A testament to human stupidity: The sad fate of the S.S. Normandie.

Another true story that reaads like fiction.


Seventy-three years ago today, on February 9, 1942, one of the most beautiful and amazing things ever created by human beings–an astonishing work of art, a powerful engineering marvel and the tangible consciousness of a nation–was destroyed in an act of shocking and heartbreaking carelessness. The victim was an ocean liner, the S.S. Normandie, and on that bitterly cold day she caught fire at Pier 88 on the west side of Manhattan. The fire was totally preventable and needless, but the bungled attempts to combat it, which was really what destroyed the ship, were so boneheaded and inept that people could scarcely believe it was an accident. Indeed, for years shadowy rumors and conspiracy theories have held that the Normandie was deliberately sabotaged by enemy agents or subversive Americans. What we’re sure of is that the tragedy at Pier 88 should never have happened, and it robbed the human…

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Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

2 thoughts on “A testament to human stupidity: The sad fate of the S.S. Normandie.”

  1. Funny coincidence. I just spent some time going through memorobilia in my attic. I found some letters from my mom to her mom from her honeymoon in 1936. The letters were about her trip from New York to France on The Normandie, and they were on Normandie stationary! She described the wonderful food and the magificent decor. I didn’t realize how short the Normandie’s life and career were. So Sad!


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