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eMedals-United Kingdom. An RMS Lusitania Propaganda Medal

Item: GB6734

United Kingdom. An RMS Lusitania Propaganda Medal

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United Kingdom. An RMS Lusitania Propaganda Medal

Constructed of magnetic iron, obverse illustrating the stricken liner sinking, her stern submerged to left while her ram-shaped bow, laden with armaments, rises clear of the water (an image contradicting eyewitness accounts which stated that the ship went down bow first, the shape of the bow being a reference to the configuration of warships of the period and possibly a reminder that the British Admiralty had ordered merchant vessels to attempt to ram German submarines), smoke billowing from the vessel's four funnels, inscribed "KEINE BANN WARE!" (NO CONTRABAND GOODS!) above and "DER GROSS DAMPFER LUSITANIA DURCH EIN DEUTSCHES TAUCHBOOT VERSENKT 5. MAY 1915" (THE LINER LUSITANIA SUNK BY A GERMAN SUBMARINE 5 MAY 1915”) below, reverse illustrating Death in the form of a skeleton, behind the ticket office counter of the Cunard Line in New York, issuing tickets to a crush of passengers, sign above the window inscribed "CUNA LINIE" (CUNARD LINE), arranged vertically down the right side of the window is the word "CUNARD" and below the counter "FAHRKARTEN AUSGABE" (TICKET OFFICE), at the extreme left of the crowd a man reads a newspaper bearing the headline "U BOOT GEFAHR" (“U-BOAT DANGER”) and standing next to him is a top-hatted and bearded figure, a representation of the German Ambassador to the USA, Count Johann-Heinrich von Bernstorff raising a warning finger, inscribed "GESCHÄFT ÜBER ALLES" (“BUSINESS ABOVE ALL”) above and the initials of the designer, "KG" for Karl Goetz, below the feet of the crowd, very high relief, measuring 55 mm in diameter, accompanied by its period original case of issue, constructed of cardboard, obverse with depiction of the RMS Lusitania with inscription of its fate, of two piece construction, with a slotted white felt medal bed, measuring 81 mm (w) x 81 mm (l), accompanied by a paper insert with description of fate of ship and alleged German propaganda efforts, measuring 180 mm (w) x 243 mm (h), in extremely fine condition.

 

Footnote: The original Lusitania Medal was designed in August 1915 by German artist Karl Goetz, satirizing Cunard Lines and the British government for their perceived recklessness in continuing to allow passenger ships to operate in the Atlantic during wartime. While the Lusitania was sunk on May 7th, Goetz inscribed May 5th in error, which was interpreted by many Britons and Americans that the sinking was premeditated. The British, seeking to exploit American outrage over the event in order to draw the United States into the war, falsely claimed that not only was this the case, but that this medal was awarded to the U-Boat crew responsible for the sinking and began manufacturing forgeries to stoke anger. British copies of the medal, such as this one, are easily identifiable by their lack of umlauts in proper places, as well as the English spelling of “MAY”, as opposed to the German “MAI”.

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