The Spanish–American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role. The Library of Congress archives contain many films and film clips from the war.  In addition, a few feature films have been made about the war.
- April 21, 1898 – August 13, 1898, (3 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
- American victoryTreaty of Paris of 1898Founding of the First Philippine Republic and beginning of the Philippine–American War
The Spanish–American War was a war fought between Spain and the United States of America in 1898. The war was fought in part because many people wanted Cuba, one of the last parts of the Spanish Empire, to become independent. Many Americans also wanted their country to get a colonial empire.
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The Spanish–American War catapulted Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency, marked the beginning of the modern United States Army, and led to the first establishment of American colonies overseas. The war proved seminal for Spain as well.
- April 25, 1898 – August 12, 1898, (3 months, 2 weeks and 4 days)
- Treaty of Paris, American victory, Protectorate over Cuba, Decline of the Spanish Empire, Generation of '98, Outbreak of the Philippine–American War
- Declaration of War
- Theaters of Operation
- Peace Treaty
- Propaganda in The War
- Military Decorations
- Further Reading
- External Links
By the late nineteenth century Spain was left with only a few scattered possessions in the Pacific Ocean, Africa, and the West Indies. Much of the Spanish Empire had gained its independence and a number of the areas still under Spanish control were clamoring to do so. Guerrilla forces were operating in the Philippines, and had been present in Cuba since before the 1868-1878 Ten Years' War. The Spanish government did not have the financial resources or the personnel to deal with these revolts and resorted to forcibly emptying the countryside and the filling of the cities with concentration camps (in Cuba) to separate the rebels from their rural base of support. Many hundreds of thousands of Cubans died of starvation and disease in these circumstances - 200,000 alone in the more peaceful western Cuba. The Spaniards also carried out many executions of suspected rebels and harshly treated suspected sympathizers. The war saw both Cuban rebels and Spanish troops burning and destroying inf...
The main reason for the American declaration of war was Spain's inability to guarantee peace and stability in Cuba. Repeatedly promising to do better, little changed. The explosion of the Maine did not cause the war but it focused American attention on Cuba; the call was for an immediate solution. Spanish minister Práxedes Mateo Sagastadid try to compromise, including withdrawing obnoxious officials in Cuba, and making yet another proposal for Cuba's autonomy sometime in the future. President William McKinley and Speaker Thomas Reed were the leaders of the peace party in the U.S., but were overwhelmed by public opinion. The decisive event was probably the speech of Republican Senator Redfield Proctor in mid-March, thoroughly and calmly analyzing the situation and concluding war was the only answer. The business and religious communities, which had opposed war, now switched sides, leaving McKinley and Reed almost alone. Thus, on April 11, McKinley asked Congress for authority to send...
 The Philippines
1. For more on engagements in the Philippines, please see Philippine-American War, Philippine Revolution. The first battle was in the sea near the Philippines where, on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey, commanding the United States Pacific fleet, in a matter of hours, defeated the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón, without sustaining a casualty, at the Battle of Manila Bay. The success of the Pacific Fleet was due to the Spanish Navy being trapped in the bay. Meanw...
Theodore Roosevelt actively encouraged intervention in Cuba and, while assistant secretary of the Navy, placed the Navy on a war-time footing. He ordered Dewey and the Pacific fleet to the Philippines and he worked with Leonard Wood in convincing the Army to raise an all-volunteer regiment, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. Wood was given command of the regiment that became quickly known as the "Rough Riders".
 Puerto Rico
During May 1898, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the United States Fourth Artillery was sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government prior to the invasion. On May 10 U.S. Navy warships were sighted off the coast of Puerto Rico. On May 12, a squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson bombarded San Juan, Puerto Rico. During the bomb...
With both fleets incapacitated, Spain sued for peace. Hostilities were halted on August 12. The formal peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris, was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898 and was ratified by the United States Senate on February 6, 1899. It came into force on April 11, 1899. Cubans participated only as observers. The United States gained almost all of Spain's colonies, including the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Cubawas granted independence, but the United States imposed various restrictions on the new government, including prohibiting alliances with other countries. On August 14, 1898, 11,000 ground troops were sent to occupy the Philippines. When U.S. troops began to take the place of the Spanish in control of the country, warfare broke out between U.S. forces and the Filipinos.
The war resulted in three territorial conquests for the U.S., tens of thousands of Spanish and Cuban killed before American intervention, and the deaths of perhaps a quarter of a million Filipinos . The Spanish-American War is significant in American history, as it saw the young nation emerge as a power on the world stage, though with a domain smaller than that of Britain or France. The war marked American entry into world affairs: over the course of the next century, the United States had a large hand in various conflicts around the world. The Panic of 1893was over by this point, and the United States entered a lengthy and prosperous period of high economic growth, population growth, and technological innovation which would last through the 1920s. The Spanish-American war marked the end of Spain as a superpower. The defeat paradoxically postponed the civil war that seemed imminent in 1898 and created a renaissance known as the Generation of 1898. The Spanish broke into civil war in...
Historians debate the extent to which propaganda--rather than true stories and actual events--caused the war. In the 1890s, while competing over readership of their newspapers in New York City, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer’s yellow journalism are said to sway public opinionin New York City. They were not influential in the rest of the country. By appealing to the territoriality and ethnocentrism of readers, Hearst and Pulitzer had some influence over American opinion of the Spanish. The Spanish soldiers, portrayed as cruel and bloodthirsty, were accused of countless illegal and immoral acts. Allegations were made that innocent women were strip searched by callous troops, or taken prisoner and thrown into Cuban jails full of violent criminals. These images and stories invoked the public outcry that led to war. One of the most effective ways to rouse emotion was to portray the victimization of women, the most prominent being Evangelina Betancourt Cisneros. The articles...
In the United States, the Spanish-American War also saw its first resurgence since the Civil Warand the conflict saw the first wide scale recognition of individual acts of bravery by soldiers, marines, and sailors alike. The United States awards and decorations of the Spanish-American War were as follows: 1. Medal of Honor(Extreme Acts of Heroism or Bravery) 2. Specially Meritorious Service Medal(Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Actions) 3. Spanish Campaign Medal(General Service) 4. West Indies Campaign Medal(West Indies Naval Service) 5. Sampson Medal(West Indies service under Admiral Sampson) 6. Dewey Medal(Battle of Manila Bay Service) 7. Spanish War Service Medal(U.S. Army Homeland Service) 8. Army of Puerto Rican Occupation Medal(Post-War Occupation Duty) 9. Army of Cuban Occupation Medal(Post-War Occupation Duty) The Spanish Campaign Medal was upgradeable to include the Silver Citation Starto recognize those U.S. Army members who had performed individual acts of heroism. The...
1. Benjamin R. Beede, ed. The War of 1898 and U.S. Interventions, 1898-1934(1994). an encyclopedia 2. Donald H. Dyal, Brian B. Carpenter, Mark A. Thomas; Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American WarGreenwood Press, 1996 3. Hendrickson, Kenneth E., Jr. The Spanish-American WarGreenwood, 2003. short summary
 Diplomacy and causes of the war
1. James C. Bradford , ed., Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War and Its Aftermath(1993), essays on diplomacy, naval and military operations, and historiography. 2. Lewis L. Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley(1982) 3. Ernest R. May, Imperial Demoracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power(1961) 4. Walter Millis, The Martial Spirit: A Study of Our War with Spain(1931) 5. H. Wayne Morgan, America's Road to Empire: The War with Spain and Overseas Expansion(1965) 6...
 The war
1. Donald Barr Chidsey, The Spanish American War ( New York, 1971) 2. Cirillo, Vincent J. Bullets and Bacilli: The Spanish-American War and Military Medicine2004. 3. Graham A. Cosmas, An Army for Empire: The United States Army and the Spanish-American War(1971) 4. Frank Freidel, The Splendid Little War(1958), well illustrated narrative by scholar 5. Allan Keller, The Spanish-American War: A Compact History1969 6. Gerald F. Linderman, The Mirror of War: American Society and the Spanish-America...
- Operational history
In the late nineteenth century, the United States grew in industrial and economic strength. By the 1880s, the nation was one of the most robust in the Western Hemisphere, wielding increasing power in the region despite a stated policy of neutrality. In 1898, diplomatic relations between the United States and Spain began to sour over Spain's domination of Latin America and some parts of the Caribbean. Reports of the brutal rule of Spanish General Valeriano Wyler in Cuba inflamed public opinion in the United States. The convergence of anti-Spanish public opinion and the government's desire to protect American economic interests in Cuba prompted tense diplomatic meetings between Spain and the United States. Within weeks of the sinking of the Maine, intelligence operatives intercepted a private letter between the Spanish Ambassador to the United States and a friend in Havana, Cuba. The letter disparaged U.S. President McKinley, and hinted at plans to commit acts of sabotage against American property in Cuba. The letter was published by several newspapers, further agitating public opinion. On April 19, 1898, Congress resolved to end Spanish rule in Cuba. In the first military action of the war, the United States blockaded Cuban ports on April 22, 1898. The Navy transferred several vessels to neighboring Florida to consolidate the forces available to fight the Spanish in the Caribbean. Naval presence off the Florida coast also facilitated the transfer of information from the battlefront to the government in Washington, D.C.
vessel. 266 Navy seamen and two high-ranking officers perished in the accident. The event consumed newspaper headlines for weeks. Sensationalistic reporting, dubbed \\"yellow journalism,\\" helped to swell the tide of pro-war sentiment in the United States.
On May 1, 1898, the United States Asiatic Squadron, under the command of George Dewey, sailed into Manila Bay and attacked the Spanish. The Spanish fleet was decimated, but the United States sustained no losses. Though the Spanish surrendered the Philippines, the United States fleet remained, and began a campaign to take the island as a United States territory. The ensuing conflict lasted until 1914.
In June 1898 United States intelligence learned, via telegraph intercepts, that the Spanish fleet planned to attack the U.S. blockade in Cuba and draw ships into a naval battle in the Caribbean. When the Spanish fleet arrived in the region, United States Naval Intelligence tracked them and gave chase. United States commanders hoped to deplete Spanish fuel reserves before engaging them in battle. The United States backed off, and redeployed to aid blockade ships stationed around Havana. The Spanish ships proceeded undetected to the narrow harbor of Santiago, Cuba. When the Spanish commander telegraphed his government to declare his position, U.S. agents working in Florida intercepted the cable. The United States fleet moved to intercept the Spanish at Santiago. The U.S. Navy blockaded the port and immobilized the Spanish fleet. The Spanish attempted to run the blockade on July 3, but the entire fleet of six ships was destroyed.
In the final phase of the war, the United States deployed ground forces to sweep Spanish forces out of Havana and Santiago. The \\"Rough Riders,\\" the most famous of which was Theodore Roosevelt, worked with rebel groups to take control of the nation's capitol and ferret out remaining Spanish forces in the countryside. The U.S. troops then departed Cuba for Puerto Rico, driving the Spanish from the island. The war ended with the Spanish surrender on July 17, 1898. The event signaled a new international stance for the United States, as the nation began to acquire territories and dominate the politics of the Western Hemisphere. As a result of the Spanish-American War, or in its immediate wake, the United States gained Guantanamo Bay, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Hawaii. The Spanish-American War, though a brief conflict, helped to revolutionize United States intelligence organizations and their operations. Before the war, agencies like the Office of Naval Intelligence relied on openly available sources for their information. After the war, personnel were trained in espionage tradecraft, and covert operations became standard intelligence community practice. Congress briefly entertained the idea of establishing a permanent, civilian intelligence corps, but the agency never materialized. Despite the progress made with technological surveillance, espionage tradecraft, and inter-agency cooperation made during the war, the intelligence community was once again allowed to slip into disarray until the eve of World War I.
Musicant, Ivan. Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century. Henry Holt, 1998. O'Toole, G. J. A. The Spanish-American War: An American Epic, 1898. New York: W.W. Norton, 1986.
Spanish–American War (1898) Location: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines and Guam. Teddy Roosevelt and the "Rough Riders" charge Spanish positions during the Battle of ...
Apr 14, 2021 · Spanish-American War, (1898), conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America. Roosevelt, Theodore; Rough Riders
Mexican–American War; Clockwise from top left: Winfield Scott entering Plaza de la Constitución after the Fall of Mexico City, U.S. soldiers engaging the retreating Mexican force during the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, U.S. victory at Churubusco outside Mexico City, marines storming Chapultepec castle under a large U.S. flag, Battle of Cerro Gordo