Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War

Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War

Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War

Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War

Synopsis

Foreshadowing the twentieth-century experience, the Spanish American War was America's first modern foreign war. Catapulting the United States into an international world power, it had lasting international implications. Besides America's acquisition of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Guam, the war led the United States to take to the international stage, confronting Germany and Japan, and creating a diplomatic bridge between Great Britain and the United States. For Spain the 1898-1899 conflict was the death knell of empire. This volume provides easily accessible information on the naval and army operations, Spanish operations, and the political background to the military events, with an emphasis on future foreign affairs.

Excerpt

Among those who know much about the Spanish American War, this episode of American history gets mixed reviews--the arc of historical opinion swings erratically and wide. Commenced in the heat of an idealistic American desire to free Cuba from its oppressive colonial Spanish overlord, the conflict ended with a newly acquired U.S. empire in two hemispheres. In the nineteenth century, empire was not quite the dirty word that it became in the twentieth. Empire had many and influential supporters, but empire was not a monologue. The anti- expansionist movement at fin de siècle also had influential supporters. American combatants, flushed with almost universal easy victories, proudly regaled the rest of the population with books and articles about this-or-that heroic action. The press willingly cooperated in this wartime and postwar enthusiasm. Thus, many of the contemporary accounts emphasized the pluck of combatants and perseverance in the face of the adversities of combat. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt, one of the Spanish American War's most ebullient participants, catapulted himself onto the national stage by means of wartime exploit and exploitation. The nation awarded medals, erected monuments, composed songs, wrote stories, paraded its veterans, and in general exuberantly celebrated this brief feat of arms. Veterans' groups sprouted vigorously in this freshly turned soil and retained enough vitality that over four decades later George Dewey's flagship Olympia was spared the shipbreaker's torch during the crisis of World War II. Enthusiasm for the war lingered in the 1 930s when Richmond P. Hobson received his Medal of Honor and Tom Mix, popular cowboy movie hero, claimed to have ridden with the Rough Riders and to have served in the Philippine Insurrection. Mix did serve in the military during the war, but his unit never left the United States. It is revealing that Mix's publicists of the 1920s and 1930s felt that Spanish American War service was still sufficiently romantic that the manufactured myths surrounding the box office hero included liberal . . .

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