Sinking of the Battleship Maine
There have been many wars since America has been a country. What showed the world that America had become a world power would have to be the
Spanish-American war. What are not important are the battles but how America stepped. In the 1890’s it was time for America to show that it was a
super power in the world, but where would they conquer. Since the lands have been conquered, America would have to seize it from some other nation. It
would have to small. “…America should start small. In 1898, Spain was weak and America knew it. Soon the opportunity to strike arose.” (N.P,
N.D, Remember the Maine)
Cuba had been trying to gain independence from Spain for years. Spain was getting desperate so they opened up concentration all around Cuba.
“Anyone who was suspected of supporting independence was removed from the general population and sent to concentration camps…. Conditions at the
camp lead to 200,000 to die of disease and malnutrition.” (N.P, Remember the Maine) This information was leaked to famous news writers and this was
leaked to the American public. The American public was enraged and disgusted. They themselves were once controlled by the Great Britain, so they felt
for the rebels, who were trying to take independence like the American people once were.
This wasn’t the only thing that had created much tension between the America and Spain. The Spanish Prime minister, Dupuy De Lome, had offended the
American president and the American public with an appalling letter. “(N.P, Remember the Maine)…, had written a stinging letter about President
McKinley to a personal friend. The letter was stolen and soon found itself on the desk of Hearst, who promptly published it on Feb. 9.” The public
heard and there were uproars throughout the country. The Spanish Prime minister and the Spanish government apologized, but the peace was only
In January of 1898, Spanish forces were instigating riots throughout Cuba. The American government was deeply concerned about the safety of the
American people in the country. “ On 24 January, President McKinley sent the second class battleship USS Maine from Key West to Havana, after
clearing the visit with a reluctant government in Madrid” (Department Of The Navy, The Destruction of USS Maine) USS Maine, was the first battleship
to be named after a state in the U.S. This ship symbolized the country, and many ideals of the public.
The next day, on January 25, the USS Maine arrived. The Spanish forces were cautious of the ship, but showed civility. Out of probability of Captain
Charles Sigsbee forces causing more trouble than there already was there, he barred them from entering the island. The battleship’s presence caused
calmness. “”Fitzhugh Lee, reported that the Navy’s presence appeared to have a calming effect on the situation, and both recommended that the
Navy Department send another battleship to Havana when it came time to relieve Maine .” (Department of the Navy, the Destruction of USS Maine)
A few weeks later the catalyst for the war on Spain had occurred. On February 15 the Battleship USS Maine had been attacked and sunk. 260 sailors
died that evening and shortly after a few more died of injury. Luckily, most of the officers survived, because their quarters were away from the
explosion. “At 9:40 on the evening of February 15, a terrible explosion on board Maine shattered the stillness in Havana Harbor…. More than five
tons of powder charges for the vessel’s six and ten inch guns ignited. Two hundred and sixty men lost their lives as a result of the disaster.
(Department of the Navy, the Destruction of USS Maine)
Many weeks had been spent gathering information on why this had happened. Without the proper expertise, and the lack of evidence, it was announced
that a mine had blown up the ship. The board of the investigation did not fix the blame on who caused the explosion, even though Spain demanded to
gain every piece of evidence, so this disaster could not contributed to them. “In a cable, the Spanish Prime Minister of the colonies, Segismundo
Moret, had advised Blanco “to gather every fact you can prove the Maine catastrophe cannot be attributed to us.” (Michael Rivero, the Lie of the
Century Sinking of the USS Maine) Even though no proof was found that the Spanish had blown up the USS Maine, The Yellow Press, the media at that
time, wrote provocative articles blaming the Span for the disaster. The public was in an outraged. They demanded war and that is what they got.
“Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain” (Michael Rivero, The Lie of the Century Sinking of the USS Maine) Answering the pleads of the people,
President McKinley, on April 11 had gained permission to intervene with military actions for a blockade. Spain declared war on April 23, then shortly
after America declared war on April 25.
According to Department of the Navy, “The destruction did not cause the U.S. to declare war on Spain, but it served as a catalyst, accelerating the
approach to diplomatic impasse. In addition, the sinking and deaths of U.S. sailors rallied American Opinion more strongly behind armed
intervention.” (Department of the Navy, the Destruction of USS Maine) Even though it did not directly cause the war, it definitely gave the people a
reason for war with Spain even though, there was no proof. The American government did not discredit Yellow Press from their biased and unethical
presses of the battleship. It as if the government wanted to go to war, to show the world can take on a super power like Spain. Many researchers into
this disasters , “Mikhail Khazin, a Russian Economist, speaking in a 2008 Pravda interview of the need in troubled times to change the psychology of
society, to unite it, said that “ the Americans blew up their own battleship Maine.” “Cubans officials argue that the U.S. may have deliberately
sunk the ship to create a pretext for military action against Spain. The wording on Maine monument in Havana describes sailors as “victims
sacrificed to the imperialist greed in its fervor to seize control of Cuba.” believe that it was a false flag.” (Michael Rivero, the Lie of the
Century Sinking of the USS Maine) The sinking of the battleship USS Maine was a disaster that was poorly credited, misinforming the public, into
believing that Spain caused their ship to sink with the U.S. sailors. It shows that the government will be elusive like this situation.
Michael Rivero, N.D., The Lie of the Century Sinking of the USS Main
N.D., N.P, “Remember the Maine!”
Department if the Navy –Naval History And Heritage Command, N.D., The Destruction of USS Maine
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