RMS Titanic

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912
The Titanic departing
Southampton on April 10, 1912
Ship data
flag United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Service Flag at Sea) United Kingdom
Ship type Passenger steamer , liner
class Olympic class
Callsign MGY
home port Liverpool
Shipping company White Star Line
Shipyard Harland & Wolff , Belfast
Build number 401
Order August 1, 1908
Keel laying March 31, 1909
Launch May 31, 1911
Commissioning April 2, 1912
Whereabouts In on 15 April 1912 North Atlantic declined
Ship dimensions and crew
269.04 m ( Lüa )
259.08 m ( Lpp )
width 28.19 m
Draft Max. 10.54 m
displacement 53,147 t
measurement 46,329 GRT / 21,831 NRT
crew 897
Machine system
machine two four-cylinder steam engines ( triple compound steam engines ),
a low-pressure Parsons turbine
51,000 PS (37,510 kW)
21 kn (39 km / h)
propeller 3 propellers
Transport capacities
Load capacity 13,767 dw
Permitted number of passengers 750 First Class
550 Second Class
1100 Third Class
* Registration no. Builder: 131428
Width on frames: 28.04 m
Block coefficient 0.684
Prismatic coefficient 0.705
Rigging and rigging
Number of masts 2
Color drawing of the TITANIC
TITANIC - bow side starboard (1: 2 scale dummy in Branson, Missouri, USA, 2016)

The RMS Titanic ( English [ taɪˈtænɪk ]; the German pronunciation is also common) was a passenger ship of the British shipping company White Star Line . She was built in Belfast at the Harland & Wolff shipyard and was the largest ship in the world when it entered service on April 2, 1912 .

The second of three steamers of the Olympic class she was, as her two sister ships, Olympic and Britannic , for the North Atlantic - scheduled service on the route Southampton - Cherbourg - Queenstown - New York , New York- Plymouth provided -Cherbourg-Southampton and should new standards put in travel comfort.

On her maiden voyage, the Titanic collided with an iceberg on April 14, 1912 at around 11:40 p.m. about 300  nautical miles southeast of Newfoundland and sank two hours and 40 minutes later. Although more than two hours were available for the evacuation, 1514 of the over 2200 people on board were killed - mainly due to the insufficient number of lifeboats and the inexperience of the crew in handling them. Because of the high number of victims, the sinking of the Titanic is one of the largest and most famous catastrophes in shipping .

The sinking was the reason for numerous measures to improve safety at sea. On November 12, 1913, a conference was called to create an international minimum standard for the safety of merchant ships. The result of this conference in 1914 was the first version of the “ International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea ”. This included the adequate equipment with lifeboats, staffing of the radio stations around the clock and the establishment of the international ice patrol .

The Titanic is one of the most famous ships in history because of the circumstances associated with its sinking. To this day, literature , visual arts , film and television all over the world deal with the events of their maiden voyage and their downfall. The 1997 film of the same name attracted particular attention . Your name stands for serious accidents and the uncontrollability of nature through technical achievements.

The ship

The planning

In the years before the First World War , there was fierce competition between shipping companies. In 1907 , the Cunard Line provided the two turbine ships Lusitania and Mauretania , of which the Mauretania held the Blue Ribbon as the fastest ship on the transatlantic route Europe - New York for 22 years . When they began their service, they were the largest ships in the world with over 31,500  gross registered tons (GRT). The first 50,000-ton steamer, the Imperator , was launched in 1912 at the Hamburg Vulkan Werft from the stack . The three HAPAG ships of the Imperator class ( Imperator , Vaterland and Bismarck ) were only surpassed by Normandy (79,280 GRT) in 1935 .

Bruce Ismay , President of the White Star Line , and Lord William Pirrie , Director of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast , began planning the construction of three large passenger ships in the spring of 1907. They decided on a size of 45,000 GRT, which had not been reached before. The three Olympic-class ships were to cross the North Atlantic at a cruising speed of around 21  knots (approx. 39 km / h) and together make it possible to offer one passage each week in an easterly and westerly direction. Particular emphasis was placed on loading capacity, safety and comfort on board. The basic idea for the ships came from Lord Pirrie himself, the concrete design from the naval architects Alexander Carlisle , Thomas Andrews (a son of Pirrie's sister Eliza) and Edward Wilding.

The three ships were to be called Titanic , Olympic and Britannic . The focus was primarily on luxury in the first class and less on the cruising speed. The furnishings of the first class received elegant suites , magnificent smoking salons and dining rooms and a large promenade deck reserved for the first class. In the earlier " steerage -called" third class were sleeping passengers in tight cabins with up to four double and bunk beds and lounges were smaller and Spartan equipped. Nevertheless, the equipment of the third class, in which large dormitories instead of cabins had been the norm, exceeded all ships built so far. The second class of the Titanic corresponded roughly to the comfort of the first class of older passenger ships.

The construction

Construction phases of the Titanic
RMS Titanic ready for launch, 1911.jpg
Just before it was launched in 1911
Titanic launched at Belfast.jpg
After the launch
Titanic under construction.jpg
Completion of the superstructure (spring 1912)

15 weeks after the start of construction on the sister ship Olympic, the Titanic was laid down on March 31, 1909 . It had the registration number 131428 and the hull number 401 of the Harland & Wolff Ltd. in Belfast (then the province of Ulster in the United Kingdom ), which built almost all ships for the shipping company White Star Line .

On May 31, 1911, the launch of the Titanic took place, as is customary with White Star, without the ship being christened . Immediately afterwards, the fully equipped Olympic was handed over to the shipping company. As the third and last ship of this class, the Britannic was completed later. With a load capacity of over 13,000 tons and large cargo holds in six different departments, the ships were able to carry significant quantities of cargo. As a Royal Mail Ship (RMS), they also had a Royal Mail office for processing the mail they carried. The postal contracts offered the shipping company secure additional income.

The Titanic cost fully equipped approximately 1.5 million pounds Sterling (£). This corresponds to today's total of around £ 157 million.

Dimensions and technology

Longitudinal view of the Titanic
The Titanic in size comparison


Cross section of the ship

The Titanic was 269.04 meters long, 28.19 meters wide, 53.33 meters high (lower edge of keel to upper edge of chimney), had a 10.54 meter draft , a measurement of 46,329  gross registered tons , 39,380 tons of empty weight and 13,767 tons of deadweight .

Safety equipment

The safety equipment of the two sister ships was of particular interest. They were considered a miracle of technology and were described as "practically unsinkable " in the magazine The Shipbuilder in June 1911 due to the automatically closing water protection doors between the 16 watertight , partitionable compartments .


Stern of the Olympic under construction. The person at the bottom of the picture illustrates the proportions.

The Titanic had three propeller (propeller) and was 23 to 24 knots maximum speed and cruising speed 21 knots reach. The outer propellers with a diameter of 7 m and each 38 t were driven by four-cylinder piston steam engines with triple expansion and an indexed output of 15,000  hp (11  MW ) each. The exhaust steam from these machines was fed into a low-pressure Parsons turbine that drove the central propeller (5 m in diameter and around 25 t); this should produce 16,000 hp. In fact, the machines were more powerful than planned in the tests, so that the Titanic was registered with a total machine output of 51,000 hp. The maximum achievable drive power was around 60,000 hp. The Titanic consumed 620–640 tons of coal per day at sea , which could be burned in 29  boilers with a total of 159  furnaces . However, all boilers were never in operation at the same time. The bunkers held 6,700 tons of coal.

The four chimneys of the Titanic were about 19 feet high. The fourth chimney was not, however, a smoke outlet, but mainly served aesthetics: On the one hand, ships with four chimneys were very popular with naval architects, the media and ship travelers. On the other hand, it was used to ventilate the boiler and machine rooms as well as the kitchen rooms with the coal stoves. As a result, the Titanic needed significantly fewer fans on deck than comparable ships.

Electrics and appliances

The Titanic possessed one of the largest electrical networks of all ships of the time. Four steam-powered 400 kW - Generators delivered a combined maximum of 16,000  amperes at 100  volts . There was a 50-line telephone system with 1,500  bells to call for the stewards. 10,000 incandescent lamps lit the ship, some of them contained two filaments, one for brighter light and one for dim light at night, which should benefit nervous passengers . There were 48 clocks. 520 radiators provided heat in the cabins, while 76 of the 150 electric motors in the Titanic required ventilation. Electrical energy was used in many areas. The swimming pool was heated electrically, some pictures and signposts on board were lit and some gymnastics equipment ran on electricity. Many kitchen appliances were powered by electrical energy: in addition to roasting ovens and plate warmers, the ice cream machine, knife cleaners, potato peelers, dough mixers and meat grinders also needed electricity.

Kitchen equipment

The kitchen had the world's largest cooking zones at the time, each equipped with 19 ovens. Other furnishings included two large roasting ovens, steam ovens, pressure cookers, four silver grills, and electrical appliances for almost any purpose. The Titanic also carried 127,000 glasses, crockery and cutlery, including 29,700 plates, 18,500 glasses and cups and over 40,000 pieces of cutlery.

Radio technology

In January 1911, the Titanic was assigned the callsign MGY . The wireless technology was a relatively new communication technology . The innovative extinguishing spark transmitter from Marconi International Marine Communication Co. guaranteed a range of 350  nautical miles regardless of the atmospheric conditions , making it by far the most powerful radio of its time. The actual range was 400 miles, while at night it was often possible to receive and transmit up to a distance of 2000 miles. The magnetic detector , Marconi receiver, or "Maggy" for short, was a novelty at that time . The radio station was owned by the Marconi Society and was operated by their employees Jack Phillips and Harold Bride . Before the collision with the iceberg, you were very busy transmitting private telegrams from passengers. This contributed to the delayed or non-delivery of ice warnings to the ship's command on the bridge . Due to the sinking of the Titanic, the Radio Act of 1912 introduced legal regulations on marine radio .

Passenger area

The Titanic had been approved by the British authorities for 3,300 passengers plus the required crew. However, this possible passenger capacity was not fully used due to the equipment of the Titanic. There was space for 750 people in the first class, 550 people in the second class and 1,100 people in the third class. The Titanic thus offered space for a total of 2,400 passengers.

First class

Much of the Titanic's interior was used for first class. Almost the entire superstructure and a large part of the central hull were planned for it. The center of the first class was the large stairwell between the first and second chimneys of the ship, which connected a total of six decks (boat deck to E-deck). This staircase was one of the most elaborate and architecturally well-thought-out rooms on the ship: it was paneled with oak and a glass dome towered over it.

A second, similar staircase connected the A and C deck between the two rear chimneys. In addition to the stairs, there were three elevators for first-class passengers , which ran parallel to the front staircase and connected the A and E decks. The majority of the public rooms were on the A-deck, including a reading and writing salon, a spacious lounge, a particularly elegantly furnished smoking salon and two identically furnished veranda cafés. The first-class dining room was located on the D-deck. In 1912 it was the largest room on a ship with an area of ​​around 890 m². In addition to this room, first class passengers could also dine à la carte in Luigi Gatti's restaurant on the B-deck. In 1912 this culinary luxury on ships was something extraordinarily special. The “Café Parisien”, designed in the style of a French street café, was adjacent to the restaurant and was not installed on the Olympic until later. Another focal point of social life in the first class was the large reception salon on D-deck, which lay between the dining room and the large staircase. It served as a central place for the embarkation of the passengers and as a meeting point during the voyage; In addition, regular performances by the on-board musicians took place there. In terms of its function, this room - which at that time was only available in this type and size on ships of the Olympic class - corresponds to the large foyers on modern cruise ships .

First class facilities
Titanic gymnasium.jpg
Exercise room on the boat deck
Drawing of the Grand Staircase onboard the RMS Titanic from the 1912 promotional booklet.jpg
Large staircase between the boat deck and the D deck (here A deck)
Louis Seize-style luxury cabin B-58 (photography aboard Titanic)

Reception salon on D deck
Titanic A La Carte restaurant.jpg
"À la Carte" restaurant of the Italian-born chef Gaspare Gatti on the B-deck

A lavishly equipped Turkish bath and a 10 m by 4.3 m heated swimming pool (F deck, the largest pool of its time), a two-deck squash court (G and F deck) and a versatile gym (boat deck) rounded off the offer. All of these facilities were completely new at the time of the ship's maiden voyage. The White Star Line also set new standards in terms of size, equipment and sanitary facilities in the design of the passenger accommodation. The most luxurious accommodations on the ship were the two salon suites on the B deck, which included a private salon, two bedrooms, two dressing rooms and a bathroom, as well as a private, heated promenade deck of around 15 m in length, designed as a veranda . Most of the luxury cabins on the B and C deck, which were furnished in a wide variety of historicizing styles, also had connecting doors so that they could be connected to apartments of any size with attached bathrooms and toilets. Such possibilities were not available to this extent on any other ship at the time. The largest outside areas of the first class were on either side of the promenade deck on the A-deck and on the front half of the boat deck.

Unlike other contemporary shipping companies, the White Star Line attached great importance to a more intimate atmosphere and opportunities for individual passengers to retreat to the interior design of the First Class of the Olympic class. This should be particularly attractive to particularly prominent guests who shy away from too large a public. The two salon suites with the private promenade were supposed to represent the summit point, as they could be reached directly via a private entrance when embarking or disembarking without going through the reception areas on the B and D decks. Basically characteristic were the lack of excessive rooms, which were common on competing ships such as the RMS Lusitania or the German ships of the Kaiser class , and the installation of numerous niches and booths in the dining and lounge areas.

Second grade

The second class had significantly less space available, but the quality of the equipment and the service offered corresponded to that of the first class on smaller or older contemporary passenger ships. Their area was - unlike the first and third class - not distributed over the length of the ship, but its height and concentrated roughly in the area between the fourth chimney and the aft mast of the ship. In addition to a large, oak-paneled dining room on the D-deck, there was a lounge, also known as a library, and a smoking room. Two spacious staircases and an elevator connected the decks. The cabins - mostly designed for two or four people - had their own washbasin (partly made of marble), seating, luggage lockers and washbasins and thus corresponded in comfort to the cheaper category of first-class cabins on board. The rear half of the boat deck and an area two floors lower on the B-deck served as the outer deck.

Third grade

The third class (often called " steerage ") is included the deeper decks of the ship and the areas directly at the bow and stern of the Titanic. Although it was spartan compared to the other two classes , it still offered a level of comfort that was well above what many of the mostly almost destitute emigrants who mainly used this class were used to at home. While other contemporary ships mostly accommodated third-class passengers in huge dormitories, there were also six, four and two-bed cabins with washing facilities on the Titanic in addition to the 146 berths in common rooms (G deck). The generally accessible sanitary facilities offered some bathtubs. The third-class dining room was located amidships on the F-deck and was divided in two by a bulkhead. The other public rooms - a general lounge and a smoking room - were located at the very rear of the ship in the aft deck structure. Its roof and the areas of the aft and front corrugated decks were used as open spaces for third-class passengers.

Documentation of the interior

Due to the ship's short service life, there are very few known interior photos of the Titanic. While in Southampton, the ship was visited by several journalists who took photographs of some of the luxury staterooms on B-deck, the Parisien café and the starboard veranda café. Another series of pictures was taken by the Irish Jesuit Father Francis Browne, who got off the ship on the last stopover in Queenstown. He held z. B. the reading and writing salon of the 1st class, his cabin on the A-deck, the gym and the swimming pool in the picture. He also made the only known recordings of the first class dining room and the radio room of the Titanic, which were of inferior quality.

All other recordings shown again and again in books and documentaries, however, come from the sister ship Olympic. Although the equipment is basically identical, there is absolutely no certainty that the Titanic corresponded to these illustrations in all details in all aspects. There are uncertainties here, for example. B. in the furnishings of the dining room of the 1st class, which is said to have been equipped with an exceptionally splendid carpet on the Titanic, and in the execution of the banister trim of the large staircase in the 1st class.

Promenade decks

A very noticeable difference between the Titanic and the Olympic was the front half of the promenade on the A deck. Originally, it was supposed to be open on the side, like its sister ship, but then half of it was provided with weather protection shortly before completion. This consisted of a wall with small windows that ended in a rounding towards the middle of the ship, after which the deck was then open again at the sides. The Titanic had additional cabins and private promenades for the most expensive suites on the B-deck, while the B-deck of the Olympic had a completely weather-protected promenade.


Plan of the lifeboats. Top: portside (left, Portside), below: starboard (right, Starboard)
for the fraction. B. 40/65 shows the actual and intended occupancy with people.
The times indicate the time of departure or departure from the ship.

The uppermost deck, which was divided into areas for the first and second class, was used to accommodate the lifeboats . On each side of the boat deck eight were davits type Welin Quadrant installed. Each of these then new designs could be designed for launching ( lowering ) up to four lifeboats, so a total of 64 boats. Initially planned Alexander Carlisle installing 48 lifeboats on the Olympic and Titanic, but was followed by several design changes, the number of lifeboats was reduced to 20 in the sequence: were numbered from the bow forth on the starboard (right) behind the bridge an emergency cutters (Boat 1) and the two folding boats A and C, followed by a group of three large lifeboats (Boat No. 3, 5 and 7). Further back there was a second group of four large lifeboats (Nos. 9, 11, 13 and 15). The second emergency cutter (boat 2), the two folding boats B and D and the seven large lifeboats No. 4, 6, 8 and No. 10, 12, 14 and 16 were housed on the port side . The folding boats ( "Engelhardt collapsible boat") had a wooden floor and walls made of heavy sailcloth with an upper Schanz from Kapok and cork . The two Engelhardt boats A and B were stowed on either side of the first chimney on the roof of the officers' cabins. They could no longer be lowered into the water in a controlled manner and were washed away when they sank, folding boat B came keel up into the sea.

The emergency cutters (boats 1 and 2) hung on both sides of the ship in their swiveled-out davits so that they could be used immediately in the event of a man overboard maneuver . They were designed for 40 people each. Each of the 14 large lifeboats offered space for 65 people; the four Engelhardt folding boats for 47 people each. In total, there was space for 1178 people on board all life-saving appliances.

If the Titanic had sailed with full capacity of 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members, mathematically - in addition to the two cutters and the four folding boats - instead of 14, at least 47 of the large lifeboats would have been required. During the maiden voyage, however, only about half of the 2200 people on board had a place in a lifeboat. This small number corresponded to the then valid law from 1896. It was not based on the maximum number of passengers, but on the tonnage of the ship , for the number of places in the lifeboats . For ships in the category “over 10,000 gross registered tons”, the largest imaginable size for passenger ships at the time, 962 spaces were required; however, this number could be reduced depending on the watertight bulkheads of the ship. According to these regulations, the Titanic only had to carry lifeboats for 756 people. With the 422 additional seats, the White Star Line clearly exceeded the legal requirements.

However, the difference between the davit capacity and the number of lifeboats installed later led to speculations about why the design was changed and thus a lower number of boats was accepted. For example, it was said that more boats would have limited the space on the boat deck too much or that it would have unsettled passengers if the Titanic had significantly more lifeboats than other comparable ships. In addition, the 33 additional boats would also have required more trained seafarers.

Furthermore, lifeboats were not used so much to pick up all passengers at the same time. Rather, it was used to transfer the passengers from the crashed ship to another in smaller groups. That was a widespread belief, at least on routes with heavy traffic. On the other hand, naval architect Alexander Carlisle held a different opinion on May 19 and 25, 1911. At meetings of the committee responsible for establishing the rules, he insisted on the fact that the number of lifeboat spaces on ships such as the Olympic and the Titanic was too low. However, his demands for tightening the regulations did not find a majority.

The maiden voyage


The Titanic leaves Belfast on April 2, 1912, where it was built. The picture also gives an impression of the departure from Southampton. Compared to the surrounding tugs , the enormous size of the ship becomes clear.

The maiden voyage of the Titanic should increase the prestige of the White Star Line and also advertise the Britannic , which is still under construction . The comfort offered on board in all classes and the excellent service, especially in the first class, should secure the lead over other shipping companies.

At that time, a shipping company could most certainly earn money from the people who wanted to emigrate to America. Prices per person based on normal cars started at 36 dollars ($ 15 for children under 12 years) for the third, $ 60 for second and $ 150 for first class. The largest suites were $ 4,350. Based on the year 1912, this corresponds to today's purchasing power of $ 980, $ 410, $ 1,630, $ 4,070 and $ 118,120.

On the journey, only a good half of the passenger accommodation was occupied. A major reason for this was general uncertainty due to a long coal strike. In addition, the Titanic did not attract as much attention as one might have suspected because of the title “largest ship in the world”. Because ten months earlier, the almost identical Olympic had set out on its maiden voyage and it was fully booked.


Over 1,300 people had booked a passage on the Titanic. Among the passengers were many celebrities from North American and European society, including:

Also the American actress Dorothy Gibson , the painter Frank Millet , the designer and fashion journalist Edith Rosenbaum , the New York theater producer Henry Harris , the award-winning French sculptor Paul Chevré , the American writer and journalist Helen Candee ( How Women May Earn a Living , The Tapestry Book and many others) and Marie Grice Young, the former music teacher of the daughter of US President Theodore Roosevelt , were on board, as were the large landowner Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife, the fashion designer Lady Lucy Duff Gordon , and the Scottish noblewoman Lucy Noël Martha Dyer-Edwards, Countess and wife of Norman Leslie, 19th Earl of Rothes , Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Garrison Artillery . Millionaires on board included steel baron Arthur Ryerson , president of the Joseph T. Ryerson Steel Company and partner in the law firm Isham, Lincoln & Ryerson, railroad magnate John B. Thayer , former first-class cricket champion and vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad , and the businessman George Widener , automaker, president of the Widener Elkins Traction Syndicate and director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts .

Second class passengers included American missionary Annie Funk , marine painter Samuel Stanton, and cinematographer and film producer William H. Harbeck .


A large number of the almost 900 members of the ship's crew came from Southampton . About 325 were responsible for operating the ship and 500 for passengers, including 324 stewards and 18 stewardesses. Mainly 35 engineers and technicians, 167 stokers, 71  coal trimmers and 33 machine greasers took care of the ship's operation in several guards . In addition, there were several storekeepers , the ship's carpenter , the helmsmen and the sailors in the lookout ( crow's nest ). The chief engineer was Joseph Bell .

Another 66 people had other duties, including the eight ship's command officers: Captain Edward John Smith , Chief Officer Henry T. Wilde , First Officer William M. Murdoch , Second Officer Charles Lightoller , Third Officer Herbert Pitman , Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall , Fifth Officer Harold Lowe and Sixth Officer James P. Moody . The radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were part of the crew, but were employees of the Marconi Company.

Supplies and freight

The Titanic had significant amounts of food on board for the voyage . In addition to 72.5 tons of meat and fish , 40 tons of potatoes and 200  barrels of flour , there were over 30 tons of other food. 400 kilograms of tea , 1,100 kilograms of coffee and almost 37,000 drinks bottles were brought along as drinking supplies . The stocks of milk and milk products took up more than 12 cubic meters of storage space. Almost 200,000 items of laundry were stored in the laundry rooms.

Freight and mail were also transported on the maiden voyage. The goods carried on the maiden voyage included machine parts , electrical appliances , groceries , silk goods , clothing , liquor , ostrich feathers and a car, as well as many other goods for North America .

Leaving Southampton

The Titanic in the port of Southampton on April 10, 1912

The Titanic began her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on Wednesday April 10, 1912 under her captain Edward Smith . Rumor had it that the Titanic's maiden voyage would be his last voyage as a captain before his retirement . Other sources say that this was only planned for the Britannic's maiden voyage.

Shortly after 12 noon the ship cast off from its berth in the port of Southampton. Due to a previous coal strike, there were more ships in the port than usual. When the Titanic to the steamships New York and Oceanic drove past, due to the torn out from it more suction holding thaw of New York , whose stern then slowly drifted to the Titanic. The tug Vulcan pulled the stern of the New York away and was just able to prevent a collision, but the incident delayed the Titanic's departure for Cherbourg (France) by an hour.

Stop before Cherbourg

After traveling around 80 nautical miles (approx. 150 km) across the English Channel, the Titanic anchored at around 5:30 p.m. in the roadstead off Cherbourg because the port was too small for the ship. With the specially built for this purpose the Nomadic and Traffic tender ships, additional cargo and 274 passengers were brought on board. 15 first and 7 second class passengers who had only booked the passage across the canal disembarked. At 8:10 p.m. the anchors were lifted and the ship set out for Queenstown (now Cobh ) on the Irish island , which at the time was part of the United Kingdom .

Stop in front of Queenstown

One of the last pictures of the Titanic: Taken at Queenstown ( Cork Harbor ) on April 11, 1912

Two nautical miles from Queenstown, the Titanic anchored again on Thursday, April 11, 1912, from 11:30 a.m. in the roadstead. Two launches brought 113 third class and 7 second class passengers on board. Seven first-class passengers who boarded in Cherbourg disembarked. 1,385 sacks of mail were brought onto the Titanic, which weighed anchor at 1:30 p.m.

The Atlantic voyage

Course of the maiden voyage: The yellow star marks the place of the sinking.

Off the south coast of Ireland, the steamer slowed down briefly so that the pilot could cross over into his boat . After crossing the North Atlantic , the plan was to arrive in New York on Wednesday, April 17, and to start the return journey on April 20.

On January 15, 1899, an agreement between the major shipping companies came into force, according to which between January 15 and August 14, the southern route must be taken westwards in order to avoid the icebergs drifting towards the equator in the cold Labrador Current . The course did not take the shortest route ( orthodrome ) to New York, but a correction point at 42 ° 0 '  N , 47 ° 0'  W was approached and then turned on a westerly course towards the lightship Nantucket . In fact, the Titanic had turned a little past the correction point so that it was a few miles further south.

It is not known whether this should be a precautionary measure. Captain Smith and his officers knew even before they left Southampton that the field of drift ice was larger in extent and southern extent than in previous years. In addition, several radio messages were received from other ships during the voyage, warning of fields of drift ice and icebergs. However, not all ice warnings were passed on to the bridge by the radio operators; these were very busy transmitting private telegrams . As a result, there was no precise information on the current position of the drift ice fields on the bridge.

By failing to do so, the radio operators did not violate any regulations, because the still new radio technology was not considered essential for operating a ship until then. It is believed that the bridge officers received three or four different warnings and that Captain Smith knew three of them. According to witness statements, the officers were aware of the iceberg danger; but everyone had different information and no one knew all of the iceberg warnings. The overall picture would have shown that the Titanic would find itself in a large field of drift ice on the evening of April 14.

The collision with the iceberg

The TITANIC shortly after the nightly collision. (digitally edited photo of the dummy of the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, USA )
The iceberg the Titanic allegedly collided with. A trail of red paint, similar to the paint on the Titanic, was seen near the waterline.
Image (different angle) of the iceberg on the morning of April 15, 1912, a few hours after the sinking of the Titanic
Folding boat D of the Titanic, taken by a passenger on the Carpathia

The voyage was abruptly disrupted on Sunday, April 14 at around 11:40 p.m. ship time . The lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg directly ahead and rang the alarm bell three times. In addition, he gave the "iceberg ahead" warning over the phone to the bridge, which was taken by Sixth Officer James P. Moody . While Fleet was still on the phone, his colleague Reginald Lee noticed that the bow was beginning to turn. The first officer William Murdoch had already initiated a so-called "porting-around" maneuver , which suggests that he had already discovered the iceberg. The helmsman Robert Hichens had received the order “hard to starboard ” in order to turn to port. At the same time, Murdoch gave the command "Stop" ( full stop ) via the machine telegraph . The 4th Officer Boxhall later testified to the simultaneous command "Full power back" (English. Full Asters ) by Murdoch, as shown in J. Cameron's film Titanic (1997). However, there is not enough evidence for this; it seems more likely that shortly after the collision the ship was almost stopped with “Slow Back” (English Slow Asters ). Then the first officer pulled the lever to close all 15  bulkheads between the departments in the ship's belly.

However, the collision could no longer be prevented because the distance to the iceberg was already too small. The ice structure, estimated at 300,000 tonnes, first collided with the hull on the starboard side just behind the bow in the forepeak area and then hit the ship several times on the starboard side. The leaks from the Titanic stretched from the forepeak through the three forward holds to the two forward boiler rooms No. 6 and No. 5. The iceberg probably came from Jakobshavn Isbræ , a glacier in western Greenland.

The damage after the collision initially appeared minor. According to eyewitness reports, the iceberg protruded about 30 m above the front deck, but it hardly damaged the upper decks. It tore several holes below the waterline; from the forepeak to just behind the point of the ship that corresponded to the axis of rotation when turning. At full speed, this axis of rotation was roughly on the border between the fifth and sixth watertight compartments. The leaks affected all six forward compartments, which led to the forecastle sinking due to the penetrating water. While the front five compartments (forepeak, cargo holds 1 to 3 and boiler room no. 6) quickly filled up, the flooding in the rearmost affected area, boiler room no. 5, could be slowed down by the pumps. In the first hour, between 22,000 tons and 25,000 tons of water flowed in. The front five compartments were almost completely flooded, after which the Titanic almost reached equilibrium for a short time. The inclination of the ship at this time was about 5 ° towards the bow, which most people probably did not perceive as threatening. In the following hour at most another 6,000 tons of water penetrated the ship, the incline did not change significantly. However, secondary flooding began to increase, as more and more open portholes , ventilation shafts and cargo hatches in the sinking bow came under the waterline, which accelerated the sinking process rapidly.

The evacuation

Captain Smith researched the damage in detail and consulted with the ship's designer Thomas Andrews , who foresaw a rapid sinking. Smith gave the radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride the order to send distress calls to other ships at around 0:15 a.m. The Carpathia responded and it took almost four hours to reach the scene of the accident. According to the Carpathia's radio officer , it was he who called the Titanic to inform them of the presence of radio messages to them at the Marconi Wireless Station Site . In response, he received the CQD emergency number . Several crew members of the Titanic turned off the lights of a ship in the distance, so that the Titanic attempted to contact that ship from 0:45 a.m. by regularly firing sea missiles. There was no answer, and later the suspicion arose of failure to provide assistance.

At 12:05 am, Captain Smith ordered the Titanic to be evacuated . The first lifeboat was only lowered into the water at around 12:45 a.m. Officers and stewards had previously received an order from Chief Officer Henry T. Wilde to explain the evacuation to the passengers as merely a "boat maneuver". Many first class travelers had considered putting on life jackets as excessive , which the officers should now insist on. Officially was the easing of the lifeboats of the so-called Birkenhead principle set " Women and children first! With regard to the chance of survival, however, it was just as important in practice which side of the ship you were and in which class you were traveling. Different practices were used by different officers manning boats. The second officer Charles Lightoller on the port side interpreted the order rather according to the motto "Men by no means" , even if a boat that was not even half full was released because no other woman was ready to leave the Titanic, which still appeared stable. According to eyewitness reports , a mother had trouble taking her 13-year-old son into a lifeboat because the officer already saw him as a man. On the starboard side, however, where the first officer Murdoch supervised, men, including many crew members, had fewer problems getting into a boat. More people were rescued on the starboard side than on the port side. Overall, 74% of women and 52% of children were saved, but only 20% of men.

Of the existing 1,178 lifeboat spaces, only 705 were used. Instead of the possible capacity of 65 passengers, many boats were only half occupied; one of the lifeboats designed for 40 passengers was already celebrated when there were only 12 people in it. It was initially feared that the boats might be too fragile for such high passenger numbers. In addition, the Titanic for some time made a solid impression, because they hardly flip side had. Many of those on board believed the Titanic was a safer place than the small lifeboats.

It is possible that the ship's orchestra also meant that the danger was not taken seriously enough. The eight musicians, led by Kapellmeister Wallace Hartley , played ragtime music and other cheerful pieces on the boat deck to prevent panic. That was what the ship's command had ordered. None of the musicians survived the downfall. Panic only broke out when it became apparent that the ship was about to sink and there were only a few lifeboats left. Some of the boats that were celebrated at the end were overstaffed with over 70 people.

In the rush of evacuation, the rescue boats with the designations A and B could not be prepared for occupation. Only at the last moment did Lightoller and another officer try to free the folding boat B, which, like the others, had been folded up and thus took up little storage space. Although it fell keel up into the water, it still served as a rescue raft for Lightoller and some who later washed into the sea.

The last lifeboat to be lowered, the folding boat D, left the Titanic at 2:05 a.m. The radio operators were released from their duties, but continued transmitting for a few minutes. At around 2:10 a.m., boiler room number four, the seventh watertight compartment as seen from the bow, was completely flooded. Around 40,000 tons of water caused the bow to sink into the depths, the water now reached the ship's bridge and began to wash over the boat deck. At that time, boiler room number 2 was also evacuated due to water ingress. The front chimney of the Titanic overturned due to the unstable position and killed some people in the water. The excessive steepness of the ship towards the bow now increased steadily; Normal walking and working in the boiler and machine rooms were hardly possible any more.

There, chief engineer Bell, together with numerous stokers and the ship's 34 other marine engineers and machinists, had continued to operate boiler rooms 2 and 3. This supplied the power generators with steam so that energy was available for pumps, radio and lighting. In addition, targeted pumping out and transfer of water ensured that the Titanic's list remained minimal during the sinking process, because even with a slightly stronger list, lifeboats could only have been lowered on one side of the ship. Now many crew members tried desperately to get up on the emergency ladders, but only a few succeeded.

The downfall

The falling apart Titanic

At around 2:18 a.m., a two-hour process that had slowly begun reached its climax: The increasing steep angle of the hull caused furnishings and kettles inside to tear themselves loose and slide forward. Due to the lack of buoyancy in larger ship parts - initially only in the bow area and later also in the stern - forces acted on the hull for which the construction was not designed. If the hull had only been bent up to now, it could no longer withstand the increasing forces and broke in the vicinity of boiler room number 1 between the third and fourth chimneys. The steam and power lines were also cut, and the ship was in the dark. The bow section, which at this point was almost completely below the waterline, went under, while the stern initially tilted back into its old position and swam straight on the water for a few seconds until it straightened up steeply shortly afterwards and finally around 2:20 a.m. sank.

The wreck sank at the approximate position 41 ° 44 '  N , 49 ° 57'  W and hit the seabed at a depth of 3,821 meters at a speed of between 50 and 80 km / h. Due to the high rate of descent, parts of the broken halves of the ship, including hull plates, chimneys and boilers, were torn off and scattered over a large area on the seabed.

Victims and survivors

Newspapers initially reported with wrong numbers, as many confusing rumors were circulating before the official shipping company announcement.

After the sinking, the rescued people had to wait around two hours in the boats before they could be picked up by the Carpathia . The night was very cold, the water temperature was below 0 ° C, just above the freezing point of sea water. Many people did not die during the sinking on the ship, but only afterwards from hypothermia in the water and floated lifelessly in the water when the Carpathia of the British Cunard Line arrived at 4:10 a.m. Although there were several hundred places left in the Titanic boats, the occupants rowed away from those calling for help, fearing that their boat could capsize if too many of those floating in the water tried to climb into the boat. Only lifeboat number 4 turned back. However, only five survivors could be rescued, two of whom died in the boat. Around 3 a.m., around 40 minutes after the Titanic sank, the last calls for help from the water also fell silent. Only then did boat number 14 return to those floating in the water under the command of 5th Officer Harold Lowe, who had transferred the passengers to other lifeboats. Another three people who had clung to flotsam were rescued .

In total, the Titanic killed between 1,490 and 1,517 passengers and crew members, including the captain, who probably went down with his ship voluntarily. Well-known personalities such as Benjamin Guggenheim , Isidor Straus , John Jacob Astor IV , Jacques Futrelle and Charles M. Hays died in the sinking. The victims also included the four richest men on board. Only 711 people survived, according to the British investigation report.

The following table lists the victims and rescued people by age (children up to 12 years), gender and belonging to the cabin class booked, sorted according to the proportion of survivors. The source is a report by the British Parliament from 1912. Due to some discrepancies in the passenger lists, slightly different numbers are circulating.

Victims and rescued
group total Rescued proportion of Victim proportion of
2nd class children 24 24 100% 0 0%
1st class women 144 140 97% 4th 3%
Women occupation 23 20th 87% 3 13%
2nd class women 93 80 86% 13 14%
1st class children 6th 5 83% 1 17%
3rd class women 165 76 46% 89 54%
3rd grade children 79 27 34% 52 66%
Men 1st class 175 57 32% 118 68%
Men occupation 885 192 22% 693 78%
Men 3rd class 462 75 16% 387 84%
Men 2nd class 168 14th 8th % 154 92%
Women overall 425 316 74% 109 26%
Children overall 109 56 51% 53 49%
Men overall 1690 338 20% 1352 80%
1st class overall 325 202 62% 123 38%
2nd class overall 285 118 41% 167 59%
3rd grade overall 706 178 25% 528 75%
Crew overall 908 212 23% 696 77%
total 2224 710 32% 1514 68%

The statistics clearly show the preference given to women and children for evacuation.

The differing chances of survival by class are also clearly visible. Women and especially children of the 3rd grade were clearly disadvantaged, even compared to the women of the crew. However, according to the British investigation into this issue, there was no class discrimination on the boat deck. The lower survival rate can be explained by the low presence of 3rd class passengers on the boat deck, especially in the initial phase of the evacuation. There were several reasons for this:

  • 3rd class passengers usually did not have access to the boat deck. Below deck, a transition to another class had to be found in the complex corridor system, with the internal connections between the classes being provided with lockable barriers according to the regulations of the American authorities. According to reports from survivors, some of these crossings were also closed during the sinking. The outside stairs that led to the promenade deck were probably the easiest way to get towards the boat deck.
  • Missing information: There was no alarm system on the Titanic. The passengers had to be asked by the staff to go to the boat deck. Relatively few staff were available, especially for 3rd class, which provided most of the passengers. There are no indications that the ship's command gave instructions regarding this problem.
  • In the 3rd grade, numerous foreigners traveled who could speak poorly or no English at all. This language barrier also exacerbated the information problem.
Block of black granite in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax

It looks different with men. Within the overall significantly lower rescue rate, the ratio of 1st class to 3rd class is the same as that for women, which in turn can be explained by the above three points. The relatively poorer chances of the male crew being rescued seem plausible because quite a few worked to the end. B. when manning and felling the lifeboats or in the boiler rooms and engine rooms. As a result, there was no way of dealing with one's own rescue. What is striking here, however, is the extremely low rescue rate among men in the 2nd class, which is justified in a study by the sociologist Henrik Kreutz with the social expectations of men to save themselves only after women and children. The "bourgeois" men of the 2nd class were therefore most strongly bound to this moral concept and altruistically renounced their rescue. Despite several factual errors regarding the Titanic, Kreutz's hypothesis provides a plausible explanation for this phenomenon.

The most famous survivor was J. Bruce Ismay , who had been rescued in one of the last lifeboats. The shipowner was despised by society for his own rescue, but he made valuable contributions to clearing up the disaster. Otherwise, all essential knowledge carriers had died in the sinking: Captain Smith, the officers Murdoch and Moody, who were on the bridge at the time of the collision, the guarantee group of the Harland & Wolff shipyard under the direction of Thomas Andrews and all 35 machinists of the Titanic .

The last survivor of the accident was Millvina Dean , who died on May 31, 2009 - 98 years to the day after the Titanic was launched - in a retirement home . She was a baby at the time of the calamity. In a BBC report in December 2007, she complained that wreckage from the Titanic was doing good business on the black market. The BBC reported that a porthole of the ship for 20,000 pounds (23,000 euros approximately) had been offered.

After the downfall

Rescue and burial of the victims

Monument to the machinists of the Titanic in Southampton
Memorial to the musicians of the Titanic in Southampton

New York learned of the disaster on the morning of April 15. The morning newspapers initially only reported that the Titanic had collided with an iceberg. Journalists, family members and friends stormed the White Star Line office, whose spokesmen initially appeased. Only the New York Times reported on the sinking of the Titanic.

After the high casualty figures became known, the White Star Line chartered the cable layman Mackay-Bennett from Halifax, Canada to rescue the bodies. Three other Canadian ships took part in the search: the cable ship Minia , the lighthouse supply ship Montmagny and the sealing ship Algerine . Undertakers , clergymen and means of embalming were found on each ship . The Mackay-Bennett from Halifax, Canada, drove on April 17, 1912 to the sinking site of the Titanic 1,100 km to the east and arrived there three days later. The Mackay-Bennett recovered large numbers of bodies, 166 of which were still buried at sea. Burial at sea has always been portrayed as a dignified process, but a photo discovered in 2013 in the estate of a Mackay-Bennett crew member shows corpses piled in sacks on board the ship while the priest next performed the burial.

From the sinking area, which was littered with wreckage and corpses, 333 dead were rescued, 328 of them by Canadian ships and five more by steamers passing by on the North Atlantic Route. In mid-May 1912, the Oceanic recovered three bodies from the rescue boat A at a distance of more than 200 km from the sinking site of the Titanic. When Fifth Officer Harold Lowe and six crew members returned to the site of the sinking some time after the sinking in a lifeboat to retrieve survivors, they recovered a woman from auxiliary lifeboat A, but left three dead occupants. From the Oceanic , the bodies were after recovery from the auxiliary lifeboat A seebestattet . Thus, a total of 337 bodies could be recovered. Due to a lack of ice and coffins, several bodies were immediately buried at sea.

After returning to Halifax, 59 identified bodies were returned to their relatives' homes. The 150 remaining victims were buried in three Halifax cemeteries. In one, Fairview Cemetery in Halifax , Nova Scotia , Canada, 121 victims of the disaster rest, 44 of whom could not be identified. The tombstones are made of black granite, arranged in three rows, in the shape of a ship's bow. All have the same date of death: April 15, 1912.

There are monuments in Southampton for the machinists and musicians . Other memorials for ship's crew and passengers are in Cobh , Liverpool , Belfast , Glasgow , Washington, DC and New York City .

Arrival of the survivors in New York

When the Carpathia , which had taken in the survivors, arrived in New York on the evening of April 18, the landing stage was shielded over a large area. The Carpathia first docked at Pier 59 of the Chelsea Piers to unload the Titanic's lifeboats here. Then she drove to Pier 54, where about 30,000 people waited in pouring rain. The press and onlookers were to be kept away, the customs formalities were skipped so that the survivors could quickly be brought to their families and friends. First class passengers got into their bodies and drove to the luxury hotels; private trains were waiting at the Grand Central Terminal . Finally, the third class passengers, mostly emigrants, left the ship. Aid organizations took care of the rescued.


When the Olympic was supposed to leave Southampton on April 24, 1912, the stokers went on strike because they no longer wanted to work on a ship that did not have a sufficient number of lifeboats. The Olympic's trip was then canceled.

The shock caused by the sinking of the Titanic caused, led on 12 November 1913 to the first SOLAS conference (First International Conference on the Safety of Life at Sea - First international conference on the safety of life at sea ) in London.

For Alexander Behm , the accident prompted the development of a detector for icebergs. He did not achieve this goal; The results of his research on sound propagation in water were the basis for his invention of the echo sounder .

The question of guilt


In the investigations directly following the accident from April 19, 1912 to May 25, 1912, more than 82 witnesses were questioned about the ship disaster by a committee of the American Senate chaired by William Alden Smith . The British also set up their own investigative commission headed by Rufus Isaacs and Robert Finlay , which met from May 2, 1912 to July 3, 1912 and heard 97 witnesses and experts (including Ernest Shackleton ).

It turned out that the Titanic had traveled too fast through dangerous waters, that the lifeboats only had room for about half the passengers and crew, and that the Californian , the ship closest to the disaster, could not come to the rescue because her radio operator was off duty and went to sleep. These findings resulted in a long list of new regulations. Since the accident, every person on a ship must have a place in a life-saving appliance ( lifeboat , life raft ) and boarding must be practiced before departure. Furthermore, a radio watch at sea was introduced around the clock.

In society and in much of the literature, some people were particularly blamed for the disaster: Stanley Lord , Captain of the Californian , William M. Murdoch , First Officer of the Titanic , and Joseph Bruce Ismay, Executive Director of the White Star Line.

The Californian case - suspicion of failure to provide assistance

Captain Lord was accused of not helping the Titanic in an emergency. These allegations are based on the assumption that the Californian was the ship whose lights were sighted from the Titanic. To this day it is still a matter of dispute whether it was actually the lights of the Californian , because at that time the positions of ships could not be precisely determined at any time. The Titanic sank over ten nautical miles east-southeast of the position indicated in the emergency call, as has been known since the wreck was discovered . However , it is no longer possible to determine the exact position of the Californian . The testimony of their crew is also contradicting itself. There is agreement that a ship could be seen heading south during the night. However, only a few thought the ship was a large passenger steamer. This mysterious ship stopped before midnight and appeared to be disappearing south-west after two o'clock. Missiles were also observed directly above or behind the stationary ship. Apparently this ship seemed so close that Captain Lord ordered contact using a Morse code lamp - but this was unsuccessful. The radio operator of the Californian was already in bed at this time, the range of the radio was very short. The only ship that could be reached around 10:30 p.m. was the Titanic . Their radio operators, however, were busy transmitting telegrams to Cape Race. Lord believed that the ship in sight had no radio at all (only a few smaller ships were equipped with this new technology at the time) and saw no reason to get his radio operator out of bed. The facts at hand allow two possibilities:

  • There was a third ship between the Californian and the Titanic that could never be identified. It seems highly unlikely that its crew would have volunteered after the events, which is why this possibility is entirely plausible in view of this busy shipping route. This was the thesis of Captain Lord until the end of his life.
  • The ship sighted was actually the Titanic , but at such a great distance that, depending on the angle of observation, it could have looked like a smaller, closer ship. The Californian would hardly have arrived at the scene of the accident in the face of switched-off engines, as Captain Lord had his ship stopped for the whole night due to the poor visibility after it had reached the edge of a large ice field. Therefore, the boiler should have been reheated first.

Even if Captain Lord apparently had no way of helping the people on the Titanic , his behavior remains vulnerable. His crew members had observed a total of eight rockets, and Lord has nothing to show for anything other than a failed contact using a Morse code lamp. The justification for this, however, was also the fact that in 1912 there were no clear regulations regarding emergency signals and all possible rockets and flares were used for signaling purposes. To make matters worse, there were no red emergency missiles on board the Titanic and therefore white missiles were fired, which on board the Californian were more likely to be associated with a party on the idle passenger ship and therefore did not wake the radio operator.

First Officer Murdoch and the evasive maneuver

William M. Murdoch , who perished in the sinking , was subsequently accused by critics of having acted wrongly after sighting the iceberg. These allegations were based on the facts that the Titanic was steering to the left and that the engine telegraphs were said to have been at full astern when the fourth officer Joseph Boxhall arrived on the bridge. The machine command is said to have delayed the evasive maneuver. It seems doubtful that this braking process was actually initiated, because whatever Murdoch intended with a machine command, for purely technical reasons it could not have any influence on the evasive maneuver. From a purely technical and physical point of view, it is practically impossible to immediately stop or reset large ships at full speed. Switching the engines to reverse alone took 20 seconds in normal operation at sea. There was also a considerable period of time, because the engineers who controlled the machines were not directly at the controllers. It was a day-long voyage between the ports of Queenstown and New York that normally did not receive any machine commands, and there were a lot of other tasks to be done.

Even assuming a delay of only ten seconds, there was no longer enough time to stop the engines before the collision, reverse them to start again and then develop enough counter-thrust. But there are other indications that the machines did not run backwards during the evasive maneuver:

  1. Missing vibrations. Switching to reverse at full speed generates enormous vibrations in the stern area of ​​a ship that were not registered by any survivors of the Titanic. Vibrations during the collision were only reported from the front of the ship.
  2. Contrary to Boxhall's testimony, the greaser Frederick Scott testified that shortly before the collision the engine room had received “Stop” on all four telegraphs.
  3. Chief heater Frederick Barrett reported the same for the heat indicators in the boiler rooms.

The demand that Murdoch should have supported the evasive maneuver with machine help by only switching the left propeller to counter-thrust is unrealistic in view of the machine's reversing time. However, after passing the iceberg, the engines were switched to reverse to stop the ship.

Left turning circle of the Titanic with full rudder deflection (blue: bow, red: stern)

The British Commission of Inquiry found that the Titanic had turned two lines (22.5 °) to the left at the time of the collision. Based on tests with the Olympic , it was found that at full speed and full rudder deflection this angle is reached after about 37 seconds, a distance of about 410 meters is covered. From this data the distance of the iceberg at the time of sighting was determined. However, if the ship had simply steered to the left, it would have turned over its entire length into the iceberg, and damage over the entire length of the ship would have been the result. As can be seen in the sketch opposite, the turning radius of a ship is significantly larger at the stern than at the bow.

Porting-around maneuver (blue: bow, red: stern)

In order to successfully avoid the iceberg, only a so-called “porting-around” maneuver came into question shortly before the iceberg. Two helm commands were necessary for this. At the right time, the rudder had to be steered from the left course to the right again. As a result, the short part of the ship in front of the axis of rotation steered towards the iceberg during the collision, but most of the ship turned away from the iceberg, as can be seen in the "Porting Around Maneuver" image. This coincides with the leaks from the Titanic, which reach just past this point. The aforementioned angle of 22.5 ° occurs in the scenario shown at the point in time when the iceberg is already in the rear of the ship. Compared to the accident report, this results in the iceberg being closer to the distance and a little further to the right of the Titanic's course, which corresponds better with the observation of the Frederick Fleet lookout . In view of these facts, it looks as if Murdoch routinely carried out a textbook evasive maneuver in the dangerous situation.

Still, there are many critics who claim this was wrong and Murdoch shouldn't have done anything but stop the machines. If the Titanic had rammed the iceberg head-on, the damage would have been significantly greater, but would have been limited to the front 30 meters of the ship. In the worst case, the front three compartments would have been flooded, which would not have endangered the ship's buoyancy. “Only” a large number of crew members who had their quarters in the bow would have been killed. However, this proposal ignores the fact that Murdoch could not have known, due to the lack of any rangefinder , that the distance to the iceberg was insufficient to evade, and what consequences the attempt to evade would have. Having the bow of the ship crushed under these circumstances and thus killing the crew members inside it certainly did not cross Murdoch's mind.

One final criticism of Murdoch, which has been widely voiced, is that it was a mistake to close the bulkheads. Due to the concentration of the water in the bow, it sank too quickly under water and sunk the Titanic prematurely. Apart from the fact that Murdoch had no way of knowing what damage the Titanic had sustained and what effects it would have, closing the watertight doors is a standard procedure after an accident, because at a later point in time it can be too late. Allowing undamaged compartments to be flooded rightly contradicts everything seafarers learn in their training. No naval architect would consider such an approach. Nevertheless, due to the discussions about it, it was researched using computer simulations and ship models. The result is that leaving the bulkheads open would have been fatal: not only would the ship have sunk 40 minutes faster, but the evacuation would have been made much more difficult, because a strong list and a premature power failure would have prevented coordinated actions in the dark new moon night. Apart from the effects, it would have been practically impossible to keep the bulkheads open, as the automatic door system, which was activated as soon as water reached the doors, could not be switched off at all.

Missing binoculars

The ship's command was also criticized as a negligence that the sailors in the lookout were not equipped with binoculars, but had to search the sea for obstacles with the naked eye in the dark night and in the cold wind. Allegedly, the telescope cabinet was locked during the entire journey of the Titanic because the key was with an officer who had been assigned before the journey and was therefore not on board. Furthermore, the captain failed to reinforce the lookout, i.e. to post another iceberg watch at the ship's bow, which, given the high speed of travel and the iceberg warnings received, would have been an at least reasonable, if not essential, precautionary measure.

Ice warnings

Indeed, Captain Smith knew that the ship was moving toward icebergs. On the route from Southampton to the site of the accident, the radio operator of the Titanic received a total of at least eight ice warnings according to current knowledge. The first two reports came on April 12th from the French ship La Touraine , which had sighted ice, and on April 13th from the steamer Rappahannock , which moored over by means of a signal lamp that they had driven through heavy pack ice. It is likely that these warnings prompted Captain Smith to travel ten miles south of the shipping route customary for that time of year.

On the day of the collision with the iceberg, the Titanic received an ice warning from the RMS Caronia of the Cunard Line shortly before 1 p.m. , which in turn had originally received it from the Noordam of the Holland-America Line . Captain Smith showed this radio message to Second Officer Lightoller and had the message posted in the chart room. A radio message from the Baltic was received at around 1:40 p.m. Addressed to Captain Smith, it contained the information that the Greek steamer Athinai had seen nice weather with moderate, changing winds during the day at 41.51 ° north latitude, 49.52 ° west longitude, and that she had seen icebergs and extensive drifting ice fields since departure that the German oil tanker Deutschland was unable to maneuver due to a lack of coal, was at 40.42 ° north latitude and 55.11 ° west longitude, and the crew of the Baltic wished the Titanic every success. Smith paid little heed to this radio message, however. He handed it to Bruce Ismay, who, as he later stated, took it without comment and put it in his pocket.

An ice warning from the Californian did not arrive at the Titanic at around 6:30 p.m. because radio operator Harold Bride had switched off the device. At 7:30 p.m. he caught the report, this time addressed to the Antillian . The Californian reported that at 6:30 p.m. she had seen three large icebergs, 42.3 ° north latitude and 49.9 ° west longitude, three miles south. Bride confirmed and passed the spell on to the bridge.

At 9:40 p.m. a message came from the mesaba . She reported that she had located an ice field in the range 42 ° –41.25 ° north latitude, 49 ° –50.3 ° west longitude with a lot of pack ice and drift ice. Since radio operator Phillips was pretty busy with Cape Race and other ice warnings had already started, this saying no longer seemed so important to him that he had to pass it on to the navigating bridge. This could be described as fatal, because unlike the other reports that only reported individual icebergs, the Mesaba had reported a gigantic, so to speak rectangular ice field with measurements.

One last radio message reached Phillips from the Californian , who was surrounded by ice and stuck. He broke contact, however, and continued the conversation after Cape Race. Another message came from the HAPAG - steamer America from. Investigations showed that only the Caronia's radio message was posted in the card room. As a result, Smith's officers did not know about the other sayings.

The conduct of J. Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith

J. Bruce Ismay was accused of urging Captain Smith not to slow down in order to demonstrate the capabilities of the Titanic and to make it stand out from the Olympic by a higher speed. Ismay later claimed he was just a normal passenger, but survivors had witnessed discussions between him and the captain about ship speed and ice warnings.

Whatever the exact discussion between the two men, it doesn't diminish the captain's responsibility for his ship in the least. No other reasons for exonerating Captain Smith are known. Just his decision to maintain course and speed despite numerous ice warnings sealed the fate of the ship. At least this was the conclusion reached by the British commission of inquiry, which stated that the cause of the accident was "too high speed in waters interspersed with icebergs". However, during the investigation, Captain Smith was acquitted of the charge of negligence, because maintaining course and speed was common practice on the fast steamers when the view was clear. Even captains of the main competitors said they would have done the same under the same circumstances.

Captain Smith's decision was based on a gross misjudgment of the visibility of icebergs under the conditions on the night of the accident. It was clear, but especially dark due to the new moon . In addition there was absolute calm and therefore a mirror-smooth sea, so that there were no waves that could break on icebergs, which would have made a sighting easier. The ice field itself was much larger and stretched farther south than any previous observation seen since steam navigation began. The enormous dimensions of the ice field were not exactly known, because it was only after the Titanic disaster that an international ice patrol was set up to determine the position and drift speed of icebergs and forward them to the ship's command.

The wreck

Finding the wreck

The bow of the sunken Titanic (June 2004) occupied with rusticles

Jean-Louis Michel and Robert Ballard carried out an expedition in 1985 to find the wreck of the Titanic using a special device called Argo , equipped with sonar and cameras , which was towed close to the ocean floor with the help of a connecting cable . According to Ballard, the expedition was financed by the US Navy , for which he first located the two sunken submarines Thresher and Scorpion under the guise of searching for the Titanic . The wreck of the Titanic was finally discovered on September 1, 1985. It is located at 41 ° 43 '55 "  N , 49 ° 56" 45 "  W , 21.726 kilometers east-southeast of the position indicated on the emergency call at a depth of 3803 meters. There the water pressure is about 380 times the normal atmospheric pressure . In August 1986 Ballard then undertook the first manned exploration of the wreck with the research submarine Alvin , which was to be followed by many more undertakings by other parties. In addition to the investigation of the wreck, numerous artifacts were also recovered.

Three large parts of the ship's hull ( bow section , a middle section about 20 meters long and the stern section ) are surrounded by a field of debris on the sea floor. Between the bow and stern, there is only rubble over a length of around 600 meters. The front part is relatively well preserved up to the point of break. The stern, on the other hand, was severely damaged by the rapid flooding with implosions near the water surface and ultimately when it hit the sea floor. The imposing chandeliers in the large halls of the first class, on the other hand, survived the sinking almost unscathed, as did crockery, wood paneling and mirrors.

The rights to the wreckage and artifacts are still disputed in court. Some items recovered from the Titanic are on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (London) and some items are preserved in France. In total, over 5500 artifacts and wreckage from the Titanic were recovered.

In the meantime, diving trips to the wreck are also available for private individuals at a price of around 50,000 euros.

Possession, ownership and legal status

On June 7, 1994, the competent federal district court of the US state Virginia awarded the company RMS Titanic Inc. the exclusive right of ownership and recovery of the wreck of the Titanic.

RMS Titanic Inc., a subsidiary of the US stock corporation Premier Exhibitions Inc., and its predecessors carried out seven expeditions between 1987 and 2004 and recovered over 5500 objects. The largest single salvaged object was a 17-ton section of the shell that was lifted in 1998.

Many of these finds are shown at traveling exhibitions of the company, which in addition to the exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic also owns the wreck of the RMS Carpathia . The Carpathia had taken in the survivors of the Titanic and was sunk by the German submarine U 55 during the First World War .

As early as 1987, an American-French expedition with the participation of a predecessor company of RMS Titanic Inc. began with the recovery of parts of the Titanic wreck and its cargo and recovered around 1800 objects during a total of 32 diving operations and brought them to France for conservation and restoration. In 1993, the Department of Maritime Affairs in the French Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Tourism granted the predecessor of RMS Titanic Inc. ownership of the objects recovered in 1987. Smaller pieces of coal from the Titanic were shrink-wrapped in plastic and were also sold privately.

In a motion dated February 12, 2004, RMS Titanic Inc. requested that the Virginia Federal District Court grant the company a title to all finds (including parts of the ship's hull) that were subject to the right to find the company or, alternatively, a salvage bonus of 225 million To award US dollars. RMS Titanic Inc. specifically excluded the 1987 finds from this application, but requested that the District Court recognize the French title "expressly" ( expressis verbis ). After the hearing, on July 2, 2004, the court rejected both the recognition of the French title of title for the 1987 finds and the concession of a title of title to the objects recovered from 1993 onwards on the basis of the maritime finder's right.

RMS Titanic Inc. then appealed to the competent US appeals court . In its decision of January 31, 2006, the appellate court “expressly recognized the applicability of the maritime rescue law to historical wrecks like the Titanic” and rejected the applicability of the maritime finder right . The court also ruled that the district court had no jurisdiction over the "1987 finds," and overturned the July 2, 2004 ruling. In other words, the Court of Appeal's judgment upheld the title of property awarded in the French decision, valued at $ 16.5 million in an earlier appraisal. In addition, RMS Titanic Inc. has now been expressly confirmed by the highest authority the exclusive right to rescue the wreck of the Titanic.

The appellate court referred the case with these clarifications back to the district court with the stipulation that this would determine the amount of the salvage premium to which RMS Titanic Inc. is entitled under maritime salvage law. The company had requested an amount of 225 million US dollars, but has not yet been awarded this amount. The total value of the finds secured so far is estimated by an expert opinion at over 70 million US dollars.

Since 15 April 2012, the wreck in which UNESCO - Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage added.

State and future of the wreck

As can be seen in recent footage, the wreck of the Titanic has been completely taken over by nature. The deck planks and a number of other wooden fittings are partly already decomposed. In the long term, the same is predicted for the entire shipwreck: As studies have shown, the wreck is about to be completely disintegrated by iron bacteria . Estimates at the end of the 1980s predicted a maximum time span of 50 years until the wreck would completely disintegrate. In 1995, another 30 years were forecast. During diving trips in 2003 it was found that the metal framework of the large staircase broke apart and fell down in the stairwell. In 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mapped the debris field and found the process to be much slower than expected. This was announced in 2012 by James Delgado , director of NOAA's marine cultural sites program. The experts now assume that the wreck will last for decades. A bigger problem is modern rubbish - the debris field is contaminated by rubbish thrown overboard by ships passing the sinking site. Wreck tourists have also left plastic flowers and other souvenirs. On the 100th anniversary of the sinking, UNESCO officially placed the wreck under protection in 2012.

In 2010 the previously unknown bacterial species Halomonas titanicae was discovered on a rusticle from the wreck of the Titanic , which was named after its place of discovery.

Realizations and theories

More recent findings

After the wreck was found, a number of contentious questions could be answered. Due to the position of the bow and stern, it is certain that the Titanic broke apart near the surface of the water. Breaking a ship of this magnitude can also occur in far less spectacular situations, as in the case of America .

The leaks from the Titanic

One of the biggest mysteries about the ship is the exact dimensions and nature of the damage the iceberg caused. As early as 1912, Edward Wilding, who was responsible for watertight subdivision and flooding calculations during the construction of the Titanic, determined the total leak size to be around 1.2 square meters. Even this small area is sufficient in seven meters of water (3.5 meters above the keel plate) for an inflow of 400 tons per minute, which was calculated for the initial phase of the sinking process on the basis of the flooding speed. Assuming a continuous leak across the front six compartments, as can be found in many depictions of the accident, the average gap width would be less than two centimeters. Wilding rightly considered this to be very unlikely, as did the theory, which was also widespread after the accident, that an iceberg spur had cut the leak into the outer skin of the ship. This is not physically possible due to the low hardness of ice compared to steel.

Since the bow dug itself deep into the ground when it hit the seabed, most of the iceberg damage is not directly visible. This problem was solved during an expedition in 1996. A special sonar was used, which also provides images through the upper soil layers. Six different leaks were found, the origin of which is described by the experts involved using the “re-impact theory”. This is based on multiple impacts with the iceberg, with the ship reducing speed and repelling itself, but bouncing back onto the iceberg due to forces due to the evasive maneuver and the Bernoulli suction as well as the widening hull. This theory coincides not only with the measured leaks, but also with various statements made by survivors who were in the lower bow area during the collision and who had registered several strong impacts.

The Titanic's six leaks (red)

The first of the leaks was in the forepeak just below the waterline. The next two were at the same height in quick succession in cargo hold 1 and were only 1.2 and 1.5 meters long, respectively. The impacts that occurred were strong enough to knock off part of the iceberg, so that the next leak, 4.6 meters in length, was caused by an impact at a lower point on the iceberg. Here, too, part of the iceberg was sheared off, so that the last two leaks were even deeper under the waterline. The penultimate one was about ten meters long and extended from hold 2 to well into hold 3. The impact was so strong that, according to survivors, the waterproof operating corridor for the heaters, 0.5 meters behind the outer skin, was damaged and quickly flooded. The last leak was the longest at 13.7 meters. It affected boiler room 6 and the front area of ​​boiler room 5. At the bulkhead between boiler rooms 5 and 6 there is still a large dent, probably caused by compression effects due to the ship's rotation. After evaluating the damage found during this sonar scan and computer-aided flooding calculations, the following distribution of the opening areas resulted:

Department name Leak area
in square meters
1 Forepeak 0.06
2 Hold 1 0.14
3 Hold 2 0.29
4th Hold 3 0.31
5 Boiler room 6 0.26
6th Boiler room 5 0.12
1-6 together 1.18

Material issues

When determining possible causes of the accident, the focus was also on investigations into the materials used in construction. Material science tests on recovered steel from the Titanic showed a very low toughness at the temperature prevailing at the time of the collision . This brittleness of the material could have caused a greater degree of damage than would have occurred with today's materials .

However, the theory has been questioned from various quarters. The changes in the steel of the Titanic may also have resulted from the special conditions in the deep sea . Pictures of the construction of the Titanic and the Olympic show steel plates that were used for both ships. The Olympic was in service for 24 years until it was scrapped and had survived several years of military service and various collisions. In addition, roughly the same steel was used in shipbuilding around the world at that time , such as the Russian icebreaker Krassin , built in Newcastle in 1916 , which is still unrestrictedly seaworthy. The Queen Mary , completed in 1936, was also built from the same type of steel, with the steel plates being identical to those of the Titanic in terms of origin and thickness. Research into better materials was only carried out after the Second World War, which means that modern ships are much lighter than earlier ones with the same size and stability.

The seams between the steel plates are torn open under the action of the iceberg

Another possible weak point in the Titanic outer skin was the riveted joints between the steel plates. Not only the stability of the rivet itself, but also the area around the cold- stamped rivet holes in the steel plates seem problematic, since micro-cracks formed there as a result of the stamping process. Already after the collision of the Olympic with the Hawke in September 1911, Edward Wilding, after assessing the Olympic damage, classified the plate connection method as in need of improvement and initiated a discussion about changes to future ships. The rivet holes on the Queen Mary, built 25 years later, were drilled despite the significantly higher costs .

The relative weakness of the Titanic's riveted joints is substantiated by the leaks found, most of which are along the riveted joints between the steel plates. However, according to the experts, even modern, welded steel plates would probably not have withstood the forces acting in the iceberg collision.

The bunker fire

A few other causal theories deal with the effects of the fire in a coal bunker on the starboard side between boiler rooms five and six. One of these dates from 2004 by the engineer Robert Essenhigh of Ohio State University . He is of the opinion that according to the records of the Southampton harbor fire department, a smoldering fire in the said bunker caused the captain to drive faster than would have been appropriate for the situation, despite the danger of icebergs. The fire could have been fought in the usual way at the time, by shoveling the coal from the affected bunker into the boiler faster than usual in order to get to the burning coal. The ship was therefore traveling at excessive speed in the iceberg area and slowing down in time was therefore impossible. According to statements from surviving stokers, the corresponding bunker was empty on Saturday and the fire was extinguished. Furthermore, the witnesses had noticed damage to the adjacent watertight bulkhead, the extent of which and possible influence on the functionality of the bulkhead during the night of the accident could not be precisely assessed.

Unproven accusation of insurance fraud

In 1996 the authors Robin Gardiner and Dan van der Vat published a conspiracy theory in the book The Titanic Conspiracy , according to which the sinking of the Titanic is said to have been a calculated insurance fraud . According to the theory, it was not the Titanic that sank in the North Atlantic, but its sister ship, the Olympic. According to the authors, the insurance fraud was based on an accident that happened to Olympic during its fifth voyage to the North Atlantic. At that time she collided with the British warship Hawke and suffered severe damage to the starboard side of the hull. While it was being repaired at the shipyard, it lay next to the Titanic, which was under construction. According to the theory, the name tags of the ships were swapped during this period in order to allow the damaged Olympic to sink in the Atlantic and to allow the real Titanic to continue sailing as Olympic in order to save subsequent repairs and to preserve the insurance sum of the Titanic. It should have been planned, however, to have the passengers of the "wrong" Titanic rescued from another ship of the White Star Line . As an indication, it is stated, among other things, that JP Morgan , the owner of the Titanic, did not start his already booked crossing due to illness.

However, this theory contradicts some components that have been investigated since the discovery of the wreck by Robert Ballard in 1985. The construction number 401 of the Titanic and not the 400 of the Olympic is stamped on all recovered objects. In addition, the assumption, which the authors considered fundamental, that the two sister ships were almost completely identical and therefore easily interchangeable, is incorrect. Furthermore, the sum insured of one million pounds sterling did not outweigh the damage to the image that the White Star Line suffered from the disaster.

Possible influence of the weather situation

Some theories also deal with the question of whether the weather conditions and meteorological conditions at the time had an influence on the disaster.

Astrophysical reasons

Donald Olson, professor of astrophysics at Texas State University , argues that various astrophysical phenomena are responsible for icebergs migrating south. In January 1912 the full moon had come closer to the earth than it had been in 1,400 years, and the earth was in perihelion and formed a common line with the sun and moon. All of this is said to have resulted in the forces and gravitational thrusts at work causing an unusual tidal range that freed icebergs that had broken off in Greenland and stuck in the shallow waters off Newfoundland and Labrador and moved them southwards, for example by getting the icebergs into the Labrador Current be. That explains the unusually high number of icebergs in the area of ​​the 42nd parallel.

According to a report by Lane Wallace, the tidal range is unlikely to affect the iceberg; it would rather be determined by a complex system of ocean currents and weather conditions. The travel time of pieces of ice from Greenland to the region of the 48th parallel is 1–3 years anyway. In addition, in the years before and after, high, sometimes significantly higher numbers of icebergs were recorded. Rather, the cause of the many icebergs is the harsh winter of 1912.

Super refraction

According to a study by Tim Maltin, a special optical phenomenon, a super refraction, prevailed on that April night. As a result of the thermal inversion, an air layer cooled by the cold Labrador Current lay beneath an air layer warmed by the warm Gulf Stream . As a result of this effect, light was reflected unusually strongly, and a false, second horizon was created above the real one. In between, a haze formed, which the two sailors Lee and Fleet noticed in the crow's nest. The calm sea also blurred the area between the two horizons, so that the iceberg "disappeared" below the false horizon on which the sailors were looking. As a result, the iceberg wasn't discovered until it was too late.
Because of this super-refraction, distant objects also appeared closer, which is why the crew of the Californian probably perceived the Titanic as a small and nearby ship. The signal rockets fired there appeared to be too small in view of the supposedly small size of the ship, so that they were felt to be not important enough. Furthermore, the Morse signals sent could not penetrate through the air layers to the Titanic.

The watertight bulkheads - Why not the Titanic unsinkable was

The Great Eastern at Hearts Content , July 1866

To this day, the term “ unsinkable ” is inextricably linked with the Titanic. This predicate had been used as advertising for various ships for a long time. As early as 1860, the Great Eastern was divided into many watertight compartments. The extreme subdivision with high bulkheads without any opening, however, resulted in considerable losses in terms of passenger comfort. Since the Great Eastern was unsuccessful as a passenger ship and only made money as a cable lay, no shipowner dared to build an uncompromisingly safety-oriented design. Rather, passenger comfort became the focus of interest.

The watertight classification of ships was then, as now, a compromise between safety on the one hand and economic usability and construction costs on the other. As early as 1891 a “bulkhead committee” had published comprehensive recommendations for the watertight subdivision of ships. Therefore, the Titanic did not introduce any particular innovations in the watertight subdivision of ships; only the twelve automatically closing water protection doors on the tank top deck were of a new design in the Olympic class.

Contrary to today's frequent mention of the alleged unsinkability of the Titanic, this word was only published twice in articles about the ship before the sinking, also with the restriction “practical” or “as far as possible”. The word "unsinkable" was neither used by the designers of the Olympic class, nor was it intended to make the ships "unsinkable".

The watertight subdivision was constructed as follows: Above the keel there was a cellular double floor almost two meters high, which consisted of 44 watertight compartments. Above the inner floor there were 29 further compartments, 16 of which formed the large main sections (see picture), which were laid out according to the so-called two-compartment standard . This means that if any two adjacent of these 16 compartments were flooded at the same time, the ability to swim would never have been endangered. According to the rules of the bulkhead committee, the upper bulkhead ends (more precisely: the bulkhead deck ) should have been at least 20 centimeters above the waterline in view of the dimensions of the Titanic with such flooding, taking into account possible sides of impact. In fact, in two-compartment flooding, the bulkhead deck was at least 75 centimeters (in most combinations significantly more) above the waterline, so that, as recent calculations have shown, in 11 out of 14 possible cases, the criteria for flooding three adjacent compartments would have met.

Structure of the Titanic and arrangement of the main bulkheads

With 4-compartment flooding, the bulkhead deck was still above the waterline in four cases (the foremost four and the rearmost four compartments and two combinations with the participation of boiler room 1). And even if all the front five compartments had been flooded, the Titanic would most likely have stayed afloat for a very long time, at least under the conditions on the night of the accident. A longer buoyancy with simultaneous flooding of 6 of the 16 watertight compartments, as happened after the collision with the iceberg, was not theoretically possible in any case. Such extensive damage to a ship due to an accident has only occurred once in the history of shipping. For “normal” damage, such as that caused by collisions with other ships or running aground, a two-compartment standard combined with a double floor was completely sufficient.

The attempt to keep ships buoyant with even more extensive damage would not only entail difficulties with the watertight subdivision and make enormous structural demands on stability. Measures that would help in one case could potentially have fatal consequences in the case of other damage and lead, for example, to capsizing. After the sinking of the Titanic, such an attempt was made on its sister ship Britannic. However, during the First World War it became clear that under unfavorable circumstances a single mine was enough to sink the Britannic. Also during the First World War, the Lusitania sank (“as unsinkable as a ship can be”) due to the damage caused by a single torpedo and the subsequent explosion it triggered. What should be emphasized about the watertight division of the Titanic is that it still allowed a stable swimming position even with advanced flooding. Usually ships develop strong impacts under such conditions, which makes an orderly evacuation almost impossible.

After the First World War, work was intensified on improving evacuation options, as it was recognized that the floatability of heavily damaged ships is not unlimited.

The breakup

Sinking process according to History Channel and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2005)

It is still unclear how exactly the Titanic broke up. After a model analysis using finite elements on behalf of the Marine Forensic Panel, the renowned American ship construction firm Gibbs & Cox Inc. came to the conclusion in 1996 that the stern of the Titanic protruded from the water at a maximum angle of between 15 ° and 20 ° and, because of the high structural loads then broke off from the main body of the ship.

The television station " History " started another expedition to the wreck with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2005. The eastern part of the debris field was also examined for the first time. Two parts of the double floor with a total length of almost 18 m were found. They were completely preserved across the entire width of the ship. That was detected at the existing bilge keels that were received properly on both sides of the finds and exhibited in places even the red color of the final paint. Based on the video recordings made, it could be determined that the two raised floor pieces found fit together at the broken ends.

On closer inspection of the double bottom parts, Roger Long made the new assumption that the ship broke apart differently than previously assumed. According to Long's considerations, the double floor of the previous model should have been compressed, while the upper decks of the Titanic would have neatly broken apart at this point. On the wreck, however, you can see that the decks are pulled down at the break and do not have a clean break. However, the ends of the upper decks at the breakpoints could also have been bent downwards by the force of the impact on the seabed, as the enormous damage at the breakpoints meant that there was no longer any structural stability. This is e.g. B. can be seen very well at the stern of the Titanic wreck, the upper decks of which have been completely destroyed.

Long put forward the theory that the stern of the Titanic began to break off when it was still relatively little sticking out of the water at around 11 °. The break began accordingly on the upper deck and stretched to the keel. The stable keel - the backbone of every ship - initially prevented the stern from breaking off. Significantly more water should then penetrate through the crack in the outer skin of the Titanic, so that the sinking of the ship was accelerated. At the breaking point, the underwater bow now pressed against the stern rising above the water, so that the decks were dented at this breaking point. With Long's arguments, however, it cannot be understood why this compression should not have happened at a slightly larger angle. The finite element analysis only extends to the point where the ship's hull still consisted of one piece. The dynamics of breaking with the incalculably increasing leakage area can hardly be calculated. A quantitative explanation of how exactly the angle of 11 ° comes about has not yet been published.

Common errors


There are also numerous misrepresentations and exaggerations within the vast amount of literature, images, and footage about the Titanic. The biggest source of the errors are certainly the newspaper articles that were written directly after the disaster, some of which were based only on rumors, but some of which arose from the imagination of survivors or even journalists. While obvious errors (such as those from the newspaper article Alle saved ) are no longer cited in today's literature, others are still widespread today. In addition, exaggerated representations were chosen for pictures of the sinking in order to achieve a more colossal impression. Ships other than the Titanic are often shown, especially in television documentaries. Sometimes it is the Olympic, but not infrequently any other four-chimney steamer, for example the Lusitania . In addition, many claims and explanations in such documentation and also in the literature testify to insufficient research or technical misunderstanding on the part of the authors. But even official documents are not free of errors. The most famous mistake in the final report of the British commission of inquiry is the claim that the ship did not break apart when it sank, although several survivors had testified.

In addition to the widespread misconceptions, there are also many anecdotes from the night of the unfortunate, which should only be completely true in rare cases: Passengers who ordered iceberg ice for their drinks or who are said to have dressed up for the sinking, men who were Woman disguised got into a lifeboat, or the band that played the chorale Closer, my God, to you in the last few minutes . These are just a few examples of the numerous dubious stories about doom that can be found in literature and are rarely questioned.

The most serious errors about the Titanic, which are still often propagated today, follow in more detailed explanation:

The Titanic caused a sensation as the largest ship in the world

The external dimensions of the Titanic - length, width, height - corresponded exactly to those of the Olympic, completed in 1911. Due to some detailed modifications - the promenade deck that was still completely open on the Olympic was now half glazed - the Titanic contained a little more built-up space and was therefore theoretically the largest ship in the world. Otherwise, however, outwardly she resembled her identical sister ship, which had already been in service around a year earlier, so that the Titanic, as a new build, could no longer impress people with her size.

The Titanic sank because water ran over the bulkheads

This representation, in which the Titanic's bulkhead system is often compared to an ice cube tray, is not only wrong, but also causes a lot of confusion. It gives the impression of a misconception of the watertight division of the Titanic, because it is claimed that the bulkheads were too low. The opposite was the case: The bulkheads were higher than necessary to achieve the intended two-compartment standard (→ see also The watertight bulkheads - why the Titanic was not unsinkable ).

To achieve a six-compartment standard , which would have been necessary to ensure a longer buoyancy in the face of the extensive damage after the iceberg collision, it would not have been enough to just raise the bulkheads. Above all, the stability of the hull should have been significantly increased in order to maintain the structural integrity under this enormous load. Even then, just a few open portholes in undamaged compartments of the ship would have been enough to render all these complex measures useless.

The already mentioned ice cube tray model does not apply to the ship either, because the bulkheads were not open at the top, but limited by decks, which, however, were not watertight in the sense that there were openings (e.g. hatches or shafts) in them, that couldn't be sealed. After the water exceeded the height of the bulkheads, it spread along these decks and initially ran forward due to the trimming of the ship. Only after the front areas had been appropriately flooded did the water penetrate backwards into the undamaged areas and could get down through the unsealable openings. However, this process only played a significant role in the flooding of boiler room 4 and only began about half an hour before the final sinking. At this point in time, the flooding of boiler room 4 had long since begun, probably due to the formation of cracks in the hull due to the bending deformation of the hull, which later led to the Titanic breaking through.

A significant flooding of ship areas behind boiler room 4 did not take place before the ship broke up, as the shipbuilding engineers C. Hacket and J. G. Bedford explain in a flooding calculation published in 1996. This knowledge was also backed up by stability calculations, which prove that the Titanic would have overturned if larger amounts of water had got into areas behind boiler room 4 before the final sinking.

Overcoming the bulkhead between boiler rooms 4 and 5 made a very small contribution to the flooding process compared to the secondary flooding. These were caused by regular ship openings that came under the water surface when the bow sank, and also by the loss of structural integrity due to the forces acting on the hull during the sinking process.

Aside from the flawedness of the ice cube tray model, it also developed a few blooms: In the book The Secret of the Titanic by Robert Ballard there is a representation of the ice cube tray model, in which all compartments of the Titanic up to boiler room 1 up to the water line are full. However, this way the ship would no longer be kept afloat by any buoyancy. In order to prove the inconsistency of such explanations, complex flooding calculations are not required.

The 90-meter leak

To explain the fact that the unsinkable Titanic had sunk after all, “reasonable damage” had to be assumed. Accordingly, a draftsman let his imagination run wild and showed in a picture how the iceberg, with a protrusion similar to a knife blade, slits a leak several meters wide and 90 meters long into the outer skin. Such and similar representations have long shaped the idea of ​​a collision with an iceberg. In contrast, Edward Wilding calculated the total leak area as only about 1.2 m² as early as 1912 (→ The leaks of the Titanic ).

The Titanic's rudder was too small for a ship of this size

After the sinking, the maneuverability of the Titanic was criticized and the claim was made that the rudder was too small for the size of the ship. This thesis is based primarily on a comparison with the competing ships Lusitania and Mauretania . However, this comparison is inappropriate, because these two steamers of the Cunard Line were built with substantial subsidies from the British government, but had to be available as auxiliary cruisers in the event of war. Therefore, they also had to meet the specifications of the Admiralty, which placed higher demands on maneuverability than they were for purely civilian ships such as the Olympic class . In addition, the central propeller limited the dimensions and arrangement of the rudder behind it. The Titanic rudder met - also with regard to its size - all construction guidelines, and a turning circle diameter of 1175 meters, i.e. H. 4.5 times the length between the perpendiculars (at a speed of 20 knots), was considered to be good for a ship of this size given the state of the art at the time. Given the purpose of the ship, better maneuverability was not necessary.

The Titanic drove for the Blue Ribbon

One of the most popular legends related to the Titanic is that the White Star Line tried to win the Blue Ribbon on its maiden voyage as an honor for the fastest Atlantic crossing. This false claim is still particularly popular in the German-speaking area. The reason for this is the success of the novel Titanic by Josef Pelz von Felinau , first published in 1939 , in which the author added this alleged race to the otherwise unrealistic story from a purely dramaturgical point of view. The work was both the basis for the propaganda film Titanic, shot in 1943, and a radio play version that has enjoyed great popularity since it was first broadcast in the 1950s. At the beginning of his career, Felinau had repeatedly pretended to be a passenger on the Carpathia in order to increase the sales value of his book ; an assertion which he later regretted, but which corresponded to the pseudo-documentary character of his work. The invented record drive is mentioned again and again in the book in central, particularly memorable places, such as B. after the rescue of the castaways by the Carpathia :

Six hundred and eighty-five [sic!] Souls! That was the official final result of the great record race for the “Blue Ribbon of the Ocean”!

In addition, the undisputed fact that the Titanic was actually traveling at relatively high speed on the night of April 14, 1912, maintains the false impression of a “record run” among the general public. However, it is neglected that at that time it was quite common practice to drive through dangerous areas - as in the case of the Titanic the ice region - as quickly as possible as long as no immediate threat was recognizable. Another factor in the persistence of the legend is the conversation between Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith, which, according to first-class passenger Elizabeth Lines, took place around noon on April 13th. In it, Ismay more or less instructed the captain to exceed the average speed of the sister ship Olympic and to arrive in New York on Tuesday evening instead of Wednesday morning as planned. If this conversation actually had an influence on the decisions of Captain Smith (which is not beyond doubt), it would have been an internal matter for the shipping company for advertising purposes that had nothing to do with the record voyages for the Blue Ribbon.

When designing the Titanic and its two sister ships, travel comfort was deliberately preferred to high speed. Fast-running machines led to strong vibrations, which made staying in the mostly narrow cabins on ships of the time uncomfortable. The White Star Line wanted to avoid this effect as much as possible and therefore decided on the moderate cruising speed of 21 knots; a value that was well below the 25 knots of the then owner of the Blue Ribbon, the Mauretania of the Cunard Line. In this case, the technical data speaks for itself: While the engines of the approximately 31,000 GRT Mauretania delivered 50,000 kW to four propellers, the Titanic, which is significantly larger with 46,000 GRT, only 37,500 kW to three propellers. A race for the Blue Ribbon would have been hopeless from the start because of the technical requirements.

Magnitude of the number of victims

Although the sinking of the Titanic is the most famous shipwreck , it is by far not the largest in the history of modern shipping with around 1500 fatalities .

There were at least four major accidents :

  • Sink of the Doña Paz ferry on December 20, 1987 with 4,386 deaths
  • Sinking of the Kiang Ya in December 1948 with up to 3920 dead
  • The ferry Le Joola capsized off Senegal on September 26, 2002, officially 1863 fatalities
  • Sinking of the Tek Sing in January 1822 with 1,600 dead (number of victims disputed)

Even more lossy catastrophes resulted from sinking ships during armed conflicts. During these times, passenger ships were converted into troop transports, sometimes for several thousand soldiers, or used to evacuate areas threatened by the enemy, sometimes with up to 10,000 people on board. The most costly of these catastrophes occurred in World War II .

  • Wilhelm Gustloff , January 30, 1945, up to 9,300 dead.
  • Goya , April 16, 1945, up to 7,000 dead.
  • Armenia , November 7, 1941, up to 4,800 dead.
  • Cap Arcona , May 3, 1945, up to 4,500 dead.
  • Sultana , April 27, 1865, around 1,700 dead

Reasons for the popularity of the sinking of the Titanic

The sinking of the Titanic on its first voyage has been processed in numerous novels, non-fiction books and films. To this day, books on their history are published and the reports of the survivors are read. Many factors are decisive for the interest in this ship disaster.

Immediately after the disaster, this was the central topic in the newspapers, because the shock was great. After all, the Titanic represented the best that mankind had to offer at the time to defy the forces of nature. She was the largest ship in the world, of solid and massive construction, commanded by the most renowned and best-paid captain and was considered unsinkable by the public . Although this attribute was ascribed to numerous ships before, at the beginning of the 20th century many people actually believed that the dangers of seafaring had been overcome with the new generations of large steamers. At the latest in September 1911, when the cruiser Hawke drove at full speed with its concrete-filled underwater ram into the flank of the Olympic and it swam stable in the water with only a slightly increased draft, this opinion had finally been confirmed. But the realization that not everything can be technically controlled was not the focus of public interest, because the press dealt mostly with the prominent victims of the accident and their behavior during the downfall. After all, four of the richest men in the world - billionaires by today's monetary value - had perished, and there were many more distinguished members of society among the victims. The high number of emigrants and team members among the dead, on the other hand, was - in accordance with the social situation at the time - not of great importance.

With the First World War, the disaster was increasingly forgotten, and the management of the White Star Line tried to ensure that it stayed that way afterwards.

However, such a catastrophe was not so easy to remove from memory, after all, it is still the most lossy ship accident in the “western world”. Although there were shipwrecks in World War II in which many more people died, they were caused by acts of violence and did not attract as much attention given the many millions of war victims. The ship came back into the public eye several times through film adaptations, for which the dramatic sinking provides a brightly lit stage for over two hours, on which people of different origins and characters are suddenly confronted with an extreme situation, which triggers a wide variety of behaviors.

In addition, the Titanic disaster initiated numerous changes in safety regulations at sea, which also led to the ship being mentioned relatively frequently. Until April 1912, most ships only carried lifeboats for a fraction of the passenger capacity. This practice was no longer tolerated afterwards, nor was the inconsistent manning of radio stations on many ships. On November 12, 1913, the first international conference for the protection of human life at sea (SOLAS) was convened. This resulted in a contract that was supposed to create international minimum standards on merchant ships for the first time. Since then, the treaty has been modernized several times and is now a UN Convention under the control of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The danger of the ice, which is partly transported far south by the Labrador Current and which had caused numerous accidents even before the Titanic disaster , was countered by the establishment of the international ice patrol on February 7, 1914.

There was also great interest in the ship from a scientific point of view. According to the discoverer Robert Ballard, the wreck was considered a kind of Mount Everest for deep-sea divers, and the discovery in 1985 once again caused considerable media coverage. Since then there have been many explorations of the wreck, the financing of which was also denied from the sale of artifacts. In addition, exhibitions were repeatedly initiated in which found objects from the wreck and Titanic models as well as exhibits from various museums could be seen. The ship design is also fascinating. It is a relic from a bygone era and is very different from today's passenger ships. The elongated hull of the Titanic was relatively flat, as was the superstructure. The large foredeck cut the sea with the sharp, almost vertical stem , and the flat stern was rounded off with an elliptically shaped overhang. The four chimneys created a strong symmetry in the side profile, and the two tall, beautifully rigged masts were remnants of the not-long-gone age of sailing ships. All of this made the ship look quite elegant considering its size, and for many the Titanic is considered to be the most beautiful ship of its era.

A final, but not unimportant, criterion for interest in the ship is simply the name Titanic. The name alone should express greatness and superiority - and then this ship already failed on its first voyage. Almost everyone today associates this catchy name with “catastrophe” or “sinking”, even without specific knowledge of the ship. All in all, the "Titanic myth" has now developed a life of its own, which has made this accident the most famous ship accident ever.



"Downfall of the Titanic"
Illustration by Willy Stöwer for the magazine Die Gartenlaube

One of the most famous pictures of the downfall was created by marine painter Willy Stöwer for the magazine Die Gartenlaube just a month after the event . Since Stöwer had little background knowledge of the sinking at the time it was made, the picture has two errors: During the sinking, there were no icebergs in the vicinity, and the fourth chimney could not emit black smoke as it was only used for ventilation.

Today the painter Ken Marschall is best known for his modern drawings, in which, unlike most of the other Titanic draftsmen, he used color.


The sinking of the Titanic provided the template for many non-fiction books and novels . Survivors such as Second Officer Lightoller and passenger Jack Thayer wrote non-fiction books about their experiences on board the Titanic. The non-fiction author Walter Lord wrote the non-fiction book A Night to Remember (German title Die last Nacht der Titanic ), which is still considered a standard work on the subject today. However, it was published in 1956 and therefore does not contain the numerous later findings. However, since Lord was able to interview many contemporary witnesses who were still alive at the time, the book passes on their statements and memories and is therefore still an important source today.

Novels mostly described fictional events that were used for the framework of the Titanic's maiden voyage . The novel Titan, a love story on the high seas by Morgan Robertson (original title Futility , later also: The Wreck of the TITAN ) from 1898 caused a sensation after the sinking of the Titanic, as the story told in it of the sinking of the ship believed to be unsinkable Titan has a surprising number of parallels to the sinking of the Titanic. In it, the Titan collides with an iceberg on a cold April night on the route from New York City to Liverpool and sinks. Many of its passengers die because there aren't enough lifeboats - just like the Titanic. However, 18 years earlier there was an iron steamship named Titania , which sank within three hours on July 9, 1880 after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

In 1957, the GDR published the novel The Ship of the Lost , written by Günther Krupkat , which also deals with the sinking of the Titanic.




  • Rick Archbold, Ken Marshall , James Cameron : Ken Marshall's Titanic . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-14996-3 (English: Ken Marschall's Art of Titanic . Translated by Angela Kuhk & Christian Quatmann).
  • Günter Bäbler: Bibliotheca Titanicana: All German-language Titanic books of the 20th century in one book . ä as in Ärger-Verlag, Rüti 2001, ISBN 3-9521715-2-2 .
  • Günter Bäbler, Linda von Arx-Mooser: Journey on the Titanic: the fate of the Swiss . 2nd Edition. Chronos, Zurich 1998, ISBN 3-905312-62-X .
  • Robert D. Ballard & Rick Archbold: The Secret of the Titanic . Ullstein Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-550-07653-3 .
  • Donald Lynch, Ken Marshal: Titanic - Queen of the Seas . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-453-05930-1 .
  • John P. Eaton, Charles A. Hass: Titanic - Triumph and Tragedy . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-453-12890-7 .
  • John P. Eaton, Charles A. Hass: Titanic - Legend and Truth . Revised and expanded edition. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2012, ISBN 978-3-86852-511-3 .
  • Günter Helmes : The sinking of the Titanic - model disaster and media myth . In: Gerhard Paul (ed.): The century of pictures . tape 1 : 1900 to 1949 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-525-30011-4 , pp. 124-131 .
  • Werner Köster , Thomas Liescheid : Titanic. A media myth . Reclam, Leipzig 1999, ISBN 3-379-01712-4 .
  • Susanne Störmer: Titanic - Myth and Reality . 2nd Edition. Henschel, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-89487-289-6 .
  • Walter Lord : The Titanic Disaster . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-453-05909-3 .
  • Walter Lord : Titanic - As it really was . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-15057-0 .
  • Robin Gardiner, Dan van der Vat: The Titanic Conspiracy . Goldmann Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-12687-8 .
  • Eric Sauder, Hugh Brewster: The Titanic Collection Guide - Memories of the Maiden Voyage . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-15280-8 (English: The Titanic Collection Guide . Translated by Bernhard Kleinschmidt, collection with reproductions of tickets , deck plans, menus , luggage labels and postcards , as well as facsimiles of telegrams of the iceberg warning and the Emergency call and other historical documents with booklet).
  • Stephen Spignesi: Titanic . Goldmann Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-442-15068-X .
  • Wolf Schneider: Titanic myth (=  star book ). Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-570-05991-X .
  • Joachim Kahl : Fascination Titanic - Philosophical Notes on a Century Myth . In: Enlightenment & Criticism . No. 1 , 1999, p. 135–144 ( gkpn.de [accessed April 19, 2013]).
  • John Malam: Mega Knowledge Sunken Ships - The Titanic and other treasures on the ocean floor . Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 3-8310-0504-4 .
  • Tom McCluskie: The Titanic in detail - construction drawings and original photographs . Bechtermünz Verlag, Augsburg 1998, ISBN 3-8289-5335-2 (British English: Anatomy of the Titanic . Translated by AMS & Dirk Oetzmann).
  • Geoff Tibballs: TITANIC The myth of the “unsinkable” luxury liner . Gondrom Verlag, Bindlach 1997, ISBN 3-8112-1575-2 (English: Titanic . Translated by Irene Spreitzer).
  • Susan Wels: TITANIC - Fate & Legacy of the Ocean Liner . Bechtermünz Verlag, Augsburg 1999, ISBN 3-8289-0328-2 (American English: Titanic - Legacy of the World's greatest Ocean Liner . Translated by Beate Herting).
  • Wyn Craig Wade: The Titanic - The End of a Dream . 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-423-10130-X .
  • Linda Maria Koldau : Titanic - The Ship - The Downfall - The Legends . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-62424-7 ( badische-zeitung.de [accessed on April 19, 2013]).
  • Metin Tolan : Titanic - With physics into decline . Piper Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-492-05458-4 .
  • Benedikt Grimmler: The 50 Most Popular Titanic Mistakes . Bucher Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-7658-1884-4 .
  • Eigel Wiese : Titanic - Four days to immortality . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-7822-1053-9 .
  • Manuel Grandegger: Fascination Titanic: The mysterious story of the seemingly unsinkable ship. Diplomica Verlag , Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8366-2399-5 .


Technical reports in English

  • C. Hacket, JG Bedford: The Sinking of the SS TITANIC - Investigated by modern Techniques. The Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Marine Engineers and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, 26 March 1996 and the Joint Meeting of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, 10 December 1996.
  • W. Garzke et al. a .: Titanic, The Anatomy of a Disaster. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers [Marine Forensic Panel (SD 7)], 1997.

Official investigations

  • Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate: "Titanic" Disaster. New York 1912
  • Wreck Commissioners' Court: Proceedings on a Formal Investigation ordered by the Board of Trade into the loss of the SS “Titanic”. London 1912

These investigation reports are available online: Titanic Inquiry Project


  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger : The sinking of the Titanic. A comedy. (1978) Enzensberger's “Gesänge” became known primarily through a production by George Tabori at the Münchner Kammerspiele . The set essentially consisted of a huge aquarium with a catfish swimming in it. Each of the actors climbed into the aquarium at some point during the performance.


  • The Swiss composer Stephan Jaeggi (1903–1957) composed a piece for symphonic wind orchestra at the age of 18. In his Titanic Fantasy , he describes the fateful maiden voyage of the Titanic and the tragedy associated with it.
  • British composer Gavin Bryars composed The Sinking of the Titanic in 1969 , an orchestral work about the ship disaster that premiered in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1972. The calm work revolves around motifs from the hymn Autumn, which, according to witness reports, was still played by the ship's band in the last 5 minutes of the sinking. The work has been performed frequently and has since been recorded three times.
  • On September 6, 1979, the opera Der Untergang der Titanic by Wilhelm Dieter Siebert premiered at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin .
  • In 1984 Peter Schilling landed a hit with his NDW song Terra Titanic .
  • In 1991, singer Howard Carpendale released his song Welcome to the Titanic .
  • Jazz musician Steve Cameron wrote a concept album about the Titanic in the 1990s called The Titanic Suite. The music moves between classical pieces and New Age synthesizer arrangements. In the extensive booklet you will find many details about different rooms of the Titanic.
  • In 1992 the Austrian singer Falco released his song Titanic on the album Nachtflug .
  • In 1994 the album Here's to the People by Paddy Goes to Holyhead was released with the title The Titanic
  • In 1994 the Irish folk band An Cat Dubh released the album Black Is the Color , which includes the track " A Night to Remember ", which deals with the sinking of the Titanic.
  • In 2002 the rock 'n' roll band Candyman released the song Titanic, which deals with the sinking of the Titanic.
  • The story of the Titanic was also in a Broadway - Musical entitled The Musical - Titanic play which ran from 1997 to 2000th In 2000 and 2001 the musical was performed in the Netherlands , and from 2002-2003 it ran in Germany in the Neue Flora in Hamburg. In July / August 2012 the musical will be performed in the Staatz rock stage .
  • In 2011 the Swedish power metal band ReinXeed released the concept album 1912 , which deals with the sinking of the Titanic.
  • In 2012, on the 100th anniversary, the one-hour requiem The Titanic Requiem , written by Robin Gibb and his son Robin-John, was premiered in London by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra .
  • In 2012 the American singer / songwriter Bob Dylan published the almost 14-minute song Tempest (appeared on the CD of the same name ), in which he describes the sinking of the Titanic in 45 verses based on a series of individual fates.

Film adaptations

Movie and TV

"TITANIC" motifs are used in many media products (example for a film poster, not an original poster)

The best-known film adaptation today is the 1997 film Titanic, directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet , which won eleven Oscars . In terms of content, it is a cinema film in keeping with the spirit of the times, with an above-average accurate representation of the events of that time for a Hollywood drama whose plot consists mainly of fiction. Particularly noteworthy is the optical reproduction of the Titanic, which is perfect except for a few details.

In addition, the sinking of the Titanic in various films and television series was discussed as a side note, for example, in Frank Lloyd's award-winning Oscar drama Cavalcade , a family chronicle over the UK the years 1899 to 1933 and subsequently Rendezvous with Yesterday the series Time Tunnel from the year 1966. In the series Die Zeitreise (see under: The time travelers ) from 1982 the protagonists, u. a. with Jon-Erik Hexum as Phineas Bogg and Meeno Peluce as Jeffrey Jones, twice on the Titanic. The first episode of the British series Downton Abbey begins with the newspaper report that the Titanic has sunk; a cousin, who is supposed to carry on the family's name, has an accident while going down and thereby causes family problems.


Museums and exhibitions

The Titanic Belfast museum is located on the former site of the Harland and Wolff and opened The topics range from the design to the fall in 2012.

The SeaCity Museum in Southampton shows in a permanent exhibition, among other things, the sadness of the city by the death of more than 500 crew members who came from Southampton.

The Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri (USA) is partly housed in a 1: 2 scale mock-up of the front half of the Titanic's bow. It contains 400 artifacts in 20 galleries as well as a full-size replica of the famous main staircase of the TITANIC.

The RMS Titanic Inc. offers exhibitions of a number of exhibits at various locations, which were salvaged and mostly restored on the occasion of the dives to the wreck. From 1997 to 1999 the largest Titanic exhibition in the world to date took place in the Speicherstadt in Hamburg . Another exhibition in Germany took place from June 16 to August 12, 2007 in Kiel in the Ostseehalle . The exhibition in Kiel was supplemented by a 62-page richly illustrated exhibition catalog.

Yadegar Asisi presented the Titanic on the seabed of the Atlantic from January 2017 in a 360 ° panorama in the Panometer in Leipzig. The 32 m high round picture shows the wreck in an artificial light scenario on a surface of 3500 m².

Museums and exhibitions
Titanic Exhibition Postering.jpg
Preparations for the 2007 exhibition in Kiel; the facade of the Ostseehalle was completely covered
Titanic Museum Belfast.jpg
Titanic House, Belfast
Thompson Graving Dock H&W shipyard.jpg
The dry dock in Belfast today. In the background are the White Star Line offices and a Harland & Wolff gantry crane
Titanic Museum in Branson Missouri USA.jpg
Side view of the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, USA , 2016
The Titanic Museum in Branson Missouri USA 2016.jpg
Front view of the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, USA , 2016


There are several current projects in the 21st century to recreate the Titanic.

Titanic II

The Titanic II is a planned cruise ship with great similarities to the Titanic. It is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and will, among other things , operate the route of the Titanic's maiden voyage, Southampton - New York . The Titanic II is said to be largely the same as the Titanic, but there are some changes, for example it will have air conditioning.

Romandisea Titanic

In China, the so-called Romandisea Titanic, a "true to original" replica of the Titanic, is being built. It was originally supposed to be completed at the end of 2017, but it will still not be completed in 2020. In late 2019, their official media page revealed that construction had reached D-deck and announced the start of a volunteer program to help build the ship. In contrast to the Titanic II, the Romandisea Titanic will not go on a journey, but will anchor in calm waters at the Romandisea Resorts in Daying in the province of Sichuan, southwest China.

Web links

Commons : RMS Titanic  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Memorial sites for the victims of the Titanic  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files



  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Indication of the ship time according to GMT minus 3 h, 27 min | Stephen Spignesi: Titanic. Goldmann, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-442-15068-X , p. 90 ff., P. 196 - The 28 most important research results in the final report of the investigative committee commissioned by the US Senate on the Titanic disaster; Section "The collision": "At 11.46 p.m. ship time or 10:13 p.m. New York time on Sunday evening, April 14th, [...]"
  2. At the request of Kaiser Wilhelm II , HAPAG used the male article
  3. Two new giant ships for the White Star Line on www.digital.zlb.de (published in the Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, Sept. 1909; No. 76, p.), Accessed on September 25, 2019.
  4. www.titanicinquiry.org , accessed September 25, 2019)
  5. Planning and construction ( Memento from September 19, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ) July 31, 1908 - Contract conclusion. www.titanic-info.de . Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  6. This figure was based on the template: Inflation determined and is rounded to the nearest million pounds sterling
  7. schmegel.eu: Maggy - the recipient of the Titanic
  8. titanicphotographs.com Website about Father Browne's Titanic photographs
  9. ^ Lord, Walter: The last night of the Titanic, Frankfurt am Main, 2012, p. 235.
  10. ^ A b Wreck Commissioners' Court: Proceedings on a Formal Investigation ordered by the Board of Trade into the loss of the SS “Titanic”. London 1912, day 20, testimony from Alexander Carlisle
  11. These figures were taken from the template: Inflation Determined and are rounded to a full 10 US dollars.
  12. Stephen Spignesi: Titanic. Goldmann, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-442-15068-X , p. 90 ff.
  13. ^ Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate: “Titanic” Disaster. New York 1912. Frederick Fleet's testimony, interviewed by Senator Smith:
    Senator Smith. Do you know whether her engines were reversed? ”- Mr. Fleet. Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone. ”- Senator Smith. She started to go to port? ”- Mr. Fleet. Yes; the wheel was put to starboard. ”- Senator Smith. How do you know that? ”- Mr. Fleet. My mate saw it and told me. He told me he could see the bow coming around.
  14. ^ Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton, Bill Wormstedt: On A Sea of ​​Glass: The Life and Loss of the RMS Titanic . ISBN 978-1-4456-4701-2 , pp. 813 ( google.com [accessed December 11, 2019]).
  15. Süddeutsche Zeitung. No. 292, December 18, 2009, p. 16, Knowledge, Ten Things You Didn't Know About Glaciers
  16. Summary from C. Hacket, JG Bedford: The Sinking of the SS TITANIC - Investigated by modern Techniques. The Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Marine Engineers and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, 26 March 1996 and the Joint Meeting of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, 10 December 1996.
  17. At 12:15 AM Titanic time, CQD was received from La Provence , Mount Temple, and Cape Race simultaneously . Listed in the Marconi radio protocol, printed e.g. B. in Chirnside, Mark: The Olympic-Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic . Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7524-2868-3 .
  18. Harold Cottam: Titanic's CQD caught by a Lucky Fluke (PDF) New York Times, April 19, 1912.
  19. Chuck Anesi: Titanic Casualty Figures. Retrieved December 8, 2013 .
  20. Last CQ, ending abruptly at 2:17 am Titanic time received from Virginian according to the Marconi protocol (reprinted e.g. in Chirnside, Mark: The Olympic-Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic . Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0 -7524-2868-3 )
  21. a b W. Garzke et al. [Marine Forensic Panel (SD 7)]: Titanic, The Anatomy of a Disaster . The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 1997, p. 42, Table 6: Reconstructed Time Line of Ship's Sinking
  22. Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron: James Cameron and his Team pull together a new CGI of how they believe the Titanic sank and reached the Ocean Floor.
  23. ^ DJ Spitz: Investigation of Bodies in Water. In: WU Spitz, DJ Spitz (Ed.): Spitz and Fisher's Medicolegal Investigation of Death. Guideline for the Application of Pathology to Crime Investigations (Fourth edition). Charles C. Thomas, Springfield (Illinois) 2006, pp. 846-881.
  24. ^ British Parliamentary Papers, Shipping Casualties (Loss of the Steamship “Titanic”), 1912, cmd. 6352, 'Report of a Formal Investigation into the circumstances attending the foundering on the 15th April, 1912, of the British Steamship “Titanic”, of Liverpool, after striking ice in or near Latitude 41 ° 46'N. Longitude 50 ° 14'W., North Atlantic Ocean, whereby loss of life ensued. ' (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1912), page 42, corrected for the proven deceased 3-year-old Lorraine Allison (1st class)
  25. ^ Wreck Court: Proceedings on a Formal Investigation ordered by the Board of Trade into the loss of the SS “Titanic”. London 1912, p. 781, testimony by WD Harbinson, legal representative of 3rd class passengers: “ I desire further, my Lord, to say that there is no evidence that when they did reach the boat deck there was any discrimination practiced either by the officers or the sailors in putting them into the boats. It would be wrong of me to say so, because there is no evidence which would bear me out in saying so, and I think it only fair that in speaking on behalf of the third class passengers I should make that observation to your Lordship.
  26. Henrik Kreutz: Surviving the sinking of the Titanic. A non-reactive measure of social inequality.
  27. Last survivor of the "Titanic" died. Spiegel.de, May 31, 2009.
  28. John P. Eaton, Charles A. Haas: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. WW Norton & Company, New York 1995, ISBN 0-393-03697-9 , p. 228.
  29. John P. Eaton, Charles A. Haas: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. WW Norton & Company, New York 1995, ISBN 0-393-03697-9 , pp. 232, 234.
  30. Titanic burial at sea photo to be auctioned in Devizes on BBC News, September 30, 2013, accessed October 1, 2013.
  31. John P. Eaton, Charles A. Haas: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. WW Norton & Company, New York 1995, ISBN 0-393-03697-9 , p. 225.
  32. WB Bartlett: Titanic: 9 Hours to Hell, the Survivors' Story. Amberley Publishing, Stroud (Gloucestershire) 2011, ISBN 978-1-4456-0482-4 , pp. 242-243.
  33. Franz Lerchenmüller: From the end of a dream. In: Hamburger Abendblatt from March 31, 2012.
  34. ^ Franz Neumann: The origin of the echo sounder and its inventor. In: Polytechnisches Journal . 340, 1925, pp. 44-45.
  35. ^ "The invisible bridge" by Kay Gottschewsky, Hirnstorff-Verlag 1987, 1st edition, ISBN 3-356-00088-8 , p. 63.
  36. ^ J. Cawley, Denis Griffiths: Power of the Great Liners: History of Atlantic Marine Engineering. Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1990, ISBN 1-85260-016-0 .
  37. Testimony from the British investigation report, see Literature - Official Investigations
  38. ^ Samuel Halpern: She Turned Two Points In 37 Seconds ( Memento of May 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). (PDF; 703 kB) Titanic Research and Modeling Association; Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  39. Complete description of the collision and the evasive maneuver in Garzke u. a., see Literature - Technical Reports in English
  40. a b Bedford & Hacket, see Literature - Technical Reports in English
  41. The Key to the Titanic (September 26, 2007)
  42. "Titanic search was used as a cover for secret mission" , Spiegel online 29 May, 2008.
  43. RMS Titanic Inc.
  44. United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, RMS TITANIC, INCORPORATED vs. THE WRECKED AND ABANDONED VESSEL - January 31, 2006 ( Memento from September 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 131 kB)
  45. The wreck of the Titanic now protected by UNESCO , Communication from UNESCO, April 5, 2012.
  46. ^ Iron-Eating Bug Is Gobbling Up the Titanic. Retrieved December 10, 2010 .
  47. At a depth of 3800 meters - The wreck of the "Titanic" sinks in the garbage. Retrieved February 21, 2015 .
  48. Cristina Sánchez-Porro, Bhavleen Kaur, Henrietta Mann, Antonio Ventosa: Halomonas titanicae sp. nov., a halophilic bacterium isolated from the RMS Titanic . In: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology . tape 60 , 2010, p. 2768-2774 , doi : 10.1099 / ijs.0.020628-0 .
  49. New theory: coal fire is said to have triggered the "Titanic" catastrophe , Spiegel Online from November 8, 2004, accessed on November 25, 2013.
  50. ^ Wreck Commissioners' Court: Proceedings on a Formal Investigation ordered by the Board of Trade into the loss of the SS “Titanic”. London 1912, statements by Charles Hendrickson and Frederick Barrett
  51. Michael Kröger: The sinking of the Titanic or: Was it really an insurance fraud? In: Christian Rickens (Ed.): The light bulb plot. The most spectacular conspiracy theories - and what's true about them . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2014, pp. 175–180.
  52. Donald W. Olson, Russell L. Doescher, Roger W. Sinnott: Did the Moon Sink the Titanic? Sky & Telescope, April 2012 edition
  53. Texas State University press release: The iceberg's accomplice: Did the moon sink the Titanic? available online (English)
  54. ^ Lane Wallace: No, the Moon Did Not Sink the Titanic. the Atlantic, available online (English)
  55. Tim Maltin: Did the Titanic Sink Because of an Optical Illusion? Smithsonian Magazine February 2012, available online (English)
  56. Clemens Höges: 37 seconds of fate . Der Spiegel, edition 13/2012
  57. Walter Lord: The night lives on . William Morrow & Company, 1986, ISBN 0-688-04939-7 .
  58. ^ Richard Howells: The Myth of the Titanic. ISBN 0-333-72597-2 .
  59. Journal The Engineer (April 19, 1912) Quote: "The phrase 'unsinkable ships' is certainly not one that has originated from the builders", in German "The term 'unsinkable ships' was definitely not created by the builders."
  60. Pelz von Felinau, Josef: Titanic - tragedy of an ocean liner. Frankfurt am Main, 1950, p. 250.
  61. Lynch, Don et al. Marshal, Ken: Titanic - Queen of the Seas. Munich, 1992, p. 189.
  62. ^ Marshal Lynch, p. 41.
  63. ^ Robert C. Moyer: 'When that great ship went down': Modern maritime disasters and collective memory . In: International Journal of Maritime History . tape 26 , no. 4 , November 2014, ISSN  0843-8714 , p. 734-751 , doi : 10.1177 / 0843871414551898 .
  64. 36 unique facts that you did not know from the movie (picture 5/36) standardnews.com, accessed December 20, 2017.
  65. ^ Announcement: The Times of London , July 10, 1880, p. 12, Col f
  66. ^ Günther Krupkat: The ship of the lost . The new Berlin, 1957, license no .: 409-160 / 7/65
  67. Review book recommendations of the Titanic Association Switzerland
  68. Harald Loch: Anna Maria Koldau: Non-fiction book about the sinking of the Titanic. In: badische-zeitung.de, Nachrichten, Literatur , February 1, 2012; Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  69. Erica Wagner : Passing like ships. Review. In: Financial Times . April 16, 2016, p. 10.
  70. Felsenbühne Staatz accessed on April 14, 2012.
  71. The Titanic Requiem /
  72. ^ Titanic Museum, Belfast
  73. ^ SeaCity Museum, Southampton
  74. ^ TITANIC - The artifact exhibition
  75. ^ Exhibition in Kiel: "Invitation to a journey through time" T-Online.de, dpa
  76. asisi.de
  77. The Titanic II project will be maintained and should start in 2020 (English) Cruise Arabia & Africa, October 10, 2018, accessed October 23, 2018.
  78. A life-size replica of Titanich is being built in China (English) Global News, November 30, 2016, accessed February 24, 2017.
  79. Work on the D-deck of the Titanic replica (English) accessed August 30, 2019.
  80. Volunteer program to help with the Titanic replica (English) December 16, 2016, accessed February 15, 2020.
  81. Tourist attraction: China is building “Titanic” according to orf.at, December 2, 2016, accessed December 2, 2016.
This version was added to the list of excellent articles on August 27, 2005 .