GREAT BRITAIN (British Copy of the German) Lusitania Propaganda Medal by Karl Goetz 55.5mm Medal 77.02 grams (BHM 4118; Eimer 1941A, type b) World War I. The medals vary in weight, but most examples that I have seen are about 60 grams.
On May 7, 1915, the passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by German submarine U-20 in British waters. Of the passengers, 1,198 drowned, including many women and children and 124 U.S. citizens. Public outrage spun quickly around the world.
U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing wrote of the reactions: “The news of the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, sent a wave of horror throughout the country, particularly the East. The public denunciation of German barbarism was bitter. Many newspapers were outspoken in demanding an immediate severance of diplomatic relations with Germany, and no small number clamored for war.”
Obverse: Lusitania sinking, its stern submerged to left while its bow, laden with armaments, rises clear out of the water, KEINE BANN WARE! / DER GROSS-DAMPFER LUSITANIA DURCH EIN DEUTSCHES TAUCHBOOT VERSENKT 5. MAY 1915 (Translates: No Contraband Goods – The Liner Lusitania Sunk By A German Submarine 5 May 1915 – on Goetz’s original the date read 5. MAI 1915)
Reverse: depicts Death, in the form of a skeleton, behind the ticket office counter of the Cunard Line in New York, issuing tickets to a crush of passengers. Above the window are the words ‘CUNA LINIE’. Arranged vertically and below the counter are the words ‘FAHRKARTEN AUSGABE’ (‘ticket office’). At the extreme left of the crowd a man reads a newspaper bearing the headline ‘U BOOT GEFAHR’ (‘U-boat danger’) and standing next to him is a top-hatted and bearded figure, a representation of the German Ambassador to the USA Count Johann-Heinrich von Bernstorff, raising a warning finger. The significance of this reference is that on 1 May 1915, the day Lusitania sailed from New York, a German-sponsored announcement appeared next to the Cunard advertisement in all New York papers reminding passengers that Germany was at war with Britain and her allies and that the war zone included the waters around the British Isles, and that vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, were liable to destruction in British waters. The reverse text along the upper edge, ‘GESCHÄFT ÜBER ALLES’, translates to ‘Business above all’. The initials of the designer, ‘KG’, can be seen in the space along the bottom.
For the full details of how this German designed propaganda medal was to become a powerful propaganda medal for the the British, please click on the link below
From the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association website is a link to an article by Randy Nelson
Photo of the ship is not included