“Maine” incident

– the war between the United States and Spain in 1898

in the late 1890s, with the rise of American national strength, monopoly capital consortia urgently needed to open up new markets, investment places and raw material producing areas, so various publicity machines created public opinion for foreign expansion. Moreover, its external expansion ambition has also expanded sharply, dreaming of re dividing the world. However, in view of his own strength at that time, he did not dare to play the idea of old capitalist powers such as Britain and France, so he had to focus on those aging empires. In contrast, only Spain was a good target. At this time, Spain, the former huge empire, was left with only a few colonies such as Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in Asia. The United States decided to attack Spain first, seize Cuba and the Philippines, which have long been coveted, control Central America and the Caribbean, and obtain bases for expansion to the Far East and Asia.

Cuba, known as the “Pearl of the Caribbean Sea”, is only 92 nautical miles away from the United States. Americans have long regarded it as their “due thing in their territory”. In order to annex Cuba, the United States authorities have exhausted all means, but have never succeeded. The Philippines, which is rich in products, has also been within the expanded vision of Americans. If the Philippines is occupied, the entire shipping route of the United States will have a great breakthrough. It is precisely by seizing strategic places such as Cuba and the Philippines that the Americans want to establish stable expansion bases and gradually realize their ambition to dominate the world. But the declining Spanish colonists were unwilling to give up their territory, and a battle was imminent.

in fact, as early as 1895, during the Cuban war of independence, the investment and commercial interests of the United States in Cuba were also hurt. In 1898, the personal letter of the Spanish ambassador to the United States, dipie de Lome, was disclosed by the New York magazine on February 9. In a letter to a friend, de Lome said that US President McKinley was a “pretentious politician” and revealed Spain’s determination to persevere in Cuba. The publication of the letter caused an uproar in the United States. Under the pretext of “helping the Cuban Revolution”, the United States sent the battleship Maine to Havana under the pretext of protecting the overseas Chinese.

“maine” battleship

on the evening of February 15, 1898, it was quiet in Havana, Cuba. An ancient lighthouse overlooks the sea. Under the flickering light, hundreds of ships on the sea can be seen faintly. In the harbor, the Maine was moored on the sea, and the American sailors on the deck were singing and dancing, drinking and laughing. Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and the Maine trembled violently. Then the smoke billowed and the fire burst into the sky, and the whole Maine became a fireball. Soon, the whole Maine tilted slowly to the right. Seeing that the situation was gone, the crew jumped into the sea and fled for their lives. About 266 officers and soldiers were killed in the incident. The United States asserted that the Maine exploded and sank because it “touched a mine”. Who caused the

“maine” incident? Were they Spanish? public opinions are divergent. However, the United States, which had long planned to compete with Spain for the “fat meat” of Cuba, was worried that there was no excuse to challenge Spain. They immediately blamed Spain for the “maine” incident and insisted that the “maine” incident was caused by Spanish agents. For a time, “remember the Maine incident” and “go to hell with the Spaniards” became the most popular words among the American population. Many Americans who did not know the truth had the impulse of “just intervention”.

on March 25, U.S. President McKinley officially announced that the “maine” warship exploded because it touched a mine arranged by Spain, and issued an ultimatum to the Spanish government, demanding that Spain immediately stop the war with the Cuban Revolutionary Army until October 1, so that the United States can carry out “friendly mediation”. The Spanish government tried to avoid war with the United States, so it agreed to all the requirements of the United States. At the same time, it also invited European countries to mediate. On April 7, the ambassadors of Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Russia to the United States sent a note to the United States, hoping that the Cuban issue could be resolved through peaceful means. US President McKinley, who has always been known for “keeping his eyes on the domestic political barometer”, replied that he also hopes for peace. If the United States is still forced to intervene in the future, it is also for “human happiness”.

US soldiers on the Cuban battlefield in the fierce battle

on April 11, McKinley asked Congress to authorize him to “use us land and naval forces when necessary” in order to “ensure the establishment of a stable government that can maintain order and implement international obligations on the Cuban island”. On April 19, McKinley’s request was approved by both houses of Congress. Out of desperation, the Spanish government declared war on the United States on April 23. On April 25, the United States also declared war on Spain. The long brewing war between the United States and Spain finally broke out!

wars were fought in the Philippines and Cuba. In the Philippines, on May 1, the US Asian sub fleet commanded by Dewey completely annihilated the Spanish sub fleet commanded by montoho in Manila Bay. The Western army suffered 381 casualties and the US army only injured 7. From June to July, general Merritt led 15000 American Expeditionary troops to land in Manila Bay, defeated the Western army (42000) with the cooperation of the Philippine rebel army, and occupied Manila on August 13. From June 22 to 23, general Schaft led about 18000 U.S. troops to land east of Santiago. On July 1, he launched an attack on the positions of the Western army in elkane and San Juan highland, and repulsed the Western army through fierce fighting. On July 3, the Spanish sub fleet blocked in the bay of Santiago failed to break through and was completely annihilated. On July 17, 24000 Santiago defenders surrendered. On the 25th, the US army occupied Puerto Rico. On August 10, the two sides signed the Paris peace treaty between the United States and Western Europe. The peace treaty stipulates: Article 1: Spain waives all claims and rights of sovereignty over Cuba. Article 2: Spain cedes its jurisdiction over Puerto Rico, other islands in the West Indies and Guam in the Mariana Islands to the United States. Article 3: Spain cedes the Philippine Islands to the United States,… The United States pays Spain $20 million.

that’s it, the Spanish American war went down in history as the first imperialist war. Although the war was not large-scale and lasted for a long time (only three months), the “rising star” of the imperialist camp, the United States, simply pulled so much fat from the mouth of the old colonial empire Spain, So that some Americans said proudly, “no war in history has achieved such brilliant results with such small losses in such a short time.”

however, as an article of imperialist war and an example of colonists trampling on the interests of weak and small countries, this war has been criticized in every way. Even Mark Twain, a great American writer, said angrily that “the white bar on the American flag should be painted black, and the star bar on the flag should be changed to skull and crossbones”.