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The Spanish-American War

During a short-lived phase of expansionism the United States wrested Cuba and the Philippines from their Spanish rulers. 

The Battle of Manila Bay

The outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898, was a major affront to the established rules of international conduct. Few wars can be attributed entirely to the activity of one party; but the Spanish-American War is one of them. The difference in power between the two combatants was so great that Spanish anxiety to avoid the war was not in question, and was modified only by pride.

The responsibility for the war was American, and contemporary Europe was in no doubt of the fact. Yet the war was curiously lacking in consequence. It was an aberration in American policy, the result of a surge of expansionism that quickly died.

The ostensible cause of the war was the persistent rebellion against Spanish rule in Cuba, a rebellion that the Spaniards could not subdue. Ultimately the United States decided that the guerilla war, which was ruining the island, must be brought to an end; they determined to end it. This decision was preceded by months of argument and negotiation in which the impossibility of reconciling Spanish and American views became apparent.

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