‘Remember the Maine!’ rehashed


ON Feb. 15, 1898 the American battleship USS Maine was sunk by an explosion at Havana Harbor, killing all 260 navy men on board. Two prominent publishers, Randolph Hearst of The New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer of The New York World, foremost purveyors of what since that time has come to be known as yellow journalism, seized upon the incident to fire up the American public into agitating: “Remember the Maine! The hell with Spain!”

The battle cry, sounded on a large scale across the United States, gave President William McKinley just the kind of clout to declare war against Spain, which in eventual defeat concluded with America the Treaty of Paris of 1898. The treaty gave Cuba independence after centuries of Spanish colonization — and the Philippines the ignominy and rapine of being the US’…

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