Daily Archives: May 27, 2009

This Day in History 5/27: Sinking the Bismarck

We haven’t done one of these in a while, and since we’re covering the Second World War with my older students, this seemed appropriate.

Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic on May 27, 1941.  The ship was Germany’s latest big weapon in attempting to stop American relief shipments to Great Britain.  A veritable terror in its time, the Bismarck had engaged and sunk the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait on May 24. 

With the loss of the venerable Hood, the British Navy vowed to “Sink the Bismarck!: by any means necessary.  Finally cornered in the North Atlantic, the Bismarck went down after a ferocious 3-hour shelling.  The wreckage of the Bismarck has since been excavated by Robert Ballard as well as Titanic director James Cameron.

Above is a video featuring Johnny Horton’s rendition of the song “Sink the Bismarck.”  Horton had a knack for historical songs, as he’s best known for “The Battle of New Orleans”, referring to the 1815 encounter featuring Andrew Jackson.  Definitely use the video as a welcome break from the end-of-year hubbub.

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