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Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That…

Athenia Torpedoed: The U-boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the…

by Francis M. Carroll

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Seeing as the sinking of the passenger ship "Athenia" is one of those footnotes to World War II that most students of the conflict know more of than about, the author has done a signal service of providing a concise narrative of the escape, rescue and repatriation of the crew and passengers of the ship. As for why this event remained such a footnote, much of it probably boils down to plausible deniability. This is as the German government recognized that they had a major embarrassment on their hands and went to great lengths to dodge culpability; even if some of the claims aroused even more justified suspicion. To be honest, by the time the truth was known that the assailant of the "Athenia" was the "U-30," there were greater atrocities to be concerned with; unrestricted submarine warfare was simply how business was done.

As for what the author takes away from the story (over and above an epic of survival), his argument is that dealing with this incident was the beginning of the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was a demonstration from Day One of World War II in the West that this was a North American war too. ( )
  Shrike58 | Feb 6, 2013 |
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