American Researchers Dispute Claims of 'Polite' Titanic Victims

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

American researchers are firing back at a Swiss university researcher's report that “politeness” led to the deaths of 225 British passengers aboard the Titanic.

Professor Bruno Frey of the University of Zurich claims that the British passengers on the doomed cruise liner perished in the 1912 disaster because they were polite and willing to stand in line while American passengers pushed their way to the front and were placed in lifeboats.

While “women and children first” was followed as the "unsinkable" cruise ship hit an iceberg and fell to the floor of the Atlantic, Frey claims that many Britons lost their lives because they were courteous, while "uncultured" Americans were more likely to push ahead in line.

"The British were much more aware of the social norms at the time," Frey told the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper. "They would have been more likely to stand in a queue and wait their turn for boarding the lifeboats than Americans."

But American researchers say Frey’s claim is an example of Brits putting themselves on a pedestal.

"It sounds like post-modern revisionist history," said Karen Kamuda of the Massachusetts-based Titanic Historical Society. "To say that Americans act a certain way and the British act a certain way is racist."

comments powered by Disqus