German sub sinks the Lusitania. In April the cunard liner lusitania was preparing to leave the New York harbor. German embassy posted a notice in the paper warning the passengers would be at risk of sinking. Only one person listened to the warning. As the ship was passing Ireland to get to England the German sub U-20 attacked. All 1,198 people on the sub died. 128 were American. Germany claimed that the sub had weapons, which was true, but they were small fire arms and the Lusitania was basically defenseless.