Evaluation of cause of invasion of Cuba by US in 1898
The United States invasion of Cuba in the year 1898 is usually referred to as the Spanish American war. The US government due to its concern for Cuban government released a warship in the year 1897. The war ship was named USS Maine and was under the control of Captain Charles D. Sigsbee. The intention of this mission was to give aid to Cuba. The US government also wants to learn possible escape routes in case things could blow out of proportion. Interestingly, after the ship was off shores, a rude magazine article was written about US President McKinley. United States was outraged by this article that featured in the New York journal of February 1898 whereas the Spain was discomfited. This was the hallmark of the increase in tension between Spanish and American government (Gamble 349-358).
The Maine, a powerful war ship docked in the harbors of Spain a few days after announcement of its coming. This further outraged the Spaniards. Contrary to the statement that this was a sociable mission, the Spaniards felt intimidated. Their belief was that, by affecting the Spanish policy towards Cuban insurrections they were interfering with autonomy of Spain. The Spain government thus got really upset. Their anger was due to intimidation and the fact that their liberty was being compromised by a foreign government. Which government could have to react to this? Any other government in such a situation could have done exactly what the Spaniard government did (Moruzzi 2-8).
The most important lesson learnt is the fact that, explosion of USS Maine ship occurred in the Cuba’s Havana harbor and claimed lives of up to 260 American crew members who were on board. This was one of the first ever built American battleships at a cost of $2 million. The intention of sending this ship was to protect the interest of US citizens who were residing in Cuba during this period. Despite the fact it was ruled that the warship was blown by a mine, most American citizens and leaders believed the attack was orchestrated by Spain and demanded for retaliatory attack on Spain (Gamble 349-358).
The Spanish-American war broke up due to failure of diplomatic talks between the nations. Moreover, United States government felt that Spain had oppressed Cuba for quite so long and it was high time the domination be brought to rest. This dominion was seen to be a contributing factor to losses made by US investments in the state of Cuba. The oppression of Spain on Cuba was really brutal and the by then humanitarians cried loud for the end of it. But who could have brought all these to an end if not United States of America. None could have fought against such a brutal government if not the one already at its harbor. No one could have challenged Spain if not the already wounded US because her warship had been sank at the docks. Also none would have intervened between this domination if not one whose economy was affected by the subjugation. American government got into these wars with several reasons (Foner 6-13).
The battle between US and Spain lasted for a period of three months. Interestingly, US emerged victorious after ruthlessly defeating Spanish forces on both sea and land. The battle was brought to an end in August. Subsequent events that followed include due signing of peace treaty between USA and Spain on 12th December same year. This treaty was dabbed the treaty of Paris and it lead to end of American-Spanish war. Moreover, USA was granted its oversea empire by this peace agreement. Further investigations into the cause of explosion of Maine warship however, later revealed that it could have been possibly are due to fire that ignited its ammunition stock and not a Spanish sabotage or mine as earlier believed (Brody 3-10).
The discussion shows that the American- Spanish war was initiated by the explosion of USS Maine. The explosion was just the initiator of war. The USA government got involved in all this war due to several reasons. First, she was protecting the rights of her citizens whom she believed were being oppressed by the Spanish government. Secondly, she was protecting her own interest. Economically the oppression was affecting her. Her investments were under siege and this called for the need to intervene. Moreover, the Maine warship was one of the most important war resources US governments had at such moment and so losing it to an explosion called for the urgent need to revenge (Adorno 154-165).
In a nutshell, the explosion of USS Maine causes a war that brought to an end the Spaniard rule. The Spanish government had used cultural superiority and violence as a justification of their oppressive rule. Interestingly, the same violence they had employed denied them what they had claimed to own initially which is Cuba. The explosion of Maine warship as discussed herein was the beginning of the end of Spain’s colonial reign on Cuba.
Adorno, Theodor W., Max Horkheimer, Benedict Anderson, and David Anderson. “Adas, Michael.“Improving on the Civilizing Mission? Assumptions of United States Exceptionalism in the Colonization of the Philippines.” In The New American Em-pire: A 21st-Century Teach-In on US Foreign Policy, edited by Lloyd C. Gardner and Marilyn Young, 153–81. New York: New Press, 2005.
Brody, David. Visualizing American empire: Orientalism and imperialism in the Philippines. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW Norton & Company, 2013.
Gamble, Richard M. “America Unbound.” Orbis 51, no. 2 (2007): 349-362.
Moruzzi, Peter. Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was a Tropical Playground. Gibbs Smith, 2009.
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