Lusitania Kinsale
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The Lusitania

The sinking of the Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale on May 7th 1915 in the early years of World War One has been described as the first major civilian atrocity and part of the reason why President Wilson eventually abandoned the U.S. policy of neutrality in April 1917. At the beginning of the war the so-called Cruiser Rules had meant that crews were allowed abandon ship before they were sunk as a result of an attack by enemy ships or submarines. Because of the change in British policy instigated by Winston Churchill to advise ships to ram submarines and even engage in gunfire, the German policy of warning shipping also changed and casualty rates increased.