This paper will be about the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. Some people call this sinking the greatest maritime disaster. It wasn’t just the fact that the ship sank, but also all the different circumstances that caused this ship to sink and take so many lives.
In the time period of 1900’s-1915’s many things happened. One major disaster was the sinking of the Titanic. The information will be gathered from the library, a documentary film, the Internet and personal books. From these resources the paper will explain about how the Titanic sank, some of the people who were on the ship and how it was found after over 70 years at the bottom of the Atlantic. People who read this paper should learn about the history of the Titanic.
The Titanic was originally designed to have three funnels, but four were used to make it look better. The fourth funnel was actually just an air vent. The main dining room was supposed to have a large dome but it was changed to a normal ceiling. The staircase was enlarged so it fanned out at the landing of each deck, as well as adding a large glass dome above it. Also, two extra elevators were added making a total of four. “She was the most beautiful ship afloat. No ship will ever resemble her class and luxury.” (“R.M.S Internet”)
The R.M.S. Titanic was believed to be unsinkable. Bruce Ismay was the White Star Line chairman on the Titanic; he told the captain that the ship was unsinkable because the ship could have any four watertight compartments damaged and still stay afloat. He also believed that anything big enough to sink this ship, could be seen from miles away and be avoided. Mr. Ismay said, ” Not even god himself could sink this ship.” (“Titanic” Internet)
Originally the plan called for 64 lifeboats but only 20 lifeboats were used. There were 14 wood lifeboats that could hold 65 people each. Two woodcutters that could hold 40 people each and four collapsible boats that could hold 40 people each. These lifeboats would only be able to hold about half of the passengers in an emergency. ( Internet)
Knowing the lifeboats would only be able to hold about half of the passenger’s, crewmembers still only filled some of the boats with less then 30 people. These boats were half EMPTY; many of the boats were launched this way and caused many more people to lose their lives that night. ( Internet)
It was believed that the other 44 lifeboats were taken off to make more room. At that time there was no rule on how many lifeboats were needed on a ship. After the sinking, there were rules made on how many lifeboats a certain ship would have to carry. (Internet)
About four years before the Titanic was even a thought, an author wrote about a huge ship, exactly like the Titanic. He wrote that on the ships maiden voyage it struck an iceberg and sank, killing thousands of people. The name of this ship that the author wrote about was called the “Titan.” Many people think that the Titanic was doomed before it even set sail for New York City. As the Titanic moved through the harbor, a huge displacement of water caused the steamer New York to snap its mooring lines and the New York began to slide towards the Titanic but tugboats moved the ship away before any damage could be done. On the way to Cherbourg, France, there was a fire in boiler room number 5. All these things happened before the ship picked up any passengers. (“R.M.S.”Internet)
There were three classes of people aboard the Titanic. The Upper class, mostly rich, business owners, aboard the ship just to say they were on the maiden voyage. The Middle class, the people who could not afford the Upper class tickets. They were mostly small to medium business owners who were on vacation just to say they were on the Titanic, then there was the Third class passengers. These were immigrants who were coming to America for a better life. These passengers most likely used all the money they had to get a ticket to a better country. These people were treated like nobodies; they were given small rooms, poor food service and were not aloud where the Upper class passengers were. Bruce Imslay said, “The richest and most prominent people are on this ship.” Because of this attitude, the Third class passengers were not allowed to get into the lifeboats until it was too late and the boats were filled, so most of the Third class passengers died. (“Titanic” Internet)
The Titanic received many ice warnings from several other ships. Believing that the ship was “unsinkable”, most of the warnings were ignored and many of them did not even make it to the bridge to inform the captain. Thinking the Titanic was unsinkable, Bruce Ismay told Captain Smith to raise the speed of the Titanic so that they could break the record for crossing the Atlantic. (Internet)
The date was April 14,1912. There was no moon, brisk wind, and practically no waves at all. This made it very hard to spot icebergs. Usually you can see the waves hitting the berg but there were no waves. There was no moon to help light the icebergs. In a captain view, it was the worst conditions possible for a ship to be steaming through an ice field. (“R.M.S.” Internet)
It was about 11:30 P.M. when the look out first spotted a dark object in the distance. Realizing it was an iceberg he immediately called the bridge and said, “Iceberg right ahead!” The Officer in charge tried to turn the ship and slow it down but it was too late. The ship struck the iceberg on the port side. The iceberg made many small punctures in the steel across a large amount of the ship. Contrary to what people thought, the iceberg did not make a gashing hole in the ship, but instead made many small punctures in the steel across a large amount of the ship. (“Titanic” Internet)
When news traveled about the iceberg, not many people thought anything of it. Most people just continued on as if nothing happened. People did not realize that the ship was going to sink and there was nothing they could do about it. People also did not realize that there were not enough lifeboats for them to get into and that meant death. The water was below freezing; the human body could only stay in this water for about 10 minutes before hypothermia sets in and then death. (Ballard “How” 710)
Thomas Andrews came running to the bridge with the plans to the Titanic. He threw the Titanic’s plan on the table and told Captain Smith that five watertight compartments have been damaged. Andrews said, “She can stay afloat with any four compartments breached, but not five, not five.” “The Titanic will flounder.” (697)
“How long does she have?” asked Captain Smith. “An hour, two at most.” Responded Thomas Andrews. The Titanic began to sink by the bow. All the water was rushing into the front of the ship and made the stern go in the air. People were falling off the boat, things were breaking and the ship just kept rising, until the pressure was too much and the ship finally broke into two. The bow sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean and disappeared. The stern settled back into the water and for a few minutes floated, until it also began to sink. It a few minutes the stern of the Titanic was vertical with the water. Then as the air slowly escaped from the hull and it slide into the ocean and rested more them 12,500 feet below sea level in the Atlantic Ocean. (Ballard “Long” 712)
In 1985, a joint French-American expedition under Dr. Robert Ballard found the wreck of the Titanic. After over 73 years lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, Robert Ballard was the first person to see the R.M.S. Titanic since the doomed night in April 1912. He had these comments on his first look at this ship. “I cannot believe my eyes. From the abyss two and a half miles beneath the sea, the bow of a great vessel emerges in ghostly detail. It was my lifelong dream to find the Titanic. But I must admit, I am a bit sad we found her. We now know her true fate and it is now a petty one. She is no longer the beautiful lady she once was.” ( 702)
Some of the major reasons that Titanic sank were the mistakes that people made, bad luck, and the steel. Robert Ballard notes, “The steel was too brittle and shattered on impact. To make today’s steel this brittle the water temperature would have to be -60 degrees to -70 degrees.” If there were enough lifeboats, less people would have died, the ship would have still sank but far less lives would have been lost. If the steel was not so brittle and bend instead of fracturing, it could have stayed afloat. If the conditions weren’t how they were, then they could have seen the iceberg earlier and avoided it. There are a lot of “ifs” in this story of the Titanic. Maybe if just one factor had gone differently this could have been avoided. If they had taken the ice warnings and slowed down or if instead of avoiding the iceberg altogether, if the captain had thought about it, he would had realized that she could have hit the berg straight on, broken maybe one or two compartments, but she still would have been able to crawl back to port. So many things could have prevented this horrible disaster but they didn’t and we should remember the people who lost their lives that fateful night in April. (Ballard “How” 699)
The Titanic is a final resting place for thousands of souls. Some people think that they should raise the Titanic so that they could explore it and study it. I think they should leave it where it is, out of respect at least. People lost their lives on this ship and deserve a place to spend their time. Not only will they disrespect the dead, but also by raising the ship, they will disrupt everything. Once the steel hits the oxygen, it will begin to corrode. After awhile, there will be no Titanic left at all and just so they could study it. ” The Titanic surely should never be raised, it is a cemetery to all those who lost their lives that nite.”(Ballard “Long” 708)
Ballard, Robert D. “How We Found Titanic.” National Geographic (December 1985): 696-718.
Ballard, Robert D. “A Long Last Look at Titanic.” National Geographic(December 1989): 698-727.
“R.M.S. Titanicthe story told.” Internet. http://www.titanic.cc/titanic.htm. (4 Feb. 2001).
“The Titanic Tragedy.” Internet. http://www.angelfire.com/ct/titanickateleo/page11.html. (4 Feb. 2001).