Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Great Economic Crash of 1929 and the building of "BREMEN" and "EUROPA"

 Despite the Depression caused by the Economic Crash of 1929, ship building survived, the most surprising development was the decision by NORDDEUTSCHER LLOYD to build two new luxury liners for the North Atlantic, the SS "BREMEN" and SS "EUROPA", Germany was once again to rule the most important Transatlantic Run. Funds for the first of the sisters were raised on open market with a significant portion coming from Americans who wanted to help Germany after the post war recovery. Both ships were launched in 1928, the "BREMEN" at DEUTSCHE SCHIFF UND MASCHINENBAU and the "EUROPA" at BLOHM & VOSS.

 SS "BREMEN" was slightly larger than her sister at 51.656 GRT, she had capacity for 2130 passengers, she departed on her maiden voyage on the 16th of July of 1929
 SS "EUROPA" left on her maiden voyage on the 19th of March of 1930 after being delayed by a fire during her completion at the fitting out base which caused severe damage to the ship, she was 49.746 GRT. Both ships had a revolutionary hull design with a bulbous bow below the waterline, they were also very luxurious and conceived for speed, they both had a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, on the maiden voyage "BREMEN" captured the "Blue Riband" from "MAURETANIA" at an average speed of 27.91 knots, the following March "EUROPA" took the record from her sister averaging 27.92, once again Germany had the fastest passenger liners in the World and supremacy at the beginning of a decade that would be the last golden age of the Ocean Liners.
 The sisters had different fates in their careers, "BREMEN" caught fire in 1941 at Bremerhaven and was scrapped in 1946, "EUROPA" was captured during WWII by allied forces in 1945 and handed over to France as a war reparation in 1946 becoming the COMPAGNIE GENERALE TRANSATLANTIQUE "LIBERTE", so the ship was flagship for two nations during her life.During her conversion  she brake from her moorings due to a storm and collided with the wreck of PARIS, she partially sunk, she was raised in 1947 and towed to CHANTIERS DE L'ATLANTIQUE at Saint-Nazaire birth place of so many ocean liners for re-building, during the process she caught fire in October of 1949, against all odds and after what was to be a very difficult rebirth she finally left for her maiden voyage as the "LIBERTE" on the 2sd of August of 1950, she was scrapped in 1962 ending the story of two of the most accomplished ocean liners ever.
Photos of my private collection, the model of LIBERTE was on board Brittany Ferries Cruise Ferry VAL DE LOIRE and the image dates from October of 2000

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