Past in Perspective

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve
his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
–Thomas Aquinas

The Wilhelm Gustloff ship was named after a Nazi leader who was assassinated in Switzerland in 1936. By 1937, Adolf Hitler launched a 684-foot-long ship that weighted 25,000 tones. It was when the Soviets were approaching that Operation Hannibal was created. According to the mission, a mass naval evacuation of the German military personnel and civilians would take place and by January 30, 1945, the Gustloff left the East Prussian port of Gotenhafen and was bound towards Kiel. The Soviet Union’s submarine, S-13, spotted the ship and blasted three torpedoes into it. The ship sank within 90 minutes and according to historians, only 1000 of the 10,000 people on board survived. This makes it one of the deadliest maritime incidents in history.

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