The Instigator
1Historygenius
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
FaustianJustice
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Titanic Conspiracy Theory

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
1Historygenius
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,156 times Debate No: 76288
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)

 

1Historygenius

Con

This debate regards the infamous Titanic conspiracy theory promoted by some conspiracy theorists. The theory explains that the ocean liner RMS Titanic was actualy switched with her sister ship RMS Olympic. The Olympic, considered an unprofitable vessel, was then sunk to collect insurance money. I argue that this conspiracy theory is not credible and did not happen. My opponent must argue that the switch did happen.

Rules
No trolling
No semantics
No forfeits
FaustianJustice

Pro

Over the course of the next few rounds, it will be my intention to demonstrate the plausible deniablity, and immediate possibility that an alternate means of the alleged "Titanic" sinking might be found. It shall be demonstrated that the means, ability, and crew expectactions of the events resulted in a botched attempt to scuttle a vessel already stricken, and beyond salvage reasonable salvage.


I would encourage readers to immediately disregard the narrative set forth by nay-sayers in round one: clearly, they would be attempting to poison the well. We are already familiar with the events as told: there would be no reason to attempt to refute a a position not formed, much less discredit a narrative not yet told.

Unless of course, such a thing were possible.

Debate Round No. 1
1Historygenius

Con

I want to thank you for joining what I think will be an amazing debate. I probably should have referenced some sources to my opponent regarding the conspiracy. There are a few YouTube documentaries on the subject and I will place one on the subject. I will say that this is quite interesting when you first hear, but I believe it is torn apart once some real research is done, and I would rightly call myself a Titanic buff.

Phyiscal Differences

The biggest hole in this conspiracy. It is fair to call the Olympic and Titanic sister ships. The White Star Line had created this new Olympic class to take on Cunard's ocean liners. However, the ships are not entirely identical. In this case, I refer to the A-deck promenade deck on both ships. A-deck (the deck just under the boat deck) was designed very open on Olympic where people could enjoying strolling on the deck or sitting in deck chairs. The hole in the conspiracy is that changes were made to the Titanic, which has a promenade with enclosed smaller windows running roughly through the first half of A-deck. Here's the Titanic:

The RMS Titanic. Notice the A-deck promenade. Her forward windows are enclosed.

Everybody recognize the difference of the windows? Now here's the Olympic:

The RMS Olympic. The A-deck promenade on the Olympic has different forward windows than Titanic's.

Focus on A-deck. All windows are very open. This design was not as popular because water could spray onto the deck when it's stormy. The designers of the Olympic class ships decided to update Titanic with enclosed forward windows to avoid the spray of the water. A new feature on the Titanic was the first-class Cafe Parisien. There was now Cafe Parisien on the Olympic until after the sinking. The cafe was on B-deck in the promenade [1]:

The Cafe Parisien, it was a special resturant added to the Titanic that the Olympic did not have until after the sinking. The resturant was for first-class passengers and was went to look like a Paris sidewalk cafe.

As we can see, there were some big differences.

Insurance Sucks

The Titanic was actually underinsured by several million dollars:

"Little did they know when this sheet of paper was signed off that the worst case scenario would come true just 15 days later.

The original insurance certificate covering the ‘total loss’ of the Titanic for $5million (£3.1million) was revealed today, showing the cover was taken out two weeks before the ship sank in April 1912.

And a handwritten amendment at the foot of the policy suggested the ship’s owners only insured the vessel for her sea trials and delivery journey from Belfast to Southampton as an afterthought." [2]


1. Lynch, Donald, Ken Marschall, and Robert D. Ballard. Titanic: An Illustrated History. New York: Hyperion, 1992. Print.
2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

FaustianJustice

Pro

Over the course of this discussion, it is mine to demonstrate a conspiracy was afoot, not specifically that any one conspiracy, or reason to conspire prevail. There was a switch: the whys and where fores are long since deposited at the bottom of the ocean, or their fellow conspirators dead and buried. That being the case, lets delve into this.

There were 3 ships in the White Star Line of the "Olympic" Class:

The RMS Olympic, The RMS Titanic, and the RMS Brittanic. With the exception of the Titanic, the other two variants of ships were pressed into military service. One was sank after striking a mine (the Brittanic), the other survived The Great War, and eventually went on to strike a few more ships (no kidding, here), and then die out as a cruise liner simply by virtue of technology and the market.


The Olympic, first off the line, was struck by a military vessel (The HMS Hawke) on September 20, 1911. The results of this caused extensive damage to the Olympic, however she was still barely sea worthy. Because of the nature of the collision, it was ruled that the military vessel, despite objective review and evidence to the contrary, was found to have the right of way, the incident was the Olympic's fault. Like most insurance of the time, such negligence voided a payout. This meant the Olympic was already operationally in the hole before every carrying one paying customer. We call this "motive".


Fortunately, the occurrence did not sink the Olympic, but did give her a few character flaws, such as a noticeable list to port. Another fortunate circumstance was that the dry dock to repair the stricken vessel was close by... and had suitable replacement parts immediately available. I know what you are wondering: where on earth could such replacement parts for a new line of massive cruise liner be available? The Olympic is featured on the left. The Titanic on the right. We call this "means".



https://en.wikipedia.org... for failure to load, and a zoomed in picture of what the Titanic was sporting at the time.


So, here we have the Titanic, pre-installment of the "windows" to the promenade. You will also notice, that contrary to the 2 pictures presented by the believer of the White Star Narrative, there is NO name on either prow at this time. Robin Garner makes use of historical witness and record to reveal that for unknown reasons, the traditional linoleum of that class of ship was carpeted over in the "Titanic". This was done to cover the wear and tear currently that the now re-named Olympic had. Further more, when the Olympic turned Titanic left port, it had adopted a peculiar (but familiar!) character flaw. She had a list to port. (Robin Gardiner, Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?)


Surely, though, other aspects of the ship must be noticeable, correct? Not so much. As it stands, the name of the Titanic was tacked on, seemingly as an afterthought, and no other "hard" fixtures bore the name of the vessel. No life preservers bore the name other than the generic "White Star", and the life boats had much the same. It is quite possible that in the hustle and bustle of attempting to move the pieces and parts to keep the narrative afloat (PUN!) that enough life boats simply were not moved over.

Con suggests that the insurance was undervalued by several million. Not so much, again!

The construction costs for both the Titanic AND the Olympic ran about 3 million pounds for BOTH vessels. A 3.1 million pound insurance clause for one ship would have paid a tidy profit. Pro even suggests that the insurance for the duration time trials was added on as an afterthought: there were people paying that knew better, the time trials would serve no purpose other than to get the vessel out in the open shipping lanes where a bit more danger could be found.


The stage has been set, and the players have their roles, all that we need to do now is find an act of God that we can reliably use. Again, I know what you the reader might be thinking: isn't that dangerous? Of course, but consider this, the Olympic was struck by a military vessel purpose built to ram and sink ships. After such an incident, the Olympic didn't sink! With the stop gap repairs complete, the construction of the White Star line of this class was proven, striking an iceberg seemed hardly too much of a threat. With no port to put the stricken vessel in, it would simply be a matter of time before the Olympi-Tanic succumbed to her wounds, and that would be that; press hard for that check, three carbons! Despite iceberg warnings, Titanic traveled full steam on its voyage until the faithful time it met its destiny. The full steam ahead, coupled with the previous damage made the plan seem perfectly chaotic. The iceberg ripped into the hull, and despite belief to the contrary such was possible, true chaos crept into the plan.


From there a catastrophic series of events, ranging from incompetent/uninformed officers to confusion about what signals to send for distress took its toll. Simply put, the support systems expected in the area to prevent the situation from escalating were not there.



Debate Round No. 2
1Historygenius

Con

Physical Differences

I want to thank my opponent for continuing this fun debate. My opponent argues that the ships could be easily swapped when the A-deck promenade was not designed. There's a problem with my opponent's argument. The physical featues within the ship such as the room created for the Cafe Parisian was already constructed. The crew who boarded the Titanic and the Olympic after the switch would have noticed that significant difference. Don't think the Olympic's crew would not be confused by the addition of a French resturant reserved for wealthy first-class passengers. Even when the windows weren't change, there were other outside differences. I see what my opponent did there by making the picture of the two ships small. Let's zoom in close and look at an important difference:

The Titanic and Olympic have physical differences with their bridge wings.

The Olympic on the left has a bridge wing that lines perfectly with the wall of the other decks. The Titanic on the right has a bridge wing that sticks out. We can see this again if we look at the Titanic docked for the voyage with the finish of the A-deck promenade windows:

Titanic bridge

Now let's look at the Olympic again:

Olympic bridge

It is hard to see, but the bridge wings fit right above the pillars of A-deck, which is not so on the Titanic. Additionally, look at the Hawke damage that shows on the bow. It's not like people wouldn't notice this when the ships were switched. Most of that damage is hidden by a tugboat in the picture of the two ships, but if the front a paint job would be noticed at a closer distance. Finally, keep in mind that pictures aren't what they are now. It's difficult to see the names of the two ships in some pictures because of the distance, but makes no mistake, the Titanic went down and the names are there in that picture as they are in the wreck:




When trying to find evidence that the Olympic had a list to port, I researched that Gardner's argument was a bent keel from the collision with the Hawke. There's is no evidence that the keel was actually damaged as proven by historians Steve Hall and Bruce Beveridge as well as another from Mark Chirnside. [1,2]

Insurance

Everyone knows that the Titanic cost a total of $7.5 million, far more than the $5 million in insurance. The Titanic was under insured by several million dollars and it's important to keep in mind that the disaster truly did shake the world. The White Star Line eventually went bankrupt and Cunard won the rivalry primarily because the Titanic sank and business for the White Star Line was wounded. When the Titanic went down, the White Star Line and the mother trust International Mercantile Marine owned by J.P. Morgan, had to deal with the mighty task of insurance after the sinking. [3]

1. Hall, Steve, Bruce Beveridge, and Art Braunschweiger. Titanic or Olympic?: Which Ship Sank?: The Truth behind the Conspiracy. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History, 2012. Print.
2. http://www.markchirnside.co.uk...;
3. http://www.digitaltrends.com...
FaustianJustice

Pro

I think I should address a few things my opponent has brought to the table:

"There's a problem with my opponent's argument. The physical features within the ship such as the room created for the Café Parisian was already constructed. "

The images pictured, to me, don't quite do the perspective justice. Here is a more complete side by side, to give the viewer an idea how easy it would be to tack on a few cosmetic features. As such, I feel this is a much more complete view, and demonstrates that the assertions made aren't 100% correct, or at the very least, amendable with a chunk of time spent in the docks, much as both vessels did. The difference my opponent indicates is much more exaggerated by comparison when the position of the camera is more to a front view of both vessels. Secondly, in the previous round, I put a thumb nail of the picture in, and left a link, full size, to show the two ships in detail. If you were to follow the link, it takes you to a much larger photograph in which its clear that the names of the ship aren't affixed yet.







My opponent has graciously afforded a picture of the Olympic, and then proceeds to engage in a text book straw man. I have not indicated what damage might have caused a list to port. I have made no claims of keel damage, only that "both" vessels had that tell tale impediment. To summarily enter and then dismiss evidence is a distraction. Below is the Olympic from the port side (the side with the list). I will leave it to the readers to surmise as to whether repairs, hasty or otherwise, to this damage could cause such a list. The actual facts entered were that "both" vessels had it, and it was witnessed and recorded by a person aboard the boat with the credentials to recognize such.


My opponent, though, does unwittingly add something of value: In the picture posted regarding the Olympic's Starboard damage (the image with the 2 red boxes), please refer to the plain as day name. "Olympic". Now, please refer to my previously linked side by side image of the Titanic and Olympic that shows both starboard sides. I challenge the viewer to find any name on either vessel.

"Everyone knows that the Titanic cost a total of $7.5 million, far more than the $5 million in insurance. "

Almost everyone. " Cost considerations were relatively low on the agenda and Harland and Wolff was authorised to spend what it needed on the ships, plus a five percent profit margin.[7] In the case of the Olympic-class ships, a cost of £3 million for the first two ships was agreed plus "extras to contract" and the usual five percent fee.[8]"

https://en.wikipedia.org...

White Star was clearly interested in getting the money back on the contract build cost of the vessel, not specifically its appraised value. Given the nature of how hard it would be to insure every piece of linen, dish, flat ware, mattress, etc, it would simply be much easier to try and gain back the raw cost, and then sink it into a new ship (another pun!), or possibly upgrade the 2 remaining sister ships in the fleet.


"The crew who boarded the Titanic and the Olympic after the switch would have noticed that significant difference. Don't think the Olympic's crew would not be confused by the addition of a French restaurant reserved for wealthy first-class passengers. " This assumes that crew wasn't switched, too, or if it was the same crew at all for either vessel. This argument preys upon the exact same circumstance being applied to both vessels, and that the crew compliment was full enough to know or care. We are talking about vessels that have been in its service life for only a handful of months, asking a crew to know of each intimate detail after time spent in dry docks. There is nothing preventing the crew from being reassigned, switched, dismissed or added anew from another pool through the usual staffing means.

Now, as luck would have it, I am about to go on a cruise myself. Sadly, I won't be able to offer much further in the way of linked evidence or inserted pictures for the next round, however I will be able to make a text based summary and conclusion. This is not meant to dissuade my opponent from using whatever means they desire, just to inform readers and opposition of my circumstance.

Debate Round No. 3
1Historygenius

Con

Physical Differences

It's important to understand that we aren't just talking about looking at the ship from a camera angle. There are crew up and next to these ocean liners who can easily tell the difference. When seeing it, countless red flags would have been raised. Additionally, I have underestimated the differences between the two ships on B-deck. Aside from the Cafe Parisian, another first-class resturant called the A La Carte was added along with larger staterooms and parlour suites because of how unpopular Olympic's b-deck was. In fact, looking over the deck plans, whole corridors from Olympic are gone on both the starboard and port sides when these designs were built on Titanic. Now for some reason, these deck plans failed to upload, so I am asking the readers of this debate to go page 21 of the dissertation I am providing. It is my first source. [1]

The reason I talked about the port side list is because we have to understand why the Olympic was listing, which according to Gardiner was keel damage. It is an important part of the conspiracy that I wanted to use to show how had the credibility is of my opponent's source, which is important when understanding the entire conspiracy. I now want to put forward the reason why there was a list to port on Titanic, which was noticed by second-class passenger Lawrence Beesely. He was told by a purser that there was probably more coal being stored on the port side of the Titanic rather than the starboard side thus weighing the ship down. [2]

We also know, as a simple fact, that the crew of the two ships wasn't switched. Many crew had either worked or not worked on Olympic before, but the crew that was going to be on the Titanic was long decided. One of the few exceptions is Chief Officer Henry Wilde.

Insurance

That still does not justify that it would be a bad idea business wise. Not to mention that White Star did keep track of everything they spent, we have the records. After all, it's not like people are going out to stores and buying whatever. They ask for a specific amount and they can easily insure it through the total cost of all tables, bed linens, etc. It's easy to insure like that. The way White Star did insure did not guarantee a profit. The Titanic, a ship considered "practically unsinkable" by independent experts, is a disaster that scarred 1912 society. When it happened, White Star began a long process of decline. Sinking an ocean liner with that great loss of life killed a company and an era. There's more to business than just insurance and after the sinking not many people wanted to travel on WSL ships. A disaster of this magnitude was financial murder.

Conclusion

I have made the case that this switch and conspiracy is impossible. There are too many physical differences between the Titanic and the Olympic. The Titanic was underinsured, so no profit would have been reaped.

Sources

1. http://www.markchirnside.co.uk...
2. http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org...
FaustianJustice

Pro

This is part of my 40 dollar reply segment.

So, the immediate answer I have is that my opponent has constructed a narrative that they would prefer to debate, not specific to the argument at hand. Look, we are not asking for Bruce Wayne and Batman to be in the same area, here. They literally shared a dry dock and shared parts for a good chunk of time.

Because I am on a 40 dollar reply via cruise ship, I don't mind stating that a few bucks here and there makes the crew a might forgetful. In the case of the Olympi-Tanic, perhaps those crew members that were so easily bribed were fated to be on a boat whose survival was in question.

My opponent declares they have made the case that such a switch was impossible. Impossible is a tall order to clear with 100 plus years of time, dead witnesses, and pictures that offer no immediate difference in boats beyond suggested perspective. Titanic sat in dock for a while as her resources were diverted to the Olympic, but why do such a thing on a vessel that was not expected to operate at a 100 percent ability? If the means and potential existed, why not exploit it? If the "Olympic" was on sea trials so close to the Titanic post iceberg, why not lend aid? The questions being to multiply when looking at ship records regarding propellers, shafts, and sheer time that could have been diverted to much such an enterprise advantageous to White Star.

Sadly, this expends my time I can devote to my final argument, but I am currently on a vessel, and with the current questions raised from White Star, regarding the refurbishments of the boat I am on now... I have questions.

Do you have questions?

Did my opponent answer them?

Then you know how to vote. Bon Voyage. ;)
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FaustianJustice 1 year ago
FaustianJustice
True. I have a debate on the "Rebel" flag right now, of people that said they were watching, only one vote. http://www.debate.org...
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
Thanks for the only real vote Subutai. So sad that an interesting debate only got one. We need more active voters on debate.org
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
LOL History lasts for thousands of years. 24 hours is such a shooooooooort time.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
24 hours is still a loooooooong time.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
2 more days. You have plenty of time, relax lol.
Posted by Death23 1 year ago
Death23
I'll probably vote on it. It's a long debate though. It might take a couple hours to work it out fairly.
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
Someone vote please!
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Seems interesting. I have the next few days off, I may come back to this.
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
1Historygenius
The conspiracy is actually very interesting, but I don't find it credible at all as will be revealed.
Posted by FaustianJustice 1 year ago
FaustianJustice
No one is going to accept that doesn't enjoy "fun", Gabep. I, on the other hand, do enjoy a bit of fun.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 1 year ago
Subutai
1HistorygeniusFaustianJusticeTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: To me, a lot of pro's arguments regarding the physical similarities between the two ships seems more heresay to me. Pro chalks up similarities to major structural changes that happened within a few weeks of the sinking, which seems rather unlikely to me. Pro's case for motive was very weak - even though the Olympic had been damaged, deliberately sinking it seems like suicide. Any sinking would make the company seem to pilot unsafe vessels. Any possible immediate financial windfall they may have received would be quickly turn to nought, and the people running White Star must have foreseen that. Not to mention, con seemed to prove his point regarding the underinsured nature of the Titanic. For these reasons, I don't think pro met his burden showing that the sinking was a conspiracy.
Vote Placed by Death23 1 year ago
Death23
1HistorygeniusFaustianJusticeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: .