~ 1st German Version Sinking Of The Lusitania Commemorative Cast Alloy Medallion ~
This is the original first version German medallion with the (incorrect) 5th of May (Mai) date.
~ The Medallions History ~
Shortly after 2.10pm on Friday 7 May 1915, in fine clear weather off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, the Cunard liner Lusitania was hit by a torpedo. It was struck without warning and sank in under twenty minutes. Of the nearly 2,000 passengers on board, 1,201 men, women and children were lost, including 128 American citizens. The German submarine which fired the torpedo, U20, circled the sinking ship and then fled the scene, reaching its base at Wilhelmshaven on 13 May.
Karl Goetz (1875-1950), a Munich-based medallist, regarded the event as stemming directly from the bewildering irresponsibility of the British Government and the Cunard Steamship Company in allowing the return of the liner from New York to Liverpool at a time of intense U-boat activity. Goetz was obviously satisfied that every effort had been made by the German authorities in the USA to emphasise the risks involved. These risks could have only increased given the doubtful status of the vessel. The Lusitania had been entered in the Admiralty fleet register as an armed auxiliary cruiser, and whether or not the hull of the vessel was a legitimate military target, the liner was carrying rifle cartridges and shrapnel shell cases. Moreover, unrestricted submarine warfare was, since February 1915, the Germans formally announced countermeasure to the British naval blockade of Germany.
Content with the justice of Germany’s cause, Goetz cast a satirical medallion, which mocked the Allied obsession with ‘business’ and derided the supposed impartiality of the USA . However, he made a serious mistake within its detailed contents. He got the date of the sinking wrong – the medallion carried the date ‘5. MAI 1915’.
This resulted in a propaganda war with the British issuing another version of the medal with the correct date.
(Source: Imperial War Museum)
~ Condition ~
The medal is in good order with light tarnishing.
~ Dimensions ~
The medallion is 5.5 cm (2.1 inches) in diameter.