Here is a Vanity Fair article printed a few months after the Lusitania sinking in which the journalist listed the many and myriad explanations as to why this event was such a departure from the traditions of aggressive naval warfare set in place by John Paul Jones, Admirals Nelson and Dewey.
"When the Great War broke out Grand Admiral Von Tirpitz, the guardian angel of the submarine, was an Honorary Admiral of the British Fleet...Up to 1914 Germany professed, time and again, with passionate earnestness, her adherence to the Naval Traditions of the United States, Great Britain, France, Holland and other countries possessing a distinguished history afloat. Having no traditions of her own, she proclaimed her adherence to those of the civilized world."
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Click here to read read a 1919 German
condemnation of Admiral Von Tirpitz.