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Hindenburg and Titanic

Hindenburg Disaster Film

Herb Morrison, WLS Chicago radio reporter, and engineer Charlie Nehlsen captured the Hindenburg disaster on lacquer disc.

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Posted Aboard the R.M.S. Titanic

This video features the heroic story of Titanic's mail clerks and remarkable underwater footage of the ship.

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As the largest, fastest, and most glamorous ships of their eras, Hindenburg and Titanic share many similarities. The human tragedy associated with each stunned the world . . . a shock that affects people to this day. Both offered travelers elegant accommodations, and both provided postal services. In each era, the public trusted modern technology to provide safety and speed. And as anniversaries of the disasters are marked in 2012—seventy-five years since Hindenburg burned and a century since Titanic sank—many questions remain unanswered.

The Zeppelin Company of Friedrichshafen, Germany, completed the 804-foot long LZ-129 Hindenburg in 1936. Financed in part by the Nazi regime, the rigid airship, designed to use non-flammable helium for lift, confirmed Germany’s technological prowess as Adolf Hitler prepared for war. The U.S. refused to sell helium to the Zeppelin Company, which instead used highly flammable hydrogen for Hindenburg’s lift. On May 6, 1937, carrying ninety-seven passengers and crew, Hindenburg burst into flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The disaster destroyed the ship in thirty-four seconds, ending the magnificent era of lighter-than-air commercial travel.

Between 1909 and 1911, Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland, built the massive, 882-foot long Titanic for Britain’s White Star Line, owned by American J.P. Morgan. On April 10, 1912, the lavish Titanic left Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage. Bound for New York, the ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic late night April 14, and sank in fewer than three hours.  Of its 2,229 passengers and crew, only 712 survived, predominantly women and children.

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Hindenburg Route Map

Hindenburg route map
Following the route posted in the lounge, passenger Peter Belin recorded Hindenburg’s final flight on his map each day. All log books burned, but Belin's map, folded in his valise, miraculously survived.
Smithsonian.com: "The Lost Map of the Hindenburg" »

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Titanic Route Map

Titanic route map
On her only voyage, Titanic traveled the "Great Circle Route" used by most North Atlantic steamships. Since the disaster, ships follow a more southern route from January to July, when icebergs are common, and the International Ice Patrol monitors ice in the shipping lanes.

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