - YouTube
Holocaust documentary, this documentary is about Anne Frank and her step-sister Eva Schloss. Their stories ran parallel to each other, their families both fled Germany when Hitler came to power, both settled in the Netherlands, they met each other young, both ended up in concentration camps. Anne died, Eva survived. Eva shares the story of the diary and her memories of the Holocaust. *Recommended for a high school classroom. Recommended for an independent study student.*
World's Deadliest Sea Disaster - YouTube
The Wilhelm Gustloff was a ship that was sunk in the Baltic towards the end of World War II, taking with her 10,000+ souls. It was the deadliest shipwreck in history. The survivors come together to tell their survival story. This can also be used in a computer science class as they determined the number of people who died in the wreck by using computer simulations. *Recommended for a history classroom as well as for research purposes.*
*Wartime Farm: YouTube
Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn, and Alex Langladas as well as new team member Henry live as farmers facing the conditions of World War II. Goodman, Ginn, and Langladas startup with setting up the farm for war conditions, planting the fields, and trying their hand at recycling. They deal with rationing. They also take in war refugees, participate in home defense and welcome the Americans. *Highly recommended for both middle school and high school history and agricultural classrooms. Highly recommend it for independent study students and clips.*
Chernobyl: 35 Years After - YouTube
The disaster at Chernobyl happened on April 26, 1986. It was the worse nuclear disaster in world history. It still haunts the Ukrainian people to this day. This documentary is about a group of survivors who returned to Prypiat. They discuss their experiences and their feelings about the disaster. Some have broken their silence for the first time. This documentary is German-produced with English translations. *Highly recommend for both high school and middle school classrooms and independent study students.*
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