False: The Titanic was sunk on purpose to remove opposition to the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.

By: Christian Haag
January 11 2023

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False: The Titanic was sunk on purpose to remove opposition to the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.


The Verdict False

The Titanic hit an iceberg by accident. There is no evidence that the passengers named in the video opposed the Federal Reserve.

Claim ID f4844865


Videos have gone viral on TikTok in recent weeks claiming that the sinking of the Titanic was not an accident but an assassination attempt planned by J.P. Morgan and the Rothschilds. The video claims Morgan planned to kill Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss, and Jacob Astor, three other wealthy men who opposed the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in 1912. According to the claim, J.P. Morgan, who funded the building of the Titanic, canceled his trip hours before its maiden voyage, instructed his staff to ignore the warnings of icebergs, and withhold safety gear like lifeboats or red signal flares. Other videos claim that Morgan was on the ship with the Rothschilds but departed just before it hit an iceberg. The video claims that after the three wealthy men who opposed the plan were dead, the Federal Reserve Bank was created in 1913, and the U.S. turned into an incorporated business with ID number: 28. U.S.C. 3002 15.  

In Fact

This false claim has been around for several years and has been debunked. It is widely agreed by scholars and researchers that the sinking of the Titanic was an accident. Reuters interviewed George Behe, who has 45 years of research experience on the Titanic. Behe explains that the collision with the iceberg was a combination of unfortunate circumstances such as dead-calm water and no moon for visibility and that the ship's officers mistakenly believed that good visibility on the open sea would help spot hazards such as icebergs. 

Morgan did cancel his trip on the Titanic. Historians discuss different reasons, but none relate to the creation of the Federal Reserve. Behe says that the has not found a single authoritative 1912 source explaining the exact reason for his departure but that it was not hours before the ship's departure. Don Lynch at the Titanic Historical Society (THS) told Reuters that one of Morgans' biographers claimed he traveled to France to ensure the purchase of art treasures because new French laws would soon prevent the export of art from France to the U.S. Ray Lepien, also from THS, says that the official explanation was that Morgan felt ill and went to a spa with his mistress. He adds that it might also have been both reasons. 

No members of the Rothschild banking dynasty were aboard the Titanic. Although several people with the last name Rothschild were aboard, they are unrelated to the more famous family. There was a married couple aboard with the last name Rothschild, and of that couple, the husband Martin died, and Elisabeth, his wife, survived.

Regarding the three wealthy men named in the video, Straus, Astor, and Guggenheim, no record indicates that the latter two were part of the then-ongoing debate of a new banking system, and thus their stance is not known. Straus, on the other hand, spoke in favor of the Federal Reserve in three articles in the New York Times. In an article from October 16, 1911, Strauss argued that a new banking system could help avoid a situation like the "currency famine of 1907," referring to the Panic of 1907, a global financial crisis that eventually led to the creation of the Federal Reserve. On October 18, Straus argued that "the new monetary system" would stabilize small banks. On October 25, he argued for "the recognition of the central association's notes as reserve money" in the article "The Question of reserves." 

Regarding the final claim that the U.S. became an incorporated business, Reuters interviewed Professor Robert Hockett from Cornell Law School , who said that the word corporation has conflated with "business-" or "private corporation." In legislation, a corporation is a legal entity. As such, the creation of the Federal Reserve had no impact on the sovereignty of the United States. The ID number references a subsection of the U.S. Code of Laws on definitions, including one of the United States. He also adds that referring to the "Federal Reserve Bank" is a tip-off that a person has not understood how the Federal Reserve works. It is not one bank but a system of 12 regional Federal Reserve district banks across the U.S. overseen by a regulatory agency, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. It is split to avoid excessive centralization. Snopes also fact-checked the claim in September 2022 after the claim spread on Telegram.

Logically has researched the spread of the claim on TikTok during 2022-2023. While the videos with the claim have been uploaded since the beginning of January 2022, a stark increase can be seen from November 24, 2022, when a video was uploaded that gained 8.2 million views and 662,200 likes. Since then, at least 9 additional videos have been uploaded, with view counts ranging from 500 to 31,000. 

Claims about the Rothschild family originate from antisemitic tropes about Jewish bankers controlling the world. Although they are a real family who accrued great wealth in banking, these claims extend to harmful and false notions that Jewish people control the international economy, wars between nations, or the governments of multiple countries. Some of these claims, in particular, emphasize that the Rothschilds were members of the Federal Reserve, but this is untrue. 

The Verdict

Considering the evidence opposing the claim and the many factual errors in the theory, we have concluded that the claim is false.

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