How the sinking of the Titanic changed the world

The RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912.  (Coast Guard photo)

The RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage in 1912. (Coast Guard photo)

Everyone has heard about the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, but 98 years removed we have little connection to the disaster other than watching a movie or documentary.  In the world of 1912, the April 14th sinking of the world’s largest, most advanced ship shook the world.

Much like everyone remembers where they were on 9/11, the sinking of the Titanic captured the attention of the planet.  It was possibly the first truly global disaster for mankind. With victims from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and even Africa, not even the plague in the Middle Ages reached so many corners of the world.

The international outcry was strong and the world’s maritime powers acted swiftly.  The U.S. sent the Navy to patrol the North Atlantic to search out icebergs and broadcast warnings.  The following year the Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor to the modern Coast Guard, was placed in charge of the U.S. ice monitoring operations and still does so today, issuing warnings from February to July each year.

Also in 1913 the first Safety of Life at Sea Convention was convened and global shipping standards were set that greatly improved safety at sea.

Many of those implementations remain in affect.  Still today SOLAS standards affect everything from life jackets to radios and the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency which safety standards, was also a product of the convention.

Ultimately, 13 nations committed to share the costs of monitoring ice in the North Atlantic and the International Ice Patrol was born.

Dr. Donald Murphy, chief scientist at the International Ice Patrol, discusses the impact of the Titanic sinking.  Click the image to watch the video.

Dr. Donald Murphy, chief scientist at the International Ice Patrol, discusses the impact of the Titanic sinking. Click the image to watch the video.

This week on the Compass we’ll be patrolling the North Atlantic with a Coast Guard IIP team.  To the right is a video featuring Dr. Donald Murphy, the Coast Guard’s chief scientist at IIP, who talks about the effects of the Titanic’s sinking and the global response.  Tomorrow we’ll be covering the team’s participation in a memorial service in Halifax, Canada, before flying north to patrol from Saint John’s around Baffin Bay, Labrador and Newfoundland through the weekend.  You can follow all our posts in this series with this tag.

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  • Justsomegirl24

    thanks!! i am writing a paper on the year 1912 so in part the titanic theis has been a big help!!!

  • John Bonheiffer

    You said “It the world of 1912, the April 14th sinking of the world’s largest, most advanced ship shook the world.” What does that mean?

  • LT S. M. Young

    I believe it was a typo, Sir. Just fixed it. Thank you for reading!

    Very Respectfully,
    Lt. Stephanie Young
    Coast Guard Public Affairs

  • http://twitter.com/LettyLibrarian Letty Nardone

    Thank you very much for your informative site. I am a high school librarian. I always teach my students to verify their sources when researching. I found your site with my search strategy and yours was the first result on Google. This is an excellent site for the social studies unit “turning points” in world history.

  • CMcallen

    This is helping me with my National History Day website! Make sure you check it out! URL will be posted soon.

  • loganmadrie@gmail.com

    thanks this helped me for my newspaper article i have for my class(:

  • lavescia

    I guess