USII.4a The Spanish American War

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the changing role of the United States from the late nineteenth century through World War I by
a) explaining the reasons for and results of the Spanish American War.

What were the reasons for the Spanish American War?

**  Economic interests and public opinion often influence U.S. involvement in international affairs.

Reasons for the Spanish American War
• Protection of American business interests in Cuba

• American support of Cuban rebels to gain independence from Spain

• Rising tensions as a result of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor

• Exaggerated news reports of events (Yellow Journalism)

What were the results of the Spanish American War?

** The United States emerged as a world power as a result of victory over Spain in the Spanish American War.

• The United States emerged as a world power.

• Cuba gained independence from Spain.

• The United States gained possession of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Background and Detail 
The content above is from the curriculum resource guide. To put the facts above in context, I have added the additional detail below.

The Spanish American War - April 25-August 12, 1898

The war between the U.S. and Spain, lasted only 4 months.  Most of the fighting occurred on Cuba and the Philippines on opposite sides of the world.

In 1895 Cuban nationalists began a revolt against the Spanish government.  The U.S. was concerned about protection of American business interests in Cuba.  American business owned huge tracts of land in Cuba to grow sugar, and the sugar trade was very profitable for U.S. business.

William McKinley

Cubans had been unhappy with Spanish rule for some time, and Americans were sympathetic. Spain's  harsh attempts to put down the Cuban revolt and cruel treatment of the Cubans increased support in the U.S. for Cuba's struggle for independence. President McKinley, however,  had personally seen so much death and destruction during the Civil War that he was hesitant to get involved.

Yellow Journalism

Newspapers, competing for sales, exaggerated stories of the horrors of Cuban life under oppressive Spanish rule. The Spanish had confined many Cubans to concentration camps. The press called them "death camps."  and wrote headlines like Spanish Cannibalism, Inhuman Torture, Amazon Warriors Fight For Rebels.  Newspapers sent hundreds of reporters, artists, and photographers to Cuba to report Spanish atrocities.

One photographer sent to cover the Cuban revolt sent back the message, "There
Yellow Kid Cartoonis no war. Request to be recalled."  His boss sent back a cable,  "Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."   These newspaper stories of Spanish cruelty sold newspapers and swayed public opinion in favor of intervention.

 The name Yellow Journalism came from this popular cartoon of the Yellow Kid, who wore a yellow gown gown while he mocked upper-class customs.

The Battleship Maine
The  battleship Maine was sent to Cuba to show American concern over Spanish actions and support for the Cuban rebels. The Maine had been in Havana Harbor three weeks when the captain wrote the trouble in Cuba was almost over and the new Spanish governor had the situation under control.

Then one night the battleship blew up and sank, killing 266 men.  The American press immediately blamed the Spanish, though there was no evidence that the the Spanish were responsible. In order to attract readers they even faked pictures showing Spanish soldiers planting mines around the ship. Hundreds of editorials demanded revenge. Soon a rallying cry could be heard everywhere -- in the papers, on the streets, and in the halls of Congress: "Remember the Maine! To ** with Spain." President William McKinley was pressured by Congress into asking for a declaration of war.

The U.S. Becomes a World Power
The war itself lasted only four months, from mid-April to
war.gif (179334 bytes)mid-August 1898. There were 379 American combat deaths, but more than 5,000 servicemen died of disease.
What of the war's consequences? Most immediately it produced the nation's first overseas empire
Begun over the cause of Cuban independence, the war marked the emergence of the United States as a world power and the beginning of American overseas imperialism. Most of the fighting occurred in the Spanish possessions of Cuba and the Philippines on opposite sides of the world.
Representatives of Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty in Paris on December 10, 1898 established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and allowed the victorious power to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million.

World War I

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the changing role of the United States from the late nineteenth century through World War I by
b) explaining the reasons for the United States’ involvement in World War I and its leadership role at the conclusion of the war.
What were the reasons for the United States becoming involved in World War I? Background
(not in curriculum guide)
Disagreements in Europe over territory and boundaries, among other issues, came to a head with the assassination by a Serbian of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914. War broke out one month later. Soon Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire were battling the Allied Powers of Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro and Japan.
A German U-boat Torpedoes a Steamer   In these photographs taken around 1916, an Allied steamer is sunk by U-boat torpedoes. The first major incident involving a ship carrying American citizens occurred on May 17, 1915 with the sinking of the British ocean liner "Lusitania." Though the Germans agreed to halt submarine warfare after this incident, they resumed the practice in early 1917. It was the terrifying, unbridled attacks of the German U-boats or submarines that finally brought America into World War I.
"Lusitania Sunk by A Submarine, Probably 1260 Dead"  This headline from the front page of the May 8, 1915 edition of the "New York Times"
Soldiers Walking Through the Trenches 
The endless miles of trenches employed during World War I were deep, and often fortified with mounded earth and barbed wire fencing. This photograph shows two men carrying an injured soldier.
World War I ended June 28, 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles imposed very harsh restrictions on Germany, including limiting its army to 100,000 men. President Wilson, who opposed the treaty. He prepared his own peace plan called the "Fourteen Points,"  which  included a provision for a League of Nations to prevent future wars.  German territories among the Allied Nations. Many historians believe these terms eventually led to World War II.
German Infantry on the Battlefield
German soldiers are shown advancing across a battlefield during World War I.

There were disagreements about the extent to which the United States should isolate itself from world affairs.
Reasons for U.S. involvement in war
• Inability to remain neutral

• German submarine warfare— sinking of Lusitania

• U.S. economic and political ties to Great Britain
In response to the government's calls for enlistments, two million Americans went to France in 1917 and 1918. Their efforts, combined with those of the French and the British, finally broke the German forces and led to victory for the Allies

The United States involvement in World War I ended a long tradition of avoiding involvement in European conflicts and set the stage for the United States to emerge as a global superpower later in the 20th century.

Who were the Allies?

Who were the Central Powers?

• Great Britain
• France
• Russia
• Serbia
• Belgium

Central Powers
• Germany
• Austria-Hungary
• Bulgaria
• Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
American Gun Crew in Action against Germany --This photograph from 1918, is of American soldiers making an advance against Germans in their trenches.

In what ways did the United States provide leadership at the conclusion of the war?
U.S. leadership as the war ended
• At the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson prepared a peace plan that called for the formation of the League of Nations, a peace-keeping organization.

• The United States decided not to join the League of Nations.>

Airplanes Flying in Formation

This photograph provides a view of airplanes flying in formation during World War I.