World History 1912

About the history of the world in 1912, the Titanic sinks, vitamins are discovered, first successful parachute jump.



* The rapid growth of German industry created thousands of new millionaires in that country.

* Casimir Funk, 28, a Polish biochemist, published his discovery of substances in the body which he called "vitamines" (now vitamins). He proved that some diseases are caused by vitamin deficiency.

Mar. British naval captain and explorer Robert F. Scott, 44, and four others died in Antarctica, after reaching the South Pole on Jan. 18. (See "The Courageous Nonsurvivors," Chap. 30.)

Mar. 1 Capt. Albert Berry made the first successful parachute jump from an airplane, over St. Louis, Mo.

Apr. 14-15 The "Unsinkable" Titanic, a few days out of Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage to New York, sank south of Newfoundland. About 1,500 of the 2,200 passengers and crew on board were drowned. The disaster has been re-created in numerous books, movies, radio and television programs. In his book A Night to Remember, author Walter Lord writes: "The appeal seems universal. To social historians it is a microcosm of the early 1900s. To nautical enthusiasts it is the ultimate shipwreck. To students of human nature it is an endlessly fascinating laboratory. For lovers of nostalgia it has the allure of yesterday. For day-dreamers, it has all those might-have-beens." Shortly before midnight, the 883-ft. steel-framed vessel ripped open its double-bottomed hull on the submerged shelf of a 100-ft.-high floating iceberg. The Titanic took the blow so well, however, that few aboard even so much as lost their footing. But as the situation became clear, Captain Smith ordered the crew to man the lifeboats and bellowed the time-honored order "Women and children first!" In one of history's few examples of sex discrimination to redound to the benefit of women, over 700 passengers, most of them women and children, were lowered to safety. Proportionally, a far greater percentage of first-class passengers were saved. A nearby ship, the Carpathia, responding to the distress call, rescued the survivors around 4:00 A.M. and rushed them to New York. For those left stranded on the sinking White Star luxury liner--it was every man for himself. As the ship's band stoically played "Nearer, My God, to Thee," the Titanic listed further. Those not trapped in the bowels of the ship tried to jump clear as it went down, but soon succumbed to the icy (28 deg. F) waters. Official investigations on both sides of the Atlantic resulted in stricter maritime laws, providing for more lifeboats and life jackets, better-trained crews, and more sophisticated communications and visual equipment.

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