Fact Check

False Rumor Suggests Sinking of Titanic Was Inside Job

We wish we could say that the memes pushing this rumor were created simply as a joke to troll conspiracy theorists.

Published Sep 15, 2022

 (Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Wikimedia Commons
The sinking of the Titanic was somehow orchestrated by its owner, American financier J.P. Morgan, in order to kill three prominent businessmen who opposed the formation of the Federal Reserve.

On Sept. 13, 2022, a Telegram user shared a baseless meme that hinted the sinking of the Titanic was an inside job. It read, "These men opposed globalist's world banks (Federal Reserve). Benjamin Guggenheim, Isidor Straus, [and John] Jacob Astor [all] opposed the new Federal Reserve bank. Today, these men would be worth $11 billion. All three of these men were aboard the Titanic when it sank. All three died that night."


According to the TinEye reverse image search website, this meme had been shared since at least 2014.

It's true that American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim, Macy's co-owner Isidor Straus, and fur magnate and real estate developer John Jacob Astor all perished in the sinking of the Titanic. However, the overall claim intimated by the meme was nothing more than a baseless conspiracy theory.

The misleading meme appears to have been born out of previous ones that mentioned American financier J.P. Morgan. Morgan owned the companies that managed the Titanic and was not a passenger on its maiden voyage.

Past memes suggested that Morgan had somehow miraculously orchestrated the voyage to end in tragedy in order to kill Guggenheim, Straus, and Astor.

According a false meme JP Morgan orchestrated the sinking of the Titanic as a way of ensuring that the Federal Reserve be created and that three prominent men perish in the sea.


"J.P. Morgan striking photographer with cane, 1910." He died in 1913. (Courtesy: Library of Congress)

According to the memes, Morgan's supposed reason for planning the demise of the three prominent men was because they all opposed the formation of the Federal Reserve. (The centralized banking system was established in 1913, the year after the sinking of the Titanic.)

The meme in question also said, "Today, these men would be worth $11 billion." However, it's unclear how much each of the men's descendants would be worth today had they survived.

In March 2021, Reuters published a thorough report that debunked the rumor behind all of the memes on this subject. The article included an interview with a Titanic expert named George Behe, whose research into the history of Titanic goes all the way back to the 1970s. According to Behe, there is no known evidence that showed Guggenheim, Straus, or Astor opposed the formation of the Federal Reserve. In fact, in 1911, The New York Times reported that Astor was very much in favor of the idea.

Further, Reuters published that it's widely agreed upon by experts that the sinking of the Titanic was an accident. The ship struck an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912. Within hours, more than 1,500 people had died.


Beattie, Andrew, et al. "How the Federal Reserve Was Formed." Investopedia, 24 June 2007, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/federal-reserve.asp.

Bird, Mike. "There's a Wild Conspiracy Theory That the Rothschilds Sank the Titanic to Set up the Federal Reserve." Business Insider, 12 Oct. 2015, https://www.businessinsider.com/conspiracy-theory-that-the-rothschilds-and-federal-reserve-proponents-sank-the-titanic-2015-10.

"CORRECTED-Fact Check-J.P. Morgan Did Not Sink the Titanic to Push Forward Plans for the U.S. Federal Reserve." Reuters, 17 Mar. 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-titanic-conspiracy-idUSL1N2LF18G.

"Federal Reserve Board - Structure of the Federal Reserve System." Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/structure-federal-reserve-system.htm.

"ISIDOR STRAUS URGES NEW BANKING PLAN; Replies to J.J. Hill's Attack on the National Reserve Association Scheme." The New York Times, 16 Oct. 1911, https://www.nytimes.com/1911/10/16/archives/isidor-straus-urges-new-banking-plan-replies-to-jj-hills-attack-on.html.

"John Jacob Astor | American Businessman [1864-1912]." Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Jacob-Astor-American-businessman-1864-1912.

Kennedy, Dana. "Divers Find Champagne, Dishes In Shipwreck, But No Gold Yet." AP News, 16 July 1987, https://apnews.com/article/a9b6a7e5cd8104edf4501f876eebf44b.

Segal, Troy, et al. "Central Bank." Investopedia, 18 Nov. 2003, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/centralbank.asp.

"The White Star Line and The International Mercantile Marine Company." Titanic Historical Society, 28 Mar. 2018, https://titanichistoricalsociety.org/international-mercantile-marine-company/.

TinEye Reverse Image Search. https://tineye.com/.

"Titanic | History, Sinking, Rescue, Survivors, Movies, & Facts." Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Titanic.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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