Wars and preparation for wars often bring about advances in technology.

The first two decades of the 20th century saw some of the greatest advances in weapons and propulsion technology.

But there is another side of American maritime history that tends to focus on luxury travel and convenience.

Although these to facets seem almost contradictory, the goals of the ocean liner companies and the goals of those navies that protect these massive floating-palaces were intricately linked, indeed, they often crossed and intertwined.

The competition among the luxury ship lines during the first half of the 20th century was a kind of warfare in itself.

These companies staked their reputations (and their bottom lines) on the public’s perception that only their company owns and operates the finest fastest most luxurious ships on the world’s oceans.

That designation attracted customers and glory for the ship owners and many designers, builders, sailors and staff spent much of their lives dedicated to winning the reputation of Queen of the Seas for their company’s best ships.

This week we’ll examine these massive ships and explore the advances and modifications in the technology of the early twentieth century that helped make possible these new types of enormous luxury and travel machines and how their creation and use affected our American maritime world today.


How to successfully complete assignment #1.

  • Watch SPEED MACHINES:The Great Atlantic Liners (site below)
  • Now use your notes, or review the documentary, and create a 20-question quiz based on this documentary.
  • Your quiz questions should be worded in such a way that the answer would demonstrate that the person taking the quiz has viewed and understood the basic premises of the documentary.
  • You must include the answers with the quiz that you submit.
  • Each thought-provoking question must be composed in the form of a full sentence.
  • Each answer must be composed of a full sentence as well.

SPEEED MACHINES: The Great Atlantic Liners



Question:  According to this documentary, why were the RMS Titanic and her sister ships the first major ocean liners equipped with Marconi Wireless Telegraphy?

Answer: According to this documentary, the RMS Titanic and her sister ships were the first major ocean liners equipped with Marconi Wireless Telegraphy because, in 1912, it was the newest and best technology yet tested for communication with ships at seaand the ship’s owners desired the best for their own ships


How to successfully complete assignment #2.

  • Watch this documentary (site below).
  • In 600 words or more, discuss the historical significance and the importance of this era of the great ocean liners.
  • Explain how these massive vessels affected the military, economic and even social history of the United States, and discuss the future of this type of massive cruise vessels in the future?
  • Explain your answers using examples gleaned from the documentary.



How to successfully complete assignment #3.

  • Watch this short documentary about the SS United States (site below).
  • Use the information gleaned from this documentary to explain in 600 words or more how the story of this ship still affects American values today.
  • Include three ways that the S.S. United States is connected with the SUNY Maritime College.



How to successfully complete this BONUS opportunity.

  • Read page 130 of this article from a 1978 academic journal article
  • According to this article why was the SS UNITED STATES ‘THE FASTEST OCEANLINER EVER’?



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