The process of the development of an American battle fleet resulted in the construction of a new organizational identity for the North Atlantic Squadron. This process was as critical as the eventual outcome. It was not linear, but one in which progress in critical areas was modulated by conflicting demands that caused distraction. From 1874-1888, exercises in fleet tactics under steam were carried out sporadically utilizing existing wooden cruising vessels. From 1889-1894, the last wooden cruisers were decommissioned and the Squadron consisted entirely of new steel warships. Ad-hoc concentrations of vessels for purposes besides exercise and training retarded the continued development of doctrine and tactics necessary for a multi-ship fighting capability during this time. However, much work was done to develop a concept of multi-ship operations. From 1895-1897, the identity of the North Atlantic Squadron as a combat unit solidified. Tactical exercises were held that had specific offensive and defensive wartime applications. These exercises were necessary to develop a combat capability.
The results of this study demonstrate that the United States government had an interest in developing an offensive naval combat capability as early as the 1870’s. Based on the record of the North Atlantic Squadron, it is argued that imperial aspirations, in the sense of possessing a capability to restrict the actions of other great powers in the Caribbean region, existed prior to the War of 1898. However, the process of change often resulted in the appearance of capability without the rigorous exercise necessary to possess it.
Foreshadowing the twentieth-century experience, the Spanish American War was America's first modern foreign war. Catapulting the United States into an international world power, the war had lasting international implications. Besides America's acquisition of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Guam, the war led the United States to take to the international stage, confronting Germany and Japan (foreshadowing the conflict of World War II), and creating a diplomatic bridge between Great Britain and the United States. For Spain, the 1898-1899 conflict was the death knell of empire, which led to a national crisis culminating in the Spanish Civil War. This volume provides easily accessible information on the naval and army operations, Spanish operations, and the political background to the military events, with an emphasis on future foreign affairs.
The Spanish American War is seminal to an understanding of twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations--in Cuba, the Pacific, especially Japan, and with Great Britain. It is also central to an understanding of twentieth-century Spain. U.S. military history also requires an understanding of amphibious operations, naval and army reform, deployment command and control, and interservice cooperation as reflected in the Spanish American War. This book provides a quick reference to what was once called this splendid little war.
The 1898 war between the United States and Spain receives relatively little attention in most American history texts, yet it is an event of major importance. The United States emerged as the world's greatest power in the 20th century. In many ways, the war with Spain was a stepping stone from one era of American history to the next, showing Americans that aggressive nationalism could be fraught with danger, even as it was crowned with splendor.
This book includes an overview essay, five essays on specific aspects of the war, and a conclusion. A biographical section features sketches of Americans, Spaniards, Cubans, and Filipinos who played important roles, showing the human element of the events. Fifteen primary documents grant readers and researchers a direct view of the elements that transpired and how they were reported. This book provides everything students or general readers need to begin their research into a watershed conflict in American history.