The USS Leviathan

Can you imagine a ship so huge, that its length, up-ended, would be forty-three feet higher than the combined height of the Woolworth Tower and the Statue of Liberty? Such a monster is the Leviathan, once the Vaterland, pride of Germany’s great merchant marine.

This magnificent specimen of ship-craft came into the possession when we declared war on Germany. The Vaterland, at anchor in American waters, was seized and converted into a U.S. army transport. The name was changed to Leviathan, which according to the dictionary, means “something huge and formidable.”

After the war, the ship was refitted as a luxury passenger liner once more. Aside from the Leviathan’s colossal size, there are other reasons why we consider her a valuable and interesting war trophy. She is not only the safest ship in the world, but the fastest. On her trial trip, June 22, 1923, she made a record of 28.04 knots per hour.

Being the biggest, safest, and fastest steamer of modern times would seem a sufficient reason to entitle the Leviathan to first place among American ships. But even these three essential features could not have won for her such national attention had it not been for the service performed during the war.

After she was converted into an army transport, she carried over 150,000 United States soldiers safely to France and brought them home again! Was it not fitting that such a ship be made a sort of living memorial to America’s heroic part in the greatest war in history?


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