Friday, February 15, 2008

Remember the Maine!, To h**l with Spain!

February 15, 1898. 110 years ago to the day, the USS Maine was sunk in the harbor at Havana, Cuba. 274 men would lose their lives either in the explosion or soon after from injury. To this day the reason for the explosion and subsequent sinking of the ship is unknown. However, it did help spark the beginning of what Theodore Roosevelt would call "the splendid little war" better known as the Spanish-American War. Interestingly enough, President McKinley did not want to go to war. However, the outrageous reporting of the news by Joseph Pulitzer & William Randolph Hearst helped spread American dissent with Spain. When that was combined with the pro-war sentiments of Teddy Roosevelt and others, war was inevitable. The war was short, and depending upon who you ask, very "successful". The United States would take off at this point on its way to becoming a world power. Spain, on the other hand, would begin its decline as a world power. Outside of gaining Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines...perhaps the biggest thing the war did was launch the career of Teddy Roosevelt. If you are interested in learning more about this, I recommend a great book by G.J.A. O'Toole. Roosevelt would later say, "Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace." A fascinating man at a fascinating time.