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Experts and historians widely agree that the sinking of the Titanic was an accident.
High speeds, a fatal wrong turn, weather conditions, a dismissed iceberg warning and lack of binoculars and lifeboats all contributed to the tragedy, historians say.
Titanic expert George Behe found that there is no known documentation showing that the three men that this conspiracy theory claims were targeted in the sinking were against the Federal Reserve’s creation. One expressed support for the idea.
It’s one of the most famous tragedies in maritime history.
In 1912, the RMS Titanic luxury steamship sank in the North Atlantic after sideswiping an iceberg during its maiden voyage. More than 1,500 people died in the accident.
But some claim that it wasn’t an accident at all.
"The Titanic was actually a hit job," a man says in a Jan. 22 Instagram video that displays the caption, "The Titanic backstory — it all makes sense now."
The man says that some of the world’s richest people were supposed to be aboard the ship, including the Rothschilds, a European banking family, and American businessman J.P. Morgan, who he claims was trying to create the Federal Reserve at the time. Morgan owned the companies that managed the Titanic.
"There was also another guy who was on that ship," the man continued, "his name was Mr. Astor. He was the richest man in America at that time … but, basically, this guy was in the way of the Federal Reserve."
To get rid of him, the Rothschilds and Morgan hyped up the Titanic’s first voyage before canceling their own trips at the last second, the man claimed. The ship sank, Astor died and the politicians who supposedly supported Astor in opposing the central bank pivoted and, in 1913, the Federal Reserve was created.
Other versions of the claim state that the tragedy was orchestrated by Morgan and the Rothschild’s to kill Astor along with two other men who supposedly opposed the bank — businessman Benjamin Guggenheim and Macy's co-owner Isidor Straus.
It’s a compelling tale, although fictitious.
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
There is broad consensus among historians and experts that the Titanic's sinking resulted from an accident. Experts say high speeds, a fatal wrong turn, weather conditions, a dismissed iceberg warning and lack of binoculars and lifeboats all contributed to the tragedy.
John Jacob Astor, a fur magnate and real estate developer, died in the sinking, along with Guggenheim and Straus.
But there’s no evidence that the three men were against the Federal Reserve’s creation.
In 2021, Reuters published a report debunking the conspiracy theory and consulted Titanic expert George Behe. Behe told the outlet that there’s no known documentation that suggested Guggenheim, Straus or Astor opposed the central bank. In fact, two October 1911 stories in The New York Times suggest that Straus supported the idea.
Morgan famously canceled his trip on the Titanic, but there’s no evidence he purposely missed the voyage because he knew it would sink. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Morgan decided to stay in Europe to buy tapestries for his art collection, although historians continue to debate his reasoning for staying behind.)
We could find no evidence that members of the Rothschild family planned to sail on the oceanliner and "exited the ship" in the eleventh hour, as the Instagram post claims. They also aren’t members of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the biggest of the Fed’s 12 banks, and the Fed isn’t controlled by its member banks.
The Rothschilds are a Jewish family who have long been the target of conspiracy theories and their wealth is largely thought to be responsible for inspiring the anti-semitic belief that Jews "control" the world’s money. (They’ve been wrongly blamed for everything from starting wars to assassinating U.S. presidents.)
Finally, this Titanic conspiracy theory doesn’t explain how the bankers caused the ship to hit an iceberg and kill more than 1,500 people, let alone the men they supposedly wanted to die. It’s estimated that around 700 people survived the tragedy, so this grand (and expensive) plot would have had a lot of holes.
Social media posts claim that the Titanic’s sinking was orchestrated by the Rothschild family and J.P. Morgan to kill prominent businessmen who opposed the Federal Reserve’s creation.
This is inaccurate. There’s no evidence that the businessmen were against the Federal Reserve and experts and historians who have studied the event and wreckage widely agree the sinking was an accident.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
Instagram post, Jan. 22, 2023
Instagram post, Jan. 21, 2023
Business Insider, 12 famous people who died on the Titanic — and 11 who survived, April 10, 2020
History.com, RMS Titanic
Associated Press, Divers Find Champagne, Dishes In Shipwreck, But No Gold Yet, July 16, 1987
Investopedia.com, How the Federal Reserve Was Formed, Oct. 21, 2021
NewYorkFed.org, The Founding of the Fed
New York Times, HOARDING BY BANKS A CAUSE OF PANIC; This, Stewart Browne Says, Is the Objection to Aldrich Plan, Which Does Not Stop It, Oct. 11, 1911
New York Times, ISIDOR STRAUS URGES NEW BANKING PLAN; Replies to J.J. Hill's Attack on the National Reserve Association Scheme, Oct. 16, 1911
Reuters, CORRECTED-Fact Check-J.P. Morgan did not sink the Titanic to push forward plans for the U.S. Federal Reserve, March 17, 2021Snopes,
History.com, Why Did the Titanic Sink?, April 20, 2021
Washington Post, Fact-checking QAnon conspiracy theories: Did J.P. Morgan sink the Titanic?, Aug. 4, 2018
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