On Friday I stumbled across a tweet sent in reply to a prominent finance parody account on Twitter. It featured the black-and-white image of three men and the Titanic.
The text on the photos named Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss (actual name Isidor Straus), and David Astor as three wealthy men who died on the Titanic. So far, so good — the men were all real and wealthy.
Below each name it says “opposed new Federal Reserve Bank.” The Titanic’s sinking happened in 1912, and the opening of the Federal Reserve happened in 1913. Was the hint that their opposition to the Fed and their deaths were somehow linked?
I Googled their names and found that it was indeed a conspiracy theory. Websites with names like “disinfo,” and “helpfreetheearth” all host versions of the story.
As with many other conspiracy theories, there’s a transparently anti-Semitic tint to the story, and the Rothschild family is implicated (as it is in almost every conspiracy theory involving money in any way).
A YouTube video offers some additional “information,” hinting that the sinking of the Titanic was effectively drawn up as a re-creation of a late-19th-century book called “Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan.” The book was published 14 years before the Titanic sank and a decade before any construction began.
The video goes on to say that “by April 1912, all opposition to the Federal Reserve was eliminated. In December 1913, the Federal Reserve was born, controlled by the elite banking cabal, whose ultimate agenda was to enslave humanity.”
A further conspiracy suggests that J.P. Morgan, the plutocrat financier who set up the investment bank that still bears his name, arranged to have the men board the ship and then sink it.
Morgan did have a hand in the creation of the Federal Reserve, and it owned the International Mercantile Marine, which owned the White Star Line, which owned the Titanic. That’s pretty much where the evidence ends.
There’s very little information online to suggest that the three men who died were even opponents of the Federal Reserve. Any search for “Federal Reserve” along with any of their names becomes so bogged down in conspiracy websites that it’s difficult to find any reputable sources of information.
There’s also a lot of chatter about the idea that the Titanic should not have sunk just because it hit an iceberg — a sort of jet-fuel-doesn’t-melt-steel-beams for the early-20th century.