Spanish-American War | Animated History


Anything to report? Nope. All is calm. Wait! There! Is that an explosive mine!? Oh, that? That’s a banana-rat. Thing’s the size of a doberman. Yeah, disgusting, isn’t it. Well, everything’s fine then. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. Did I mention I retire in two days? Really. That’s gre– Remember when Spain was the most dominant
power in the western hemisphere? This was them in 1790. 100 years later, not so much. And revolutionaries in Cuba wanted be added
to list of former colonies in 1895 but Spain was having none of it. Enter General Valeriano Weyler, the governor
of Cuba, tasked with crushing the rebellion. He’s perhaps best known for his Reconcentration
camps, but like any M. Night Shaymalan film, his came with a twist. He didn’t detain rebels or undesirables. His camps detained the Cuban people. 1.5 million Cubans, 1/3rd of the population
were, at gunpoint, forced to abandon their homes for these camps that, surprise, had
inadequate food, inadequate supplies, inadequate housing, medical treatment, basically EVERYTHING
and 400,000 Cubans died earning him the nickname “The Butcher.” Who gave him this name? These guys. American newspapers publishers like Joseph
Pulitzer and his New York World and William Randolph Hearst and his New York Journal. And these guys hated each other just as much as
the loved selling papers using yellow journalism, or sensationalism and crude exaggeration. Readers loved hearing about the patriotic
Cubans fighting against tyrannical and sometimes tawdry Spanish. But the papers and the public weren’t enough
to have the U.S. intervene in the Cuban War for Independence. You need the businesses and politicians too. See, the late 1800s was all about imperialism,
finding new markets to, ehem, trade with you. The U.S. had dabbled in this, sending Commodore
Matthew Perry to go open Japan and helping Sandford Dole to rearrange the power structure
in Hawaii, but why go all the way over there when there’s a perfectly good, civil war-ravaged
island in your own backyard? And many in Congress felt that if the US was
going to be a big boy country, it was going to have to start poking its nose in international
affairs. So when the USS Maine was sent to protect
American interests in Cuban, namely sugar plantations, and mysteriously blew up on February
15th, 1898, the people were like “Yes!,” big business was like “Yes!,” Warhawks
were like “Yes!,” Mark Twain was like “No!,” and Hearst and Pulitzer were like… Hearst, you old hugger-mugger. Did you hear about Havana? Went ka-boom. Whole ship’s out of print. You afternnoonified on the why? Why? Why’s it matter? We’re gonna sell a lot of grey ladies! Ha! Sure are, you goopy windbag! Four-flusher! Munz-watcher! Fustilugs! Are we going to do this or what!? Yellow Journalism was in full effect. “Crisis is at Hand… Spanish Treachery.” Yeah, what’s that small font say? Oh, so you don’t really know it was Spain. “Maine Explosion Caused by Bomb or Torpedo”
Oh my god! You know for sure? Oh, question mark. You can print anything with a question mark. “Destruction of the War Ship Maine Was the
Work of an Enemy.” Then why are you issuing a reward for the
evidence? Is it because you got none. It’s because you got none, isn’t it? And this headline, it’s a quote by then-Assistant
Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt. In case you didn’t know, Theodore Roosevelt
had already been a sickly child that manned his way to health, a Harvard educated naval
war historian, a cowboy rancher in the Badlands of North Dakota, the police commissioner of
New York City, and at that point, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy where he super-duper
pushed for building up the fleet and protecting interests in the Pacific and Caribbean. Foreshadowing! That was until war broke out, and he said,
“peace, I’m going to war,” resigned, and started the First US Volunteer Cavalry
Regiment or the Rough Riders because when your Teddy Roosevelt, that’s the kind of
thing you do. Anyway, war had been declared against Spain
by Congress and signed by vampire looking president William McKinley, only the third
time in American history that war had been declared. To the declaration of war, the Teller Amendment
was added that said, “no we’re not trying to make Cuba a colony. No, no, no, no nononono, no, no, no, no… maybe.” So the fighting began on the other side of
the planet. The modern US warships, thanks Teddy, pulverized
the outdated Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines and gave America control of
Spain’s Pacific outpost. Back in the western hemisphere, over 18,000
troops and volunteers were deployed to Cuba under the leadership of General William Shafter,
an elderly, 300 pound plus, Civil War veteran that mainly sweated like a pig the whole war. The fighting was brief but fierce, with the
most famous at San Juan Hill where Teddy Roosevelt and his band of Rough Riders fought tooth
and nail, inch for inch, to finally take the hill and find it was already taken. Buffalo Soldiers? Hey, Teddy. What are you guys doing here? You serious? We’ve been here for a few while now. Oh, uh. Well, this is awkward. Yeah, some of your reporters have been waiting
up here with us. Hope that’s okay. Yeah, sure. You mind taking a photo of me and my men? Little keepsake. No problem. Six weeks after it started, the fighting was
over. A “splendid little war” in which only
385 Americans died from combat, and another 2,000 died from disease and other causes. It’s probable that more soldiers died from
rotten canned meat than fighting. Wonder if anyone’s gonna do anything about
that later. And now it was time to end the war with the
Treaty of Paris. Seriously, another Treaty of Paris. You guys need to pick a new place to make
peace. Woah, woah, woah, buddy. I got this. You don’t need to bother coming in here. Um, you sure. Yeah, it’s just a bunch of legal stuff. Go enjoy your independence. You earned it. I dunno, I kinda think I should be there. Why? I already passed the Teller Amendment saying
we’re totally not gonna make you a colony. Woah, I gotta go. Spain’s getting antsy. What do you call this? Jamon? I dunno, tastes like ham to me. It’s delicious, I can’t stop eating it. Alright buddy, here’s the skinny. You’re free! Spain’s completely pulling out, and we’re
gonna pull in. I got this Platt Amendment that says I have
the right to intervene in you for the preservation of Cuban independence yadda-yadda-yadda-. That cool? Oh yeah, and you can’t allow foreign powers
in Cuba for military purposes. Except for us. We get to lease a base in you forever. But you’re totally independent. Do me a favor. Tell the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico
they’re mine now, too. Say what!?

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