False Flag at Sea

The Lusitania, Woodrow Wilson, and the Deceptions that Dragged America into World War I

This is a long article. But World War I – which was the first global war, and claimed as many as 65 million lives – has nearly been forgotten about. This article contains many suppressed facts, and I hope you come away from it with a better understanding of how the present connects to the past.

The Mighty Lusitania

(Note: For those who would prefer to read this post in hard copy, it is Chapter Two of my book Thirteen Pieces of the Jigsaw.)

As discussions crop up of a Third World War possibly arising from tensions in the Middle East or Ukraine, it is apt to examine the First World War, whose 100th anniversary falls this year. America’s entanglement in that war, like so many others, was engineered through a false flag.

In 1915, Britain was at war with Germany. The United States was still neutral. On May 7, the Lusitania, a British ocean liner en route from America to England, was sunk by a German submarine some 12 miles off Ireland’s southern coast. There were 764 survivors, but nearly 1,200 people, including 128 Americans, lost their lives. The Lusitania – which had been the world’s largest ship when launched in 1906 – went down in just 18 minutes after a single torpedo hit. Survivors reported there had been two explosions – a smaller one followed moments later by an enormous one. This was affirmed by the log of the U-20, the submarine which sank her.

The tragedy was portrayed to the public as the wanton slaughter of women and children. It became the subject of a relentless propaganda campaign, including a fabricated claim that German children were given a holiday from school to celebrate the sinking. The Lusitania was the most important in a series of pretexts used to generate the eventual U.S. declaration of war on Germany.

Lusitania Posters

Remember the Lusitania

Lusitania poster 9

Understanding Germany’s U-boat Policies

After the war began in 1914, Britain immediately began a naval blockade of Germany, intercepting merchant ships and strewing the North Sea with mines. Since the British classified even foodstuffs as “contraband,” the Germans had to ration food. By all estimates, several hundred thousand people ultimately died of starvation due to the blockade.

Germany’s decision to blockade Britain was retaliatory. Since the British possessed naval superiority, Germany’s only means of blockade was through its U-boat force. Although the U.S. media characterized sub warfare as barbaric, British mines were just as lethal as German torpedoes. Furthermore, while the Germans normally only targeted ships of belligerent nations (sparing neutrals), the British blockade was indiscriminate, barring neutral as well as belligerent ships.

In the war’s early stages, U-boats observed the “Cruiser Rules” that had been established under international law (e.g., at the Hague Conventions). Before sinking a merchant vessel, they would surface, and allow the ship’s crew to evacuate in lifeboats.

This changed, however, thanks to new rules unilaterally instituted by the British Admiralty, then headed by Winston Churchill. The British began arming their merchant ships. As Colin Simpson notes in The Lusitania:

From October 1914 onward a steady stream of inflammatory orders were issued to the masters of British merchant ships. It was made an offense to obey a U-boat’s orders to halt. Instead masters must immediately engage the enemy, either with their armament if they possessed it, or by ramming if they did not. Any master who surrendered his ship was to be prosecuted, and several were.1

One British merchantman was paid a bounty of $3,300 for ramming a submarine. Thus both a carrot and stick goaded merchantmen to engage subs.

The Germans faced an inescapable dilemma. As warships, subs were fragile. One shot from even a low-caliber cannon could sink a U-boat. By the time of the Lusitania incident, merchantmen had sunk several. Walter Schweiger, commander of the sub that sank the Lusitania, had already narrowly escaped an attempted ramming. Although U-boat captains continued to exercise discretion, they were usually unwilling to surface and risk destruction by observing the Cruiser Rules which Britain herself had abandoned.

Schweiger & Churchill
Schweiger; Churchill as head of Admiralty

Why Churchill Broke the Rules

Prior to the Lusitania’s sinking, Winston Churchill wrote to Walter Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, that it is “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.”2 In his postwar book The World Crisis, Churchill wrote: “The maneuver which brings an ally into the field is as serviceable as that which wins a great battle.”3

The first British counter-move, made on my responsibility in 1915 was to arm British merchantmen to the greatest possible extent with guns of sufficient power to deter the U-boat from surface attack. . . . As the U-boats were forced by the progressive arming of the British Mercantile Marine to rely increasingly on under-water attacks, they encountered a new set of dangers. The submerged U-boat with its defective vision ran the greatest risk of mistaking neutral for British vessels and of drowning neutral crews, and thus of embroiling Germany with other great Powers.4

To Churchill’s disappointment, however, U-boat captains scrupulously avoided attacking American ships. The next best thing, therefore, was to have a British ship sunk with American passengers on board. Churchill had Commander Joseph Kenworthy, of the Political Section of Naval Intelligence, submit a report on what the political results would be of such a sinking. The Lusitania became the fulfillment of Churchill’s objectives. This false flag involved coordination on both sides of the Atlantic. The political background requires us to digress from the Lusitania momentarily.

The Bankers’ Handmaiden

Woodrow Wilson had been elected President in 1912. Given that the former Princeton professor had only one year of political experience (as governor of New Jersey), this was a miracle that only the American “Establishment” (less politely called Illuminati) could have pulled off. Among Wilson’s top financial angels were munitions manufacturer Cleveland Dodge (National City Bank/Rockefellers) and banker Jacob Schiff (Kuhn, Loeb Bank/Rothschilds).

“Wall Street” Republicans had ruled the White House for 16 years, but with a vociferous reform movement growing within the party, under the auspices of men like Senator Robert La Follette and Congressman Charles Lindbergh, Sr., the bankers were content to let the Republican Party cool off and put their trust in Wilson. With J. P. Morgan’s backing, former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt was trotted out as the candidate of the short-lived “Bull Moose” Party. His candidacy split Republican votes between himself and incumbent President William Howard Taft. This allowed Wilson, the Democratic Party candidate, to win the election with only 42 percent of the popular vote. Since Roosevelt spoke loudly (though with tongue in cheek) about “reform,” he also helped derail La Follette’s attempt to secure the Republican nomination.

According to Curtis Dall (President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s son-in-law), Wilson pledged to banker Bernard Baruch to do four things if elected President:

  • lend an ear to advice on who should occupy his cabinet;
  • support creation of a central bank (i.e., the Federal Reserve);
  • support creation of the income tax;
  • lend an ear to advice should war erupt in Europe.5

How swiftly Wilson fulfilled these pledges! These were still the days, of course, before the Council on Foreign Relations – chief recruiting ground for Presidential cabinets over the last century – existed. Wilson’s cabinet was said to have been handpicked by “Colonel” Edward Mandell House, CFR founder. He was a Wall Street front man who lived in the White House, wielding such influence that Harper’s Weekly called him “Assistant President House.” (His role paralleled that of Harry Hopkins, who later lived in the White House during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency, acting as the liaison to Bernard Baruch.)

House, Wilson & Baruch
Wilson & House; Bernard Baruch

1913 – Wilson’s first year in office – saw establishment of both the Federal Reserve and income tax (the latter was ratified the month before his inauguration). The Federal Reserve gave the bankers the authority to set interest rates (and thus toggle the stock market at will) and to create money from nothing, which would flow into their multinational banks and corporations. Colonel House’s official biographer, Charles Seymour (Skull & Bones), called House the “unseen guardian angel” of the Federal Reserve Act.6

Income tax (which the banksters had no intention of substantially paying themselves) gave them a lien on Americans’ earning power, to pay for (among other things) the interest the bankers would collect on loans to the government. Both the original central bank legislation, as well as the income tax amendment, were introduced in Congress by Senator Nelson Aldrich, whose daughter married John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; he was the maternal grandfather of CFR chairman David Rockefeller.

Once the Federal Reserve and income tax were in place, only one thing was still needed: a significant reason for America to borrow. In June 1914, six months after the Federal Reserve Act passed, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, triggering the start of World War I. America participated; as a result, our national debt grew from a manageable $1 billion to $25 billion.

The war would not only yield billions in profits for the Illuminati, but would, with the League of Nations, incipiently fulfill their dream of a world government. But how to entangle America in the war? Here the interests of the British and American Establishments coincided in the Lusitania’s sinking.

A False Flag Foreknown

Our ambassador to England under Wilson was the militantly pro-British Walter Hines Page. During his tenure, he received a private annual stipend of $25,000 (well over a half-million in today’s dollars) from munitions magnate Cleveland Dodge, so that he could live in “proper ambassadorial style.”7 (In realpolitik, this is normally called a “bribe.”)

On May 2, 1915 – five days before the Lusitania was sunk – Page wrote to his son: “If a British liner full of American passengers be blown up, what will Uncle Sam do? That’s what’s going to happen.”8

GreyEdward Mandell House was in England at this time as Wilson’s emissary. On the morning of the fateful 7th, House met with Edward Grey (left), Britain’s foreign minister. House recorded: “We spoke of the probability of an ocean liner being sunk, and I told him if this were done, a flame of indignation would sweep across America, which would in itself probably carry us into the war.”9 Later that day, House and Grey met with King George V at Buckingham Palace. House wrote: “We fell to talking, strangely enough, of the probability of Germany sinking a trans-Atlantic liner. . . . He [the king] said, ‘Suppose they should sink the Lusitania, with American passengers on board?’”10 (These quotes appear in Houses’s official biography, The Intimate Papers of Colonel House.)

These remarks betrayed foreknowledge that cannot be dismissed as coincidences chanced upon in casual conversation.

That evening, a splendid dinner was given honoring House; numerous British dignitaries attended, including Grey, and – at House’s request – Lord Mersey, the Wreck Commissioner, who would later oversee the inquiry regarding the Lusitania. During this dinner the news arrived of the great ship’s sinking. House announced to the assembled guests that America would enter the war within the month.

The following day, Ambassador Page cabled Wilson: “The freely expressed universal opinion is that the United States must declare war or forfeit European respect. So far as I know this opinion is universal. If the U.S. does come in, the moral and physical effect will be to bring peace quickly and to give the U.S. a great influence in ending the war and in so reorganizing the world as to prevent its recurrence. . . .”11 This remarkable cablegram reveals that the postwar restructuring of the world – which really occurred four years later at the Paris Peace Conference, where Wilson proposed the League of Nations – was envisioned from the outset. In Berlin, without even waiting for instructions, the American embassy began preparing to shut down.

As we will, see however, the Wilson-House-Page clique had overestimated Americans’ willingness to go to war over the Lusitania. But first: How was this false flag engineered? How did British and American officials know, in advance, that a submarine would likely target the ship? And that the attack would result in its being “blown up” and sunk? Why did the 32,000-ton ship vanish beneath the waves in just 18 minutes?

From Luxury Liner to Warship

The Cunard Line built the Lusitania and her sister ship Mauretania with loans from the British government, which also bestowed annual subsidies on Cunard for operational costs. In return for this, the Admiralty required that the ships be designed as auxiliary cruisers, available in wartime.

In February 1913, Winston Churchill informed Cunard chairman Alfred Booth that war with Germany was expected, estimating the outbreak as September 1914.12 (He was only off by a month.) In accordance with instructions, the Lusitania, like other British liners, was refitted to carry guns. There is dispute over whether she actually had cannon, but some testimony exists that she did, concealed on her lowest deck, where passengers were not allowed. The Lusitania was listed as an auxiliary cruiser in Jane’s Fighting Ships, a copy of which U-boat commanders kept on board to identify targets.

More importantly, the British used the Lusitania to ferry heavy loads of munitions from America to Britain. Since the U.S. government disallowed shipment of most munitions on passenger ships, the British got around this by submitting falsified manifests for the Lusitania. Wilson had appointed Dudley Field Malone as collector of customs for the port of New York. Malone rubber-stamped the manifests, knowing full well what was going on.

As submarine warfare increased, the situation became too much for the Lusitania’s captain, David Dow, who informed Cunard he could no longer mix carrying passengers with munitions. As a result, for the final voyage he was replaced by William Turner.

On that fateful crossing, the Lusitania was transporting six million rifle cartridges and more than 50 tons of shrapnel shells. But there were other items that provide possible clues to the mysterious second explosion that sank the ship after a single torpedo hit. One was guncotton, an explosive the British used in their mines (it was called gun“cotton” because in its manufacture, the chemicals were soaked in cotton).

In the U.S. Justice Department’s archives is an affidavit signed by Dr. E. W. Ritter von Rettegh, a chemist employed by Captain Guy Gaunt, the British naval attaché in Washington. Ritter von Rettegh stated that Gaunt called him to his office on April 26, 1915, and asked what the effect would be of sea water coming into contact with guncotton. The chemist explained that there were two types of gun cotton – trinitro cellulose, which sea water would not affect, and pyroxyline, which sea water could cause to suddenly explode, as a result of chemical changes that he explained in technical detail.13

The following day, Gaunt visited the Du Pont munitions plant in Christfield, New Jersey, and Du Pont thereupon shipped tons of pyroxyline, packaged in burlap, to the Cunard wharf in New York City, where it was loaded onto the Lusitania. It quite evidently accounts for the item on the ship’s manifest of 3,813 40-pound containers of “cheese,” which were shipped along with 696 containers of “butter.” That these packages were not butter and cheese is clear: they were not shipped in refrigerated compartments; their destination was listed as the Royal Navy’s Weapons Testing Establishment; and no one filed an insurance claim for the lost “butter and cheese.”14

Turner & Gaunt
Captain Turner (left); Guy Gaunt

Placing thousands of burlap containers of guncotton in the Lusitania’s hold would sharply increase the chances that a torpedo would make the ship – as Ambassador Page predicted – “be blown up.” Considering that the ship also carried tons of shrapnel shells and cartridges, the potential for devastation became even worse. One of the Lusitania’s survivors, Joseph Marichal, stated he had distinctly heard cartridges exploding, a sound he was familiar with as a former officer in the French army.

While Captain Gaunt’s interview with Dr. Ritter von Rettegh might have an innocent explanation, it is noteworthy that after submitting his affidavit, the chemist was arrested and charged with making “utterances prejudicial to the peace of the Nation.” He was tried in camera and sentenced to prison. Gaunt, on the other hand, was promoted to rear-admiral and knighted.

Other mysterious items appeared on the Lusitania’s manifest. One was 323 bales of “furs.” The furs originated from depots employed by Du Pont; the cargo was destined for the British company of B. F. Babcock, which was never involved in importing furs, but did import cotton used in making guncotton.15 Like the butter and cheese, no one ever filed an insurance claim on the “furs.”

Patrick O’Sullivan, in The Lusitania: Unravelling the Mysteries, advanced a theory that the explosion was touched off by aluminum powder, a highly combustible explosive; 46 tons were aboard, destined for the Woolrich Arsenal. Also stored with the cargo were 18 cases of percussion fuses consisting of mercury fulminate, which a torpedo could also have caused to explode.

Regardless of which item ignited first, the massive detonation which sank the ship did originate in the forward area holding her munitions.

German Warnings

German Ad


The Germans had little choice but to try to stop the Lusitania’s munitions from reaching England. But neither did they wish to provoke America by harming its citizens. On April 22, they ordered a conspicuous warning placed in fifty newspapers near the Cunard sailing notices, alerting potential passengers to the danger. This would have given the public a week’s notice. However, a State Department officer ordered the warning’s publication suppressed. On April 26, George Viereck, representing the Germans, obtained an audience with Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. Bryan immediately cleared the notice for publication, and also urged President Wilson to warn Americans. Wilson, however, always on the bankers’ puppet strings, declined to do so.

Setting the Trap

There was no guarantee, of course, that this false flag would occur, since it depended on a U-boat commander’s unpredictable actions. There were, however, probabilities. The British had broken Germany’s naval codes. While they could not pinpoint a sub’s exact location, intercepted radio signals provided abundant information about U-boats’ activities, destinations and general areas of operation. They were also well aware of the U-20’s presence in the Irish Sea that May, from reports of the sub sinking vessels.

On May 5 – two days before the tragedy – Winston Churchill met with Admiral Fisher (First Sea Lord), Admiral Oliver (Chief of Naval Staff), and Commander Joseph Kenworthy (Naval Intelligence), in the Admiralty’s map room. Here a great grid showed locations of British ships and hostile ships, marked with pins. The map showed the Lusitania and U-20 on a collision course. What was said is unrecorded, but Kenworthy wrote in his postwar book The Freedom of the Seas: “The Lusitania was deliberately sent at considerably reduced speed into an area where a U-boat was known to be waiting and with her escorts withdrawn.” However, the publisher deleted the word “deliberately” at the Admiralty’s insistence.16

Churchill with Admiral Fisher & Kenworthy
Churchill with Admiral Fisher; Kenworthy

The Admiralty could have safeguarded the Lusitania by rerouting her around the north of Ireland, where it knew no U-boats were operating. Especially damning was the failure to provide escorts. On previous voyages, destroyers had accompanied the Lusitania where submarines threats existed. On May 7, however, no destroyers were designated to protect her, even though four were lying idle in the nearby port of Milford Haven,17 and despite the U-20’s known presence in the south Irish Sea, where it had sunk two steamers the previous day. The only warship assigned to meet the Lusitania was an aging cruiser, the Juno. However, even the Juno was ordered back to the port of Queenstown on Ireland’s southern coast – on the justification that she was vulnerable to submarine attack!

Yet the Lusitania received no instructions to divert to Queenstown. On the evening of the 6th, Captain Turner assured his increasingly nervous passengers that, on entering the war zone the next day, they would be securely in the Royal Navy’s care. But when dawn broke, the Royal Navy was nowhere in sight. Turner was alone in the Irish Sea with a U-boat on the prowl. It is a matter of record that there were wireless communications with the Lusitania, but these messages’ transcripts have always been missing from the Admiralty’s files. Some suspect Turner requested permission to reroute the ship and was refused. Vice-Admiral Henry Coke, commanding defenses in this sector from his Queenstown headquarters, requested permission from the Admiralty to divert the Lusitania. He received no decision.

The U-20

Patrick Beesly was considered the leading authority on the history of British Naval Intelligence, in which he was long an officer. In his book Room 40, Beesly wrote:

Nothing, absolutely nothing was done to ensure the liner’s safe arrival . . . . I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hopes that even an abortive attack on her would bring the United States into the war. Such a conspiracy could not have been put into effect without Winston Churchill’s express permission and approval.18

The Cover-up

As soon as Vice-Admiral Coke received the report of the Lusitania’s SOS, he ordered the Juno to its rescue. The cruiser was in sight of the survivors in the water when it was recalled to Queenstown on the Admiralty’s orders – the pretext being that it, too, might be sunk by the submarine (which was now gone). Although this concern was legitimate, it undoubtedly cost considerable loss of life, for it was much longer after the Juno’s recall that other rescue craft – fishing smacks and patrol boats – began arriving.

Hundreds of bodies washed up on the Irish shore or were recovered by vessels. Another instruction the Admiralty sent Coke was “to ensure that bodies selected for the inquest had not been killed or mutilated by means which we do not wish to be made public.”19 What “means” could this have referred to, other than mutilation from the ship’s munitions?


Orders were also given to try to halt the inquest held by the local coroner, John Horgan, for fear that the Irish – whose rapport with England was tenuous – might render an unfavorable verdict. (This fear proved unfounded.)

Rites for Lusitania victims

In Britain, a formal inquiry into the sinking was to be held before Lord Mersey, who had also overseen the Titanic inquiry. However, well before it got underway, the Admiralty resolved to scapegoat the ship’s captain, William Turner:

  • Within a week of the sinking, Richard Webb, director of the Admiralty’s Trade Division, issued a report which said of Turner that “one is forced to conclude that he is either utterly incompetent, or that he had been got at by the Germans.”20
  • Admiral Lord Fisher concurred, saying that Turner “is not a fool but a knave. I feel absolutely certain that Captain Turner of the Lusitania is a scoundrel and been bribed. . . . I hope that Captain Turner will be arrested immediately after the Inquiry, whatever the verdict or finding may be.”21 And, he added, in his notations on Webb’s report: “Ought not Lord Mersey to get a hint?”22
  • Churchill responded that “we shall pursue the Captain without check.”23
  • Webb then wrote Lord Mersey: “I am directed by the Board of Admiralty to inform you that it is considered politically expedient that Captain Turner the master of the Lusitania be most prominently blamed for the disaster.”24

Thus, in violation of the traditions of justice, Lord Mersey was asked to render a verdict before the inquiry even began. The request came from the men responsible for denying the Lusitania protection.

Comparison to Pearl Harbor is apt. In that event, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and select officials had complete foreknowledge of the attack, which they denied to the commanders in Hawaii, Admiral Kimmel and General Short. Roosevelt then appointed an investigative body, the Roberts Commission, which laid all blame on Kimmel and Short. Roosevelt thus followed the example set 26 years earlier by his distant cousin Churchill. It bears mentioning that when the Lusitania sank, Franklin D. Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the same position held by another of his cousins, Theodore Roosevelt, when the USS Maine exploded in 1898, triggering the Spanish-American War.

MerseyAt the inquiry, held partly in camera, Lord Mersey (left) quashed all evidence of the Lusitania’s munitions. Captain Turner was never even asked what his cargo was. Mersey relied on a letter from Dudley Field Malone saying items on the ship’s manifest “were permitted to be shipped on passenger steamers under the laws of the United States.” Malone’s letter was unsworn (he declined to make a statement under oath) and referred only to the first one-page manifest, not its 24-page supplement.

Mersey’s report concluded that “the loss of the ship and lives was due to damage caused to the said ship by torpedoes fired by a submarine of German nationality whereby the ship sank.” However, Mersey was unwilling to crucify Captain Turner. There seem to have been two factors in this: (1) no substantive evidence was produced in court incriminating Turner, an able and veteran seaman; and (2) by the time of the verdict, Churchill had been dismissed from the Admiralty due to the disastrous Dardanelles (Gallipoli) campaign, so there was no longer any need to placate him.

Following the hearing, Mersey waived his fee for his work on it, asked to be excused from further justice duties, and told his children: “The Lusitania case was a damned dirty business.”25

In the United States, a separate hearing on the Lusitania was held much later under Judge Julius Mayer. The nature of the ship’s cargo had become increasingly known. Senator Robert La Follette publicly stated:

Four days before the Lusitania sailed, President Wilson was warned in person by Secretary of State Bryan that the Lusitania had 6,000,000 rounds of ammunition on board, besides explosives; and that passengers who proposed to sail on that vessel were sailing in violation of a statute of this country, that no passengers shall travel upon a railroad train or sail upon a vessel that carries dangerous explosives.26

American families who had lost loved ones sued the Cunard Line for allowing passengers to sail with contraband munitions. Dudley Field Malone was named as codefendant and, if convicted, could have been indicted for involuntary manslaughter. However, no evidence concerning the illicit cargo was heard at the hearing. Judge Mayer, relying in part on Mersey’s findings, ruled in favor of Cunard and against the claimants.

The Mayer hearing was missing a critical piece of evidence: the Lusitania’s original manifest. President Wilson personally sealed it in an envelope, marked it “Only to be opened by the President of the United States,” and had it hidden in the archives of the Treasury Department (which oversees the customs service). We know this because President Franklin D. Roosevelt later had it retrieved, and it turned up among his papers. (To see it, click here.)

The False Flag Falters

Although Colonel House and Ambassador Page had seemed confident the U.S. would declare war over the Lusitania, the American people didn’t share their zeal. They were upset by the sinking, but not enough to send their sons to European battlefields.

The case for war was baseless:

  • That the British were the first to violate the “Cruiser Rules” was not lost on everyone, especially German-Americans;
  • The effort to conceal the truth about the Lusitania’s munitions was only partially successful; many recognized that the British were using women and children to protect arms shipments – as State Department solicitor Cone Johnson put it, mixing “babies and bullets.”
  • Americans wishing to travel to England safely could easily do so by using U.S. ships or those of other neutral countries. Americans boarding British ships traveled at their own risk; they could no more claim immunity from German attack than an American who chose to ride on a British gun carriage on a battleground in France.

With the nation’s mood insufficient for war, Wilson and House began what would be a long series of diplomatic jousts calculated to provoke Germany into rupturing relations. After the Lusitania, Wilson demanded that Germany halt submarine warfare. The Germans replied that the Lusitania was an auxiliary cruiser carrying contraband munitions, and that Britain’s Admiralty had ordered all merchantmen to fire upon or ram surfaced submarines (they provided Wilson with copies of the British orders, which a U-boat crew had found on a captured vessel). Wilson’s reply denied the charges, asserting the United States had “enforced its statues with scrupulous vigilance through its regularly constituted officials and it is able therefore to assure the Imperial German Government that it has been misinformed.”

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan refused to sign this reply. He had long striven with the President over the latter’s double-standard policy: tolerating England’s naval blockade of Germany and violations of “Cruiser Rules,” while excoriating Germany for reciprocation. Now Bryan was being asked to sign a note that was glaringly false – for Dudley Field Malone had already told Wilson that “practically all of her [the Lusitania’s] cargo was contraband of some kind.”27 Bryan chose to resign, for which the press excoriated him; the New York World accused him of “unspeakable treachery.”

Bryan, Cartoon, Malone
Left to right: Bryan; cartoon depicts Kaiser applauding Bryan; Dudley Field Malone. Interestingly, Malone would oppose Bryan again as an attorney assisting Clarence Darrow in the 1925 Scopes Trial; and in 1944 he portrayed Winston Churchill in Mission to Moscow, perhaps the most flagrantly pro-Communist movie Hollywood ever made. It would probably be reasonable to say Malone was “connected.”

Bryan’s resignation was gold to the Illuminati, for he possessed something they couldn’t stomach: integrity. He’d been made Secretary of State in return for helping secure Wilson’s nomination at the 1912 Democratic Convention. In his place was appointed Robert Lansing, a pro-war State Department legal adviser who’d already proven useful in circumnavigating Bryan. Lansing’s nephews, Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, would become two of the most powerful insiders of twentieth century politics.

Newspapers and books began stirring hysteria about the imminence of a German invasion. The film The Battle Cry of Peace depicted a Hun-like army devastating New York City and Washington. A well-financed national “preparedness” movement was birthed; J. P. Morgan’s daughter served as treasurer for the women’s section of the “Movement for National Preparedness.”

Battle Cry of Peace
Foreign invaders assault the virtuous maidens of New York City in The Battle Cry of Peace (1915)

Wilson meanwhile awaited another pretext for war, but the Germans were careful not to give him one, having no desire to see American troops swelling Allied ranks. They ordered U-boat captains not to torpedo another passenger ship without warning. However, sooner or later, a mistake was bound to occur. On March 24, 1916 in the English Channel, a U-boat commander, looking through his periscope, mistook an odd-looking ship for a minelayer, and fired a torpedo. The ship turned out to be a French passenger steamer, the Sussex. The damaged ship was towed to port; there were Americans on board; none were killed, but four were injured.

Wilson and his controllers hoped they now had their pretext for war. The President sent a hostile ultimatum to the Germans, demanding they halt “present methods” of submarine warfare (go back to “Cruiser Rules”) or face a rupture in relations. The Germans wisely responded that they would comply, provided the United States require Britain to likewise observe international law.

Once again, Germany had parried war – and Wilson now had to focus on reelection.

The 1916 Elections

Despite the anti-Germany media campaign, Americans remained overwhelmingly opposed to entering the European war. Wilson’s belligerence had not been lost on many, and as a result, the Republican nominee – Charles Evan Hughes – held a large lead in polls.

The American Establishment was very satisfied with the services the obedient Wilson had provided, and preferred him to the untried Hughes (similar to the Obama-Romney paradigm of 2012). Hughes’s public relations director Myron Fagan later became a pioneering exposer of the CFR and Illuminati.

Hughes & Fagan
Hughes and Fagan

To ensure Wilson’s reelection, Teddy Roosevelt was brought out to do just what he’d done in 1912: betray his own party.28 Roosevelt traveled the country making militant speeches, attacking Germany and denouncing pacifists as “mollycoddles.” These speeches greatly annoyed Hughes, as the public started believing, by proxy, that Hughes was pro-war. Taking the cue, the Democrats made Wilson’s campaign slogan “He kept us out of war,” even though Wilson had done everything possible to get us into it. The ploys worked. Hughes’s polls lead evaporated. Wilson won one of the closest Presidential elections in history, and did so, ironically, because voters wanted to avoid war.

Wilson Campaign Buttons

The Zimmerman Note

Once reelected, Wilson shed the “peace” pretenses, and again sought justification for war. After Germany – pressing for victory to end the gruesome conflict ­– announced resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, Wilson terminated relations, claiming Germany had broken its pledge. (He ignored that the pledge had been conditional on Britain’s reciprocal observance of international law, something the British government never did.)

But Wilson still needed another provocation to push the war button. Ever-reliable British intelligence produced just what he needed: their decoding of the “Zimmerman telegram.”

ZimmermanArthur Zimmerman (left) was Germany’s foreign secretary. In January 1917 he had cabled the German ambassador in Mexico, instructing him that, if the U.S. entered the war, Germany should propose a military alliance with Mexico. (Wilson had antagonized Mexico in 1914 by having U.S. forces occupy Vera Cruz, a move undertaken for the benefit of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, which had extensive oil interests in Mexico.) The Germans reasoned that having Mexico as an ally might keep U.S. troops pinned in North America. The Zimmerman telegram rather naively suggested that, in the event of victory, Mexico could recover territories previously lost to the United States: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Such proposals were actually “par for the course” in the international deal-making of World War I. For example, Britain had brought Italy into the war as an ally by promising the Italians new territories. The Mexicans considered the German proposal quite unrealistic. Nonetheless, when Wilson released the Zimmerman telegram to the wire services, it was used to renew “German invasion hysteria.”

On April 2, Wilson convened Congress and requested a declaration of war, which came four days later. Despite the orchestrated media furor, most Americans still opposed war, but the financial powers had lined up both parties’ machines; only a handful of courageous senators and congressmen opposed the declaration.

War to End WarsAgenda of the First World War

Americans were told this would be “the war to end all wars.” Though it failed utterly in this purpose alleged for public consumption, it succeeded in the purposes that were hidden:

(1) Europe was restructured in accordance with Illuminati wishes, in preparation for their “new world order.” As foreign affairs analyst Hilaire du Berrier noted of World War I: “Three empires, six monarchies and twenty-three duchies and principalities disappeared because leaders who had a stake in nationhood had been carried along in a losing tide.“29 The Illuminati have always opposed any monarchies they could not compromise because kings symbolized nationhood, and were figures behind whom a nation’s people would rally and unite. The Illuminati wanted monarchies replaced by “democracy,” because democracy splinters a nation into parties; a divided country is weaker, and easier to absorb into world government. This is the “divide and conquer” principle, and the true reason Wilson said the war would “make the world safe for democracy.” This catchphrase really meant “make the world safe for Illuminati,” for the latter knew that in a democracy, wealth combined with media control would ensure their handpicked candidates received over 50 percent of the vote. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (10:5) called voting “the instrument which will set us on the throne of the world.”

(2) The first formal world government – the League of Nations – was established. It was the 14th of the famous “Fourteen Points” Wilson brought to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, which settled the war’s aftermath through the Versailles Treaty.

To head the American delegation to the conference, Wilson appointed Paul Warburg – whom he’d also named vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. As his chief economic advisor, he brought banker Bernard Baruch. And as always, Wilson was under the eye of the bankers’ front man, Edward Mandell House. Wilson didn’t invite a single congressman or senator of the Democratic Party to the conference – only the bankers and their entourage.

Many people think Wilson invented the League, but it originated with House and the bankers. Ray Stannard Baker, Wilson’s official biographer, said that “practically nothing – not a single idea in the Covenant of the League – was original with the President.”30 Charles Seymour, House’s official biographer, said Wilson “approved the House draft almost in its entirety, and his own rewriting of it was practically confined to phraseology.”31

Ironically, though the American President proposed the League, the United States did not join. The U.S. Constitution stipulated that no President could single-handedly make a treaty; the Senate had to ratify it. The Senate rejected the Versailles Treaty. Americans had helped win the war, but saw no reason to join an organization that might infringe on their sovereignty. When news of the Senate vote reached Paris, the bankers reacted swiftly. They held a series of meetings, culminating with a dinner at the Majestic Hotel, at which they resolved to form a new organization in the United States. Its purpose would be to change the climate of American opinion so that the nation would accept world government. In 1921, that organization was incorporated in New York City as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

(3) The first communist state, the Soviet Union, was birthed from the war’s chaos. Students of realpolitik know the Illuminati established the USSR. Jacob Schiff, one of Wilson’s financial angels, ran Kuhn, Loeb – the Rothschilds’ New York banking satellite – along with Federal Reserve founder Paul Warburg. In 1917 Schiff supplied $20 million in gold to Leon Trotsky, who sailed from New York with 275 other terrorists. The Canadians detained Trotsky at Halifax, Nova Scotia, because they knew he intended to foment revolution in Czarist Russia – our ally in the raging World War. The Bolsheviks (communists) had promised to pull Russia out of the war if the revolution succeeded. The Canadians realized what that meant: Germany would shift its troops from the Eastern to Western front, where they could kill more British, Canadians, and Americans. But at the bankers’ behest, Wilson personally intervened, and requested that Canada release Trotsky. The President thus placed communism’s success above the lives of American soldiers.

When Wilson went to the Paris Peace Conference, the Bolsheviks had taken over Russia, and one of his assigned tasks was to ensure they kept it. Here is the long-forgotten sixth of Wilson’s “Fourteen Points”:

VI. The evacuation of all Russian [Soviet] territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her [the communists] an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia [the communists] by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

In his book The Secret World Government, Czarist General Arthur Cherep-Spiridovich expressed the opinion that United States entry into the war was delayed until it was certain Czarist Russia collapsed.  (In other words, a premature U.S. commitment might have bolstered the Czar’s position in Russia, thwarting the revolution.) Wilson requested the declaration of war just 18 days after the Czar abdicated.

(4) The war dramatically advanced the cause of Zionism, whose secret agenda is to establish, in Jerusalem, the throne of the Antichrist. In 1916, leading Zionists assured the British government they would bring Wilson and America into the war provided that Britain secure the Jewish people a national homeland in Palestine. The British consented, resulting in the Balfour Declaration, named for its purported author, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour.

This declaration was addressed to Walter Rothschild, a private banker holding no government position. It pledged the British would “use their best endeavours” to found a Jewish homeland in Palestine, even though Britain had no position or authority there whatsoever. Palestine had been under Ottoman (Turkish) control for 400 years. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire was a German ally; on this pretext, the British invaded Palestine, though it had little strategic significance. The famous film Lawrence of Arabia portrayed the exploits of T. E. Lawrence, the British officer who led the Arabs against the Turks. The Arabs were promised Palestine in return for helping Britain defeat the Ottoman Empire. They – and Lawrence himself – did not know that, behind their backs, the Balfour Declaration would secretly pledge the land to the Zionists.

The Balfour Declaration was issued on Nov 2, 1917. Five days later, Lenin and the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government under Kerensky in Russia. This assured that Russia would no longer participate in the war. Since this cost Britain a military ally, it might be argued that Lenin’s Zionist-banker controllers instructed him to delay his seizure of power until Britain had formally committed to the Balfour Declaration.

(5) The war gave the banksters an unprecedented opportunity to loot America. Prior to the declaration of war, J. P. Morgan & Co. acted as the official agent for all British munitions purchases. Morgan also loaned over $2 billion to the Allies during this period. Needless to say, Morgan had a vested interest in Allied victory. After the war declaration, Americans were urged to fund the war by buying government bonds in a series of “Liberty Loans.”  Out of the first Liberty Loan, $400 million was paid directly to J. Morgan & Co. to satisfy debts owed it by Britain.32

Liberty Loans

Wilson appointed Bernard Baruch to head the War Industries Board, whose function was purchasing munitions for America’s military. After the war, Congress’s Graham Committee conducted an investigation that revealed the public had been defrauded out of billions for war-related items that were unnecessary, or undelivered, or never even produced. Here is an excerpt from the Committee’s report:

We had 53 contracts for 37-millimeter shells, on which we expended $9,134,592. None of these shells ever reached our firing line. We had 689 contracts for 75-millimeter shells, on which we expended $301,941,459. Of these shells, we fired 6,000. We had 142 contracts for 3-inch shells, on which we expended $44,841,844. None of these shells reached the firing line. We had 439 contracts for 4.7-inch shells, on which we expended $41,716,051. Of these shells 14,000 were fired by our forces. We had 305 contracts for 6-inch shells, on which we expended $24,189,085. None of these shells ever reached the firing line. . . .33

I spare the reader the full quote, but it continued as above for six more shell calibers. The Committee listed similar frauds in production of howitzers, artillery of all calibers, and gun carriages. A billion dollars was spent on aircraft never delivered. Comparable reports were made on other articles of war.

Hundreds of millions were invested in companies which used the money to build factories that contributed nothing to the war effort. House Report no. 998 of the 66th Congress stated:

The committee finds that there has been expended for construction upon the Government’s nitrates program to the present time the sum of $116,194,974.37, and that this expenditure produced no nitrates prior to the armistice, and contributed nothing toward the winning of the war. The nitrates program originated with the War Industries Board of the Council of National Defense, and is directly traceable to Mr. Bernard M. Baruch, chairman of the board . . . .34

Many industries, such as copper and steel, charged the government inflated prices. Needless to say, the Rockefellers’ Standard Oil enjoyed skyrocketing war profits.

While the banksters pocketed billions, American soldiers earned $30 per month risking their lives. Although the Graham Committee conducted three years of investigations and published a 21-volume report, not a single banker or industrialist was jailed. As Ferdinand Lundberg noted: “The basis for many prosecutions was laid by the Graham Committee, and there were indictments of various minor figures. But there were no convictions. By November, 1925, the last of the indictments was quashed.”35 You won’t even find a Wikipedia entry for the Graham Committee. It’s been long flushed down one of Orwell’s memory holes.

(6) The war inflicted political as well as military casualties. One effect of the 1898 Spanish-American War had been to undermine the Populist Party, a grassroots movement of dissatisfied voters who opposed Wall Street’s domination of politics, and perceived increasingly fewer differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, many of whose bosses were beholden to the bankers. After the war distracted Americans with a new enemy (Spain) the Populist Party never ran another Presidential candidate.

World War I exerted a parallel effect. A reform movement, spearheaded by Senator La Follette (who might, in some respects, be described as the Ron Paul of his day), had attempted to wrest the Republican Party away from the Rockefeller-Morgan interests controlling it. But with America preoccupied with war and another new enemy (Germany), the reform movement all but died; the monopolists emerged from the war with tighter party control than ever before.

Spanish & German Brutes
Spain (left) depicted as a murdering ape, trampling the American flag, in 1898. In World War I, the ape became Germany. It is easier to kill an enemy if he is considered sub-human.

(7) Civil liberties were crushed after Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917, extended by the Sedition Act of 1918. While these measures decreed punishment for authentic crimes such as passing military secrets to foreign governments, Section 3 of the Sedition Act criminalized opposing the banksters’ plan of plunder:

Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall . . . say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the United States or the making of loans by or to the United States . . . or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war . . . shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.

It provided the same penalties for anyone who “shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States.” This broad language gave great leeway in suppressing the First Amendment.

In 1917, Robert Goldstein produced a movie about the Revolutionary War called Spirit of ’76. Because it portrayed Britain negatively, the film was seized as seditious. Goldstein was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Louis Nagler, assistant secretary of state for Wisconsin, refused to contribute to the YMCA and Red Cross (whose war council was headed by J. P. Morgan partner Henry Davison). Nagler remarked in a letter that “There is too much graft in these subscriptions . . . . Not over ten or fifteen percent of the money goes to the soldiers.” Nagler was sentenced under the Espionage Act to 20 years in prison (his sentence was commuted in 1920).36 Historian Walter Karp notes: “The son of the chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court became a convicted felon for sending out a chain letter that said the Sussex Pledge [made by Germany] had not been unconditional.”37 Congressman Charles Lindbergh, Sr., one of the Federal Reserve’s bitterest opponents, wrote a book entitled Why Is Your Country at War? The printing plates were seized to curtail publication. For opposing the war, hundreds of less prominent citizens were imprisoned, and innumerable publications were censored or lost mailing privileges.

Lindberghs & La Follette
Left: Congressman Charles Lindbergh with his son Charles, Jr., who became the courageous aviator. Right: “Fighting Bob” La Follette, running for President as a third-party candidate in 1924, shortly before his death.

Ironically, no enemy spies were convicted under the Espionage Act – only dissenting Americans. In a major coup, the banksters had made opposing their agenda illegal. It therefore begs some comparison to today’s Patriot Act. Although many Americans long for “the good old days,” those days were often uglier than commonly realized.

The past is prologue. Woodrow Wilson served his masters well. So would Franklin D. Roosevelt three decades later. Whereas Wilson allowed the sacrifice of over 1,000 lives on the Lusitania, Roosevelt sacrificed over 2,000 at Pearl Harbor. Whereas Wilson and the First World War produced the Federal Reserve, the League of Nations, the Bolshevik Revolution, and Balfour Declaration, Roosevelt and the Second World War produced The World Bank, the United Nations, spread communism over half the globe, and birthed Zionist Israel. Both wars produced billions in war plunder, and suppressed civil rights. It is not difficult to envision what a Third World War might lead to.

Maine, Lusitania, Pearl Harbor

Remember the Maine, Lusitania, Pearl Harbor

Remember 9-11 2

Especially recommended for further reading: The Lusitania by Colin Simpson and The Politics of War by Walter Karp. A 1981 documentary, In Search of the Lusitania, is viewable on YouTube. Though it incorrectly states that over 1,000 Americans died when the Lusitania sank (“passengers” would have been correct), it contains much relevant footage.


1. Colin Simpson, The Lusitania (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972), 36.

2. Donald E. Schmidt, The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005 (New York: Algora Publishing, 2005), 72.

3. Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 1911-1918 (1931; reprint, New York: Free Press, 1959), 294.

4. Ibid., 738-39.

5. Curtis B. Dall, FDR: My Exploited Father-in-Law (Washington: Action Associates, 1970), 137.

6. Charles Seymour, ed., The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, Vol. 1 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1926), 160.

7. Ferdinand Lundberg, America’s Sixty Families (New York: Citadel Press, 1937), 142.

8. Burton J. Hendrick, The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Vol. 1 (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1923), 436.

9. Seymour, 432.

10. Ibid.

11. Simpson, 191.

12, Ibid., 25.

13. Ibid., 95-96.

14. Ibid., 105-10.

15. Ibid., 107.

16. Ibid., 131. (Note: It has been brought to my attention that the quote which Simpson attributed to Kenworthy does not appear in Freedom of the Seas. I obtained a copy and have been unable to find it there myself. However, I do wish to point out that Simpson did much archival research, and may have accessed an early edition not readily accessible today. As Simpson is no longer with us to elaborate, I am leaving the quote with the understanding that it is unverified. The quotation referenced by note 18 from Patrick Beesly, who, like Kenworthy, was in British Naval Intelligence, is actually far more damning.)

17. Patrick Beesly, Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 105.

18. Ibid., 122.

19. Simpson, 180.

20. David Ramsay, Lusitania: Saga and Myth (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), 120.

21. Ibid.

22. Diana Preston, Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy (New York: Walker Publishing, 2002), 318.

23. Simpson, 189.

24. Ibid., 190.

25. Ibid., 241.

26. Speech of Senator Robert M. La Follette (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1917), 109.

27. Simpson, 180.

28. Walter Karp, The Politics of War: The Story of Two Wars which Altered Forever the Political Life of the American Republic (1890-1920) (New York: Franklin Square Press, 2003), 294-95.

29. “As Summer Came in 1988,” H du B Reports, July-August 1988, 5.

30. Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement, Vol. 1 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1923), 214.

31. Seymour, Vol. 4, 38.

32. Lundberg, 141.

33. Ibid., 199.

34. Ibid., 197.

35. Ibid., 201.

36. Andrew P. Napolitano, Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedoms (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 229.

37. Karp, 333-34.

Picture of James Perloff

James Perloff

James has been writing for alternative media since 1985 when he began contributing to The New American magazine. He is the author of six books, the subjects of which range from COVID-19 to political history to creationism.

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