It is not reasonable that such a vessel could not be sunk because there were American passengers on board. They had been warned by Germany of the danger.
England could hire one American to travel to and fro on each of her ships, carry on shipments of arms, and place her men-of-war anywhere, if American passengers can be used as shields.
Asked whether he expected action by the United States because of the Lusitania’s sinking, Dr. Dernburg said:
That is a question I cannot discuss. I can only say that any ship flying the American flag and not carrying contraband of war is and will be as safe as a cradle. But any other ship, not so exempt, is as unsafe as a volcano—or as was the Lusitania.
When he was told that the Transylvania, another Cunard liner, sailed from New York on May 7, to cover the same route as the Lusitania, Dr. Dernburg said:
I can only say that the German warnings will reappear henceforth by advertisement. That is significant.
German Press Opinion
Contrasting with the attitude of the German-American press since the issuance of President Wilson’s note of May 13 to the German Imperial Government, the comment of the press in Germany has been in accordance with the German official statements put forth prior to the receipt of the American note. Under date of May 9, 1915, the following dispatch by The Associated Press was received from Berlin:
Commenting on the destruction Lusitania, the Berliner Tageblatt says:
With deep emotion we learn of the destruction of the Lusitania, in which countless men lost their lives. We lament with sincere hearts their hard fate, but we know we are completely devoid of blame.
We may be sure that through the English telegrams communicated to the world indignation will again be raised against Germany, but we must hope that calm reflection will later pronounce the verdict of condemnation against the British Admiralty.
The many who are now sorrowing may raise complaint against Winston Spencer Churchill, First Lord of the British Admiralty, who, by conscienceless instructions which must bring him the curse of mankind, conjured up this cruel warfare....
The Lusitania was a warship on the list of English auxiliary cruisers and carried armament of twelve strongly mounted guns. She was more strongly mounted with guns than any German armored cruiser. As an auxiliary cruiser she must have been prepared for attack.
Count von Reventlow, the naval expert, says, in the Tages Zeitung:
The American Government probably will make the case the basis for diplomatic action, but it could have prevented the loss of American lives by appropriate instructions. It is the American Government’s fault, therefore, if it did not take Germany’s war zone declarations seriously enough.