The Spanish-American War was inevitable and necessary: inevitable given the irreconcilable political positions dividing the Cuban, Spanish, and American people, and necessary to bring an early end to the Cuban-Spanish colonial war. Spanish misrule and Cuban nationalism had caused the colonial revolution. Once the revolution was under way, peninsulares and wealthy Creoles advocated concentrating the peasantry in fortified towns and destroying crops in order to isolate and end the rebellion. The Spanish knew reconcentration would be costly in lives and human misery; nevertheless, Cánovas and Weyler adopted this strategy. But it failed to end the rebellion. Sagasta's reforms, which aimed to rally moderates, attract insurgents, and satisfy peninsulares, had unrealistic expectations for success. The reforms came too late and were only halfway measures. Few autonomists remained, and Madrid tightly controlled the new insular regime by selecting the executives and manipulating the insular legislative elections. This was not the Canadian model Moret had promised. Sagasta delayed giving Cubans control over tariffs to avoid offending peninsular businessmen, and Blanco did not abolish all reconcentration until April. The Spanish government also waffled on the role of military power in ending the insurrection, courting military officers by giving lip service to defeating the insurgents. When these tardy, limited, and contradictory measures faltered, the Spanish government unrealistically blamed the failure on American support of the New York Junta. The Spanish ascribed Washington's aggressive behavior to decades of American interest in acquiring the wealth of Cuba.
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Publication information: Book title: An Unwanted War:The Diplomacy of the United States and Spain over Cuba, 1895-1898. Contributors: John L. Offner - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 225.