This documentary chronicles the story of the Titanic. The largest and most luxurious ship ever built, the Titanic was supposed to be "unsinkable," but the ship sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York. The symbol of the "gilded age," the Titanic was a floating tribute to the progress, optimism, and arrogance of the industrial era. Titanic captures not only the story of one of the world's greatest disasters, but also the essence of the industrial and Progressive age.
This documentary would be useful for classes on American History, History of Science and Technology, Cultural History and Immigration History. It is appropriate for middle school and high school.
The Legend Lives On (Part 1)
As the massive ship sinks in the icy North Atlantic, Captain Edward J. Smith orders the lifeboats readied. With room for only half the passengers, they fill quickly with women and children. White distress flares are fired into the night. SOS signals are sent. Yet, only one ship responds. It is 58 miles away. Why didn't nearby ships reply? Why were there so few lifeboats? Why were the iceberg warnings ignored?
As the Titanic slowly sinks, the ship's orchestra continues playing. Why do you think they did this?
Many of the victims of the Titanic died even after they were rescued from the water. What role did hypothermia play in their deaths?
The impact of the Titanic disaster was worldwide. How did the sinking of the Titanic affect not only the passengers, but society at large?
The Titanic's port of departure was Southampton, England. How did the sinking of the Titanic affect this town? Why was the impact here greater than anywhere else?
The director of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, was one of the survivors. Should he, like the captain and most of the crew, have gone down with the ship?
When the survivors reach New York City, the crew of the Carpathia lowered the lifeboats from the Titanic into the berth of White Star Lines. What is the significance of this action?
As people clamored to find out if their friends and loved ones were among the disaster's survivors, conflicting accounts and inaccurate newspaper reports abounded. Why was there so much confusion about the status of the passengers and crew?
Imagine that you are a reporter for a newspaper such as The New York Times. Write an article about the Titanic disaster. Now imagine that you are a reporter for a newspaper such as The National Enquirer, and write an account for that paper. How would these two reports differ? What would each paper emphasize?
Although the loss of life on the 1986 spaceship Challenger disaster was much less, there are still some commonalties. Both disasters captured the attention and sympathy of the world. Discuss and compare the two disasters and what their significance to their time periods was.