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The Spanish-American War: Causes and Impact

The Spanish-American war was the armed conflict in 1898 between two major countries in that historical period. The fight fundamentally changed the world structure, impacting the future economics and political dominance significantly, hence being an essential event in the development of chronicles (Marolda 4). The research paper will look into the reasons behind the war, its progress, and its effects on the different participants as well as other parties.

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First, the background event leading to the war will be discussed. Political dominance over the country was entitled to Spain, as Cuba was its colony. It should be noted that most of the former colonies of Spain were either possessed by other states or gained independence in 1825 (Marolda 16). After numerous wars because of the colonies, the low point of Spanish colonialism was marked (Losang and Demhardt 100). As a result, the metropolitan country itself was in a critical state where it could not adequately manage its provinces.

In such a way, the main reason for the conflict itself was the Cuban crisis. Local people strived to gain independence from the country-suppressor and fully enjoy the benefits of their productions (Marolda 28). The struggle captures the attention of the US because of several factors. Despite the fact that Spain was a metropolitan country, the economic supremacy in the region belonged to the United States. The estimated US investments counted $50 million annually, while the amount of US trade was attributed to about $100 million (Marolda 34). In addition to that, 90% of Cuba’s total exports were transported to the US in 1894, while the country provided 40% of the island’s imports (Losang and Demhardt 102). Therefore, the struggle for Cuban independence disrupted US economic interests and positioned the country against the Spanish side.

Apart from that, the American sentiment played an important role in causing the armed conflict, which emerged in the more critical concept later. The American media posted information about so-called “Concentration areas” in Cuba, where the local people were treated in an inappropriate way (Chaplin 16). The Spanish government did not provide them with adequate shelter, provision, and medical care, which expectedly resulted in death from exposure, hunger, and disease (Marolda 25). Such stories were graphically depicted in the American journals and newspapers, especially in such sensational institutions like New York World and New York Journalasaplin 4). As a result, they caused humanitarian concern among the American population, which was added to traditional sympathy for colonial people struggling for their nation’s independence. Such a social mindset created the demand for intervention, which gained support in the US Congress.

It is significant to be noted that Spain made actions to resolve the conflict and address its colonial problems. In 1897, the new ministry in Spain offered concessions to the colonial people (Marolda 35). Those measures included abandoning the reconcentration policy and granting the Cuban intelligence opportunity to create their parliament with limited self-government powers (Chaplin 17). However, these propositions were made too late, as the insurgent leaders aimed the total political independence at that moment. Consequently, the war continued, and some battles forced the US to intervene because the US citizens’ safety was questioned (Marolda 63). As a result, the American authorities sent the battleship Maine as a tool to grant security for US citizens and property in the region.

The occasion for the start of the war was the explosion of the battleship Maine mentioned above. Although there was no reliable evidence for the Spanish side’s responsibility for the disaster, the US public stimulated by the influence of the aforementioned yellow journalism helped Spain unquestionably guilty (Marolda 101). The strength of the demand and public pressure upon the government was incredibly high. The widespread rallying cry, which sounded like “Remember Maine, to hell with Spain!” quickly became popular (Chaplin 21). The movement was supported by the religious leaders, which created even higher pressure on the US Congress.

At last, the opposition faded after the speech in the Senate by Sen. Redfield Proctor of Vermont. Returning from the tour in Cuba, he described the situation and convinced the politicians in tof necessity to declare the war (Marolda 32). Moreover, one of the arguments to start the conflict was that Spain was unable to end it with the victory (Chaplin 14). The US side offered the mediation of the dispute in the region to reach peace with the insurgents and noted that nothing but independence for the colony was expected.

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The Spanish side had a dilemma of resolving this conflict. On the one hand, the country was not ready for the war and its consequences. On the other hand, the action of abandonment on the island meant the government’s disestablishment, including the monarchy (Losang and Demhardt 108). Moreover, the Spanish politicians sought support from other European countries, which did not take any action except for weak verbal cooperation (Marolda 47). In the conclusion of lengthy disputes and debates, the American side demanded Spain to relinquish Cuba, which severed the relations and resulted in the war declaration.

Even though the United States was only interested in Cuba and this region in the very beginning, the process and outcome of the war affewar-affectedcantly more territories and parties. It should be noted that both participants were equally unprepared for the war. As a result of the war mainly dependent on sea power, the evident advantage was on the US side (Marolda 59). Using the powerful new battleships in the North Atlantic Squadron, the American ships attacked the Spanish naval vessels anchored in Manila Bay (Losang and Demhardt 110). The troops’ motivation and perception of the situation played a significant role in the victory of Americans (Marolda 37). Officers and men were extremely confident in their supremacy, while opponents felt they were doomed to defeat and clearly understood their country’s position (Chaplin 19). Therefore, the American party without many losses occupied Manila, weakening Spanish squadrons, and decreasing their war resources.

The armed conflict in Caribbeathe n theatre was characterized by the battles on Cuba and Puerto Rico campaign. As the US-controlled the naval access to the region, Spain could not bring support to the fleet present in Cuba (Marolda 93). The US army consisted of regular soldiers and volunteers, as the public was sympathizing with the insurgents and willed to help (Chaplin 23). The American garrison aimed to trap the Spanish fleet between the army and ships, in such a way making them surrender without any fight and subsequent losses (Losang and Demhardt 113). On July 1, 1898, the Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill took place, which impacted the progress of the American army into the island (Marolda 23). These events significantly changed the course of action by allowing the troops to penetrate Santiago’s outer defenses. Even though commanders thought about pausing the battles and await while the incidences of malaria and other diseases became less, the Spanish fleet’s attempt to escape impacted contrary decisions (Marolda 49). All the Spanish ships were destroyed or remained in an inoperative condition, meaning that the American party won the battle (Marolda 76). In addition to that, the American commanders occupied Puerto Rico as well. As the situation was with the struggle in the Philippines, the American army experienced few losses.

When the war was practically over, Spain asked French commissioners to arrange the termination of hostilities. According to the protocol signed on August 12, 1898, which resulted from negotiations in Washington, Spain agreed to surrender Cuba (Marolda 108). Furthermore, the agreement stated that the metropolitan country would cede Puerto Rico and the Mariana Islands in favor of the United States. In the Philippines, the US troops would stay in Manila until the peace treaty would be formed and agreed upon (Marolda 99). It was evident that the American politicians had not considered acquiring the territory on the other side of the globe when they started the armed conflict. Despite this fact, McKinley (US president) and his advisers aimed to retrain the US presence in the strategically important region for enhancing the influence in the Far East region (Losang and Demhardt 120). Moreover, given the European aggressions in China, the basement in the Philippines could be action for the security of the US market interests in the area. As a result, the American government demanthe ded transfer of the possession of about 7000 islands and their inhabitants to them (Marolda 93). Spain reluctantly met the requirement, and in the endpoint, the Spanish parties asked to pay them $20 million for the public buildings and works in the Philippines (Marolda 96). The agreement was fixed by the Treaty of Paris, which was the official end of the war movements.

The effects of the Spanish-American war had a long-term impact. Even though the conflict itself was relatively inexpensive in both material and human resources, it became a significant turning point in the participants’ history. The immediate consequences of the war in Spain were destructive for the nation (Marolda 12). However, the tragedy was followed by the renewal in intellectual, cultural, and material aspects. The government and society began to pay particular atten to the internal politics, development, and progress. Transportation, industry, development of mineral resources production fostered in the country, helping it to reestablish economic strength (Losang and Demhardt 115). Therefore, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a dramatic rising in all social aspects in Spain.

The outcome of the armed conflict for the USA was different but dramatic to the same extent. First, the country increased its land possessions in the world, making it more strategically secure amongst other nations (Marolda 109). Although the stimulus to begin the war was the aim to bring peace to Cuba, the situation was completely different in the result. The country won critical battles in different world regions, which helped it ensure its access to foreign markets (Losang and Demhardt 121). It should be highlighted that shortly after the conflict ended, the US entered the Philippine-American war and experienced even more significant losses than in the fights with Spain (Marolda 111). Despite this fact, generally, the outcome was positive for the country.

There were more changes in the strategic aspect of the country’s politics. The US parties became confident in the necessity to build the Canal in Panama for greater flexibility in transportation. Thus, the US made the Caribbean its lake, and the effect of this event can be observed up to nowadays (Marolda 114). The politicians also understood the importance of the sea weapon and training of men to sea conflicts. Hence, men were stimulated to join the US Navy, which grew significantly after the war, becoming the world’s second largest fleet (Chaplin 25). Besides, the US army, which was seen to be poorly developed in the course of the war, required reforms (Marolda 110). In the course of the war, more men were lost because of exposure and diseases rather than from weapon defeat. That is why the government paid close attention to the development of its soldiery in order to prevent the inevitable unwanted conquests. The US became one of the world’s most strategically influential and essential countries, which had an impact in the Caribbean, the Far East, and later in European relations.

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To conclude, the Spanish-American war was a significant event that resulted in long-term consequences in world politics and structure. It can be called the battle of the empire and democracy, as participants had different ideologies. The US decision to enter the war was partially stimulated by the social mind, whereas Spanish politicians decided solely on the basis of considerations for the monarchy. The effect of the outcome can be observed nowadays by looking at the influence of the United States.

Works Cited

Chaplin, Nathan. “The American Press During the Spanish American War: Race, Reconcentration, and Paternalism.” Creighton University, 2018, pp. 1-26.

Losang, Eric, and Imre Demhardt. “Change of Sovereignty and Cartographic Advance: Cartographic Implications of the Spanish-American War of 1898.” Dissemination of Cartographic Knowledge, 2017, pp. 99-128.

Marolda, Edward, editor. Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy and the Spanish-American War. Springer, 2016.

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