The RMS Titanic - Preface
WHITE STAR LINES' RMS TITANIC may be one of the greatest tragedies of all time. Sailing at speeds upwards of twenty knots, and boasting more safety innovations than any previous vessel, including a state of the art watertight compartment system, the Titanic was mechanically the greatest ship capable of being built in 1912, or even many years later. Costing several hundred million dollars by today's standards and employing millions upon millions of manhours in construction, the entire project was to be man's greatest development in technology. And speed, safety, and size were not the only features of this leviathan steamship. Luxury and passenger comfort were unparalleled. Featuring everything from ankle-deep carpeting and meticulously engraved wood paneling to lavishly upholstered staterooms and million-dollar artwork, the first-class sections of the ship were to unriveled by even the most elegant hotels, restaurants, and mansions. And even second- and third-class rooms were to be a step above all other liners. This colossal liner was to display man's technological prowess in a giant that truly dominated the seas. But in perspective, the ship only showed off man's futlity. In trying to dominate nature and create what was often described as "unsinkable, even by God himself", man created a catastrophe that just illustrated how great the forces we were to dominate actually were. In what can truly be described as a classic Greek tragedy, the Titanic encountered terrible misfortune. The beautiful weather of the day had made the night impossible to spot icebergs. The lookout's binoculars had been curiously "misplaced" in Southampton prior to departure. The ship had received a total of six ice warnings, yet only posted one of them in the bridge. The ship's speed was increased to arrive in New York a day earlier, making reaction time even slimmer. The ship would have been saved had the watertight compartment doors been extended just two decks higher. The accident would have been avoided altogether if the ship had just noticed the berg seconds earlier... or seconds later. But no single one of these events would have had any effect on the outcome of the voyage alone; the combination of all events was what sent the ship to the bottom of the ocean. And, unfortunately, because of the arrogance of designers, builders, and lawmakers who deemed it unnecessary to provide enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew, the ship not only proved costly to White Star but to the families and friends of the 1523 people who went down with the ship. This is their story. The story of the R.M.S. Titanic.