Minimum Required Number of Supporting Sources: 5
Formatting Requirements: APA formatting of paper body source credits and References list; double-spaced title, paper body and References pages; Times New Roman or Arial, Size 12 font; one inch side and top/bottom page margins; running heads NOT required.
Required Paper Focus: A comparison of the sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania disaster to a student’s choice modern day disaster with primary emphasis on applicable psychology of disaster concepts relevant to each disaster. Resource documents on the Lusitania disaster are located in the Resources folder on the classroom navigation screen.
enlightenedThe goal for this paper is the application of course knowledge to real world disaster events, rather than writing a history report. Descriptions of the two events being compared should be covered briefly and succinctly.
In this paper, compare the public’s reaction to a modern day (mid-20th century through 21st century current year) disaster of your choice (9/11, Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, the Pakistan/India earthquakes, the London Subway/Bus or Mumbai bombings, the Paris terrorist attacks, the Pakistan/India earthquakes) to public reaction to the Lusitania disaster; briefly describe your chosen disaster and the public’s reaction and then compare it to the public’s reaction to the Lusitania disaster; then identify three major psychology of disaster concepts and apply them to the public’s reactions to the two disasters.
A minimum of 5 sources are required, with at least 3 being scholarly publications such as journal articles or academic texts.
No more than one direct quote, not to exceed 2 sentences in length, may be used per paper page.
An abstract is NOT required for this paper.
ANY copying found in a submitted paper will result in an automatic score of zero without option for revision.
Organize the paper contents using the following bold font section headings:
(This should be a separate page)
R.M.S. Lusitania Disaster
enlightenedJust a succinct summary here (Be careful not to get too bogged down in historical event details here).
Modern Day Disaster
enlightened Just a succinct summary here (Again, don’t get too bogged down in event details).
Disaster Similarities and Dissimilarities
Two or three is plenty for each disaster.
Application of Major Psychology of Disaster Concepts enlightened This is the meat of the paper; it should take up at least a third of it, and must cover three distinct concepts and be more than just definitions; include concrete examples of how one can apply the concepts to the disasters.
Summarize what was, or should have been, learned from the two disasters that may be applied in future disaster situations in support the immediate and long-term mental health recovery of survivors.
This paper looks at absolute disasters that have occurred in the past and their psychological impact. We will look at the R.M.S. Lusitania, the tragedy that took place in May of 1915 when the ship was sunk by a German U-boat (Greenhill, 2008). We will compare it to the modern-day disaster that has come to be commonly known as ‘911′. It is essentially the bombing of the World Trade Centre by Islamic terrorists on September 11th, 2001 (Bunney, 2016). In the paper, there will be brief summaries of each disaster coupled with the reactions of survivors. We aim to look at the similarities and differences between the two then apply three leading psychology of disaster concepts to the two events. Disasters tend to have an enormous impact on the psychology of the survivors and their families. There is psychological trauma that survivors have to undergo a long time after the tragedy occurs.
Lusitania Disaster, May 1915
R.M.S Lusitania was a British ship that came under attack by a German submarine near Ireland while on its way to Liverpool from New York (Greenhill, 2008). The appraisal is done after the attack showed a grim picture. Of the 1959 people on board the vessel, only 1198 were able to survive, and the disaster was exacerbated by the fact that there were hostilities between England and Germany from World War 1. The German naval officials were convinced that the ship was carrying weapons and ammunition that were to be used in the war and hence they decided to attack first and sink the ship. It is interesting to note that German diplomatic authorities had sounded a warning about boarding the ship in the first place claiming that their safety could not be guaranteed in a war zone. Of the people who died in the tragic incident, there were 128 Americans and this played a big part in swinging the public opinion of the people causing the United States to get involved in World War 1 finally.
The World Trade Centre Bombing, September 11th, 2001
This tragedy occurred 86 years after the Lusitania disaster, but it had the same impact of rallying up the American people. On that date, the terrorist group Al Qaeda perpetrated two major atrocities on American soil. They crashed a plane into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and another on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The terrorists were mainly from Saudi Arabia, and they used knives and box cutters to commandeer the four airliners that were used as missiles to conduct the attacks. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were the first to be used when they both crashed into the World Trade Centre (Bunney, 2016).
The planes caused severe damage to the two largest towers that formed the building. Both structures were tall, 110 stories high, and the impact of the planes caused the towers to implode and come crashing down due to the sheer weight. 3000 people died in New York. Additionally, American Airlines Flight 77 was also used by the terrorists when it came crashing down on the Pentagon building in Virginia leading to massive loss of lives and property. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was intended for other key targets like the White House or the Capitol building but it crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania due to the intervention of passengers on the plane who disrupted the plan.
Disaster Similarities and Differences
There is a significant similarity between the Lusitania disaster and the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre. In both cases, the U.S. government mobilized the military resources to pursue the perpetrators on a scale of all-out war. In the Lusitania disaster, it took nearly two years for the United States to mobilize their resources and engage in war against Germany. The 911 disaster resulted in quick reactions by the government which led to pursuing the terrorists into Afghanistan almost immediately after the attack. The 911 bombings gave America the perfect reason to invade Iraq in 2003 as part of their global fight against terror which was led by President Bush.
Another similarity lies in the emotional reaction of American citizens towards the disasters after they had occurred. The people were all united together in a call for war in the aftermath of both attacks. In both cases individual acts were executed, the 1917 Espionage and Sedition Acts and the PATRIOT Act of 2004.
Differences also exist between the sinking of Lusitania and the 911 attacks. In the case of the former, the attack was conducted in a recognized war zone by a known state, Germany. It resulted in a declaration of war which was assented to by the President and Congress after a public debate. The 911 tragedy was a surprise attack launched by a terrorist group known as Al Qaeda. The resulting actions by the U.S. were founded by the War Powers Act. The act gave the president the authority and responsibility of engaging in a full blown retaliation attack which saw Afghanistan and Iraq invaded by American military forces.
There is another significant difference between the two events. After America had engaged in World War 1, the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 were curtailed thus ceasing their influence (Act, 2016). In the case of the 911 attack, the impact of the PATRIOT Act (it is now the Freedom Act) is still active to this current day.
Three Major Psychology of Disaster Concepts Applied
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the case of the RMS Lusitania disaster, the ship had a very short window of twenty minutes before it sunk completely. It was a high tension situation with the senses of the flight taking over every member on board. The crew was alive to the fact that they would be sinking soon and there was nothing the captain could do to control the panic of the people. In such life and death situations, the need for self-preservation is at an all-time high and everybody tries to fight for their lives with disregard for the protocol (Wilson, Friedman, & Lindy, 2004). Due to the panic brought about by the sinking ship, the survivors acted in their selfish interests. Before 1915, the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was nonexistent, but the survivors of the Lusitania disaster could be described using other closely related terms such as ‘shell-shocked’ and ‘battle fatigue.’
Of all the people who were on board the vessel, there were only 761 survivors and most of these consisted of people who were between the ages of 16-35. It shows that the young, quick and non-disabled people were the ones who were able to survive since they had higher chances of jumping into a lifeboat than the elderly (Frey, Savage, & Torgler, 2010). Most of these survivors have been dealing with various aspects of PTSD including severe physical and mental depression as well as other mental instabilities that could not have been understood well back then in 1915.
By the time of the September 11 attacks in New York, there was a lot of information regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as documented efforts to help people recover. Several other tragedies before 911, such as the year 2000 attack on USS Cole or the bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 had helped mental physicians to learn lessons and come up with techniques to help in the diagnosis of people living with PTSD.
Phases of Disaster Recovery. In disaster recovery, there are four stages which include, being the hero, disillusionment, honeymoon and reconstruction phases (Greenstone, 2008). The heroic aspect is the one that takes place immediately after a disaster has occurred. The affected people are usually under a lot of shock and require emergency help in the provision of the basic needs of food, water, shelter and medical care. During the honeymoon phase, the days that come after the disaster strikes, there is widespread media coverage including interviews with experts of the event, and the survivors are congratulated and praised. During the disillusionment phase, the survivors are affected by the stress of the ongoing recovery efforts wear them out coupled with the constant coverage of the event in most mass media. The last phase is the reconstruction where survivors are going to engage the public opinions and expectations in regards to the recovery process being conducted.
In the Lusitania tragedy, the heroic phase started immediately after the ship was torpedoed and continued up to when the survivors were being rescued. When the survivors disembarked from the vessels that had rescued them, the honeymoon phase began as the media was in a frenzy to exploit them for answers and sound bites. This step was slow back then in 1915 since mass media like television and radio were still in their infancy. The disillusionment phase is not clearly explained but the media frenzy dissipated over time and events during World War 1 took center stage allowing the survivors to fade away and embark on living healthy lives.
In the case of the 911 terrorist attack, the heroic phase lasted for several days after the occurrence of the assault. There were very few survivors, estimated at sixteen, who remained in the Twin Tower attack. The first people to respond to the tragedy were also considered heroes as well as other individuals who were caught up in the massive melee that ensued. The honeymoon phase covered not only the entire Manhattan area but the whole country. It was different from the Lusitania disaster of 1915 since it was televised throughout the country and the world for all to see. The disillusionment phase saw organizations like FEMA and the military come in to replace the first respondents. It is safe to say that the reconstruction phase is still ongoing seeing as it is the most severe attack on U.S. citizens that has occurred on American soil. Some of the affected people and families are still dealing with the psychological impact to date.
Culture as Casualty. The idea of social trauma suggests that when a terrible event, such as the 911 attacks, occurs in an individual community, it becomes embedded in the memories of people forever and even results in a permanent change in behaviors and perceptions of such people (Wilson, Friedman, & Lindy, 2004).
In the case of the Lusitania attack, the British people were greatly angered, and they held Germany as well as the German individuals with a lot of contempt throughout the duration of World War 1. This hatred for the Germans manifested itself all the way to the Second World War in 1939. The British people commonly referred to Germans as the ‘Hun’ as a way to display their contempt and prejudice against them. There sinking of the ship was further fueled by anti-German riots that broke out in Merseyside and Liverpool leading to the internment of about 200 Germans on the Isle of Man throughout the duration of the war (Frey, Savage, & Torgler, 2010).
In the case of the 911 attacks, the effect on Culture and Casualty still prevails among the American people. Since the attacks were conducted, Muslims in America have come under greater scrutiny and suspicion of engagement in terrorist activities. It has now become an American stereotype that Islamic people are associated with terrorism. Muslims and Islam, in general, are getting alienated due to an event that changed the history and minds of Americans completely (Bunney, 2016). The attack caused the victims, Americans, to band together against a common enemy who was seen as being the Islam community.
In this paper, the comparison between two tragedies
has been explained in detail by the psychological impact they had on the
people. There was a brief summary of each tragedy as well as the similarities
and differences between the two. The paper also covered three major concepts of
disaster psychology including, PTSD, Culture and Casualty, and Phases of a
Act, U. (2016). U.S. Congress passes Espionage Act – Jun 15, 1917 – HISTORY.com. HISTORY.com. Retrieved 31 December 2016, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-congress-passes-espionage-act
Bunney, B. (2016). The Psychological Aftermath of Disasters Individual Responses, Treatment, and a State Behavioral Health Care System’s Response to 9-11. https://www.uic.edu/com. Retrieved 31 December 2016, from https://www.uic.edu/com/ferne/pdf/Boston0503/psychological_aftermath_of_disasters.pdf
Frey, B., Savage, D., & Torgler, B. (2010). Interaction of natural survival instincts and internalized social norms exploring the Titanic and Lusitania disasters. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, 107(11), 4862-4865. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0911303107
Greenhill, S. (2008). Secret of the Lusitania: Arms find challenges Allied claims it was solely a passenger ship. The Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1098904/Secret-Lusitania-Arms-challenges-Allied-claims-solely-passenger-ship.html
Greenstone, J. (2008). The Elements of Disaster Psychology: Managing Psychosocial Trauma: an Integrated Approach to Force Protection and Acute Care (1st ed.). Charles C. Thomas.
Wilson, J., Friedman, M., & Lindy, J. (2004). Treating psychological trauma and PTSD (1st ed.). New York: Guilford Press.