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The Spanish-American War of 1898 is a conflict between Spain and the United States over the intervention of the US to the Cuban War of Independence.
In the 19th century, the Cubans have been fighting for indepedence. Despite the Spaniards' frequent crushing of the revolts, the Cubans were unfazed. But things changed when the USS Maine was sunk in Havana Harbor. The US blamed the Spaniards; the Spaniards say it might be either an accident in the boiler room or just the US rigged it in a weird case of Wounded Gazelle Gambit. Initially, William McKinley was reluctant to declare war, but a Democratic congress forced him to force an ultimatum against Spain that if Spain did not either hand over to the US Cuba or give it its indepedence, it will declare war. The Spaniards refused, and declared war.
While Cuba was the original issue, the war also spread on some of the remaining Spanish colonies. The Puerto Ricans demanded independence, too, and so those in the Philippines who had already a provisional government. US naval power proved to be decisive in the war, especially against a Spanish army decimated by disease and rebellion. Cuban, American, and Philippine forces obtained numerical superiority over the Spaniards despite the Spaniards fighting bravely and gallantly. The infamous Charge in San Juan Hill [in which Teddy Roosevelt got his national fame] was a proof of that, although the Battle of Manila Bay, a Curb Stomp Battle by any standard, was also noted.
Spain later sued for peace, and the Treaty of 1898 was signed over Paris. Cuba was given to the United States and will be later gain independence. The Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico were ceded to the United States. It was a blow to Spanish national psyche and pride and later a group of Spanish writers arose, called the Generation of 98. Meanwhile, the Filipinos were felt cheated and unconsulted, demanded the same independence terms as Cuba, and when the US refused, a second, more brutal war ensued over the Americans and the provisional Philippine government.
The US gained a sense of pride and made it the high watermark of "Manifest Destiny." Surely, the US' Pacific policy have been shapen by its annexation of the Philippines, so its Latin American policy.
Tropes involving the Spanish American War include:
- Badass: many on both sides. The Rough Riders of the United States were just one example.
- Curb Stomp Battle: The Battle of Manila Bay. With the sole American casualty due to heat stroke.
- Custom Uniform: The Rough Riders' uniform. Because of shortage of uniforms, the men in this regiment had to do with blue wool uniforms, impractical in the tropical weather of Cuba. It was combined with a campaign hat and a scarf.
- Theodore Roosevelt: gained fame as the leader of the Rough Riders regiment.