->''"You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."''
-->-- '''William Randolph Hearst''', [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] and semi-quoted in ''Film/CitizenKane''

The Spanish-American War of [[TheGayNineties 1898]] was what happened when [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the United States of America tried to conquer most of the Kingdom Of Spain's colonies]], i.e. Cuba and the UsefulNotes/{{Philippines}} but not Spanish Morocco or Spain itself.

Through the mid-to-late 19th century, Cuban nationalism and separatism was on the rise. The result, given Spain's utter reluctance to let the colony go, was inevitably violent. Uprisings were attempted, but they were all crushed with varying degrees of brutality. ''All'', that is, with the exception of the very last one; in 1898, with half the entire island in-revolt, it looked as if Cuba ''really would'' gain her independence. In the midst of this process, the USS ''Maine'' (an American armored cruiser sent to [[GunboatDiplomacy implicitly threaten Spain with war if they didn't hurry up and give Cuba to the USA]]) blew up and sank in Havana Harbor. The US quickly seized upon this opportunity to intervene in the war before the rebellion could throw the Spanish out entirely and declare independence, with the US's investigation into the incident implicating the Spanish - who were quite right to have stated that it was a tragic US Navy accident at best (a result of poor ship-design and notoriously lax safety regulations) and a WoundedGazelleGambit at worst.

While US President UsefulNotes/WilliamMcKinley was personally reluctant to make a war of the matter, the US public were baying for Spanish blood and the USA's law-making body - Congress - passed a resolution which effectively forced him to demand that Spain give Cuba 'independence' in very short order. This proposal would mean that the USA would effectively run its government and economy just as it did every other nominally-independent country in Latin America bar Argentina. ''Or else''. Though a far weaker country, the Spaniards were a proud people who quietly hoped that the US would just give up on the idea if they put up a good fight; naturally they refused, and the US declared war upon them.

While Spain's giving up Cuba was the original ''casus belli'', the US ended up demanding the same deal for all of Spain's overseas colonies. The people of Puerto Rico also took the opportunity to demand independence, for instance, as did the peoples of the Philippines - who were already in open revolt and had established a provisional government which the US negotiated with. US naval power was employed to great effect, though the performance of the army was a little lacklustre - the US Army were inexperienced and ill-organised, and lost a great many officers due to Spanish snipers using 'smokeless'-powder weaponry (the US Army still used 'black-powder' weapons, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin which gave off dark clouds of gunpowder when fired]]). American and Cuban Revolutionary forces soon worked together to make good use of their numerical superiority over the Spanish loyalist and government forces, however. The infamous Charge at San Juan Hill (in which future US President UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt first attained national fame) and the Battle of Manila Bay, a CurbStompBattle if ever there was one, are good illustrations of the course of the war at large.

Spain soon sued for peace, and a Treaty concluding the war was signed in Paris later in the year of '98. In what was termed domestically as 'the Great Disaster' they ceded Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the United States. It was a blow to the Spanish national psyche and pride, one which gave birth to a wave of Spanish writers called The Generation of '98. It didn't soften the blow much that the US agreed to pay Spain $20 million for seizing the Philippines after the armistice.

Meanwhile, despite [=McKinley=]'s promise of "benevolent assimilation," the Filipinos felt very left out of all this - the negotiations had been concluded without any reference to them or their representatives - and demanded the same independence terms as Cuba. The US refused and a second, more brutal guerilla war ensued as the Americans crushed the provisional Philippine Government and exterminated the rebels while establishing their own 'independent' regime over the islands. The brutal defeat of the uprising, which officially ended in 1902 but there were still incidents for years, is estimated to have killed at least 200,000 Filipinos (with some going much higher) and several thousands of American soldiers as well. Many Americans were actually very much against annexing all of these overseas territories, with the most prominent of them forming the Anti-Imperialist League and including the ranks of such figures as Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Gompers, William James, Jane Addams, UsefulNotes/GroverCleveland, and Creator/MarkTwain.

The conclusion of the war marked a new height of US National Pride and also the zenith of belief in "Manifest Destiny" - the notion that the US was destined to rule over (all of the) Americas by virtue of its... well, innate virtue and (racial-moral) superiority. The USA's ability to project its influence into the Pacific and China; and Latin America; was of course enhanced by its newest conquests, leading to a period of 'imperialism' (in the bad sense) and events such as US involvement in the [[ImperialChina Qing Empire's 'Boxer Rebellion']] and ''The Banana Wars''.

!!Tropes involving the Spanish-American War include:

* ATeamFiring: American gunnery at the Battle of Manila Bay was embarrassingly horrible. It's estimated that of some 4000-6000 rounds of ammunition fired by Dewey's fleet, only about 2%-3%, or 80-141 rounds, actually hit the enemy. A (mostly) stationary enemy. And still the Spanish lost. To the American fleet's credit when the Spanish flagship ''Reina Christina'' attempted to ram Commodore's Dewey's own flagship ''Olympia'', it was shot to pieces.
* {{Badass}}: Many on both sides. The Rough Riders of the United States were just one example.
* CoolShip: The USS ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Olympia_(C-6) Olympia]]''. Also, the USS ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Maine_(ACR-1) Maine]]'' [[AsYouKnow before she sank]]. USS ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Vesuvius_(1888) Vesuvius]]'' merits a listing for her unique armament of three pneumatic guns.
* CurbStompBattle: The Battle of Manila Bay. With the sole American casualty due to heat stroke. The Battle at Santiago De Cuba had similar results, with only two American casualties.
** The entire war; Spain had long since been a VestigialEmpire, holding on to their last bit of imperial hubris in spite of several rebellions. The United States, on the other hand, was a very large, prosperous, wealthy, and powerful up-and-coming world power. The war was over in less than three months.
** A rather hilarious one occurred at the capture of Guam by the USS Charleston. She charged at full speed into the main harbor, firing a challenge salvo at the Spanish in Fort Santa Cruz; the leader of the Spanish garrison abruptly rowed out to the Charleston and apologized for not having any gunpowder to return what HE thought was a saluting gesture, because he [[IgnoredVitalNewsReports had no idea war had been declared]]. The Charleston proceeded to take him prisoner and the whole barrack surrendered the next day. In the Spanish's defense, [[PoorCommunicationKills news didn't travel very fast back then.]]
* CustomUniform: The Rough Riders' uniform. Because of shortages of uniforms, the men in this regiment had to do with blue wool uniforms, impractical in the tropical weather of Cuba. It was combined with a campaign hat and a scarf.
* TheEmpire: The Spanish Empire.
** At the time, and long-afterward, critics of the war openly feared [[YouAreWhatYouHate the United States becoming An Empire]] [[AmericaTakesOverTheWorld which might just conquer all of the Americas or even ''The World'']] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans in the name of making it a better place]] - just like [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire Great Britain.]]
* EndOfAnAge: The end of four hundred years of Spanish colonial rule in the Americas, dating all the way back to UsefulNotes/ChristopherColumbus. Granted, Spain had already lost most of its colonies by this point, but this is when they finally lost their last ones in the New World. Fittingly enough, it's also the DawnOfAnEra -- the era in which the United States is one of the world's major powers.
* ExpandedStatesOfAmerica: The Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico were annexed as commonwealths. While the Americans voluntarily and peacefully granted the Philippines independence in 1946, Puerto Rico and Guam remain US territories. Recent polls have shown that they prefer to keep it that way.
* ForgottenTrope: Or rather, forgotten ''war'': The wider Cuban and Philippine Wars saw the US fight against the Filipinos for three years, cost 4500 American lives, involved the Spanish and then the US building some of the world's first "concentration camps" (which in fairness were not the horrible death centers of [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust 40 years later]] but rather extremely uncomfortable and rather degrading spots to "concentrate" the enemy; the British [[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar were doing the same thing]] in UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica]]) and numerous atrocities on both sides (which is what inspired Twain to become an anti-Imperialist in the first place).
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: The USS ''Vesuvius'' was a Dynamite Gun Cruiser, and armed with a trio of 15 inch pneumatic guns in her bow, fixed at a 16 degree elevation. These guns used pressurized air to launch hollow steel or brass projectiles loaded with up to 500 pounds of blasting gelatin[[note]]the explosives were [[MadeOfExplodium far too unstable]] to be fired from a standard gun[[/note]] at targets up to 4,000 yards away. While this was rather more limited in range than conventional guns, the ''Vesuvius's'' guns were also much quieter, allowing her to be used for sneak attacks against coastal targets.
* [[TheGayNineties The "Not So" Gay Nineties]]: For Spain and her last colonies.
* GeneralFailure: Most historians portray William Shafter, commander of America's expeditionary force to Cuba, in this light. YMMV whether it's entirely fair, given that Shafter succeeded in his task.
* GunboatDiplomacy: The Americans had long-since declared that [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine Latin America was theirs to use as they saw fit.]] The USA wanted to force the Spanish authorities in Cuba to give them the same deal that they had 'negotiated' with every other BananaRepublic in Latin America - no (or very low) taxes on US-owned businesses, no laws promoting local over US-owned business, and no tarrifs on products imported from the USA as per the principle of 'free trade'[[note]] This last bit was rather hypocritical. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries the USA maintained a 50% tarrif (import-tax) on all non-agricultural goods imported from overseas. Compare Britain, which maintained a tarrif of 0% for the same period[[/note]]. However, Spain was strong (and brave) enough to stand up to the USA - so the USA sent their USS ''Maine'' to Havana, Cuba, as a blatant threat that the USA could declare war on them and also in the hope that there would be an incident which the USA could use as a pretext to declare war on them without looking bad. Although it was sent there as a threat and hopefully to cause an incident that would lead to war, its blowing up at anchor there was almost certainly an accident - safety regulations, ''even regarding things like high explosives'', were neither thorough nor properly enforced in a navy as third-rate as the USA's.
* UsefulNotes/HistoryOfNavalWarfare: One of the last major wars to feature wooden-hulled (with metal armor) warships fighting against steel-hulled (pre-dreadnought) battleships. This war, combined with the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar a few years later, could also be seen as a preview of [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII things to come]] as the two up-and-coming regional naval powers began to expand into the Pacific and Asia...
** This was also the first war the United States fought using [[UsefulNotes/TypesOfNavalShips Battleships]], with the USS ''Texas'' being the first such ship to enter service (her sister ship, the armored cruiser USS ''Maine''[[note]]classified as a cruiser rather than a battleship due to her main battery having two sets of two 10 inch guns, rather than 2 sets of 12 inch guns[[/note]], is infamous for being tragically involved with the lead-up to the war due to her accidentally blowing up in Havana Harbor).
* Creator/MarkTwain: Started out supporting the war, but very quickly became disillusioned. He viewed the Philippine-American War as a great betrayal of both the Philippines and American democratic principles, and was absolutely caustic in his criticism of it. He once suggested a flag for the U.S.-occupied Philippines -- "just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones."
* {{Sequel}}: The Philippine-American War.
* SmallReferencePools: When it's lucky enough to be remembered at all, the Spanish-American War consists entirely of Teddy Roosevelt being a Rough Rider and (optional) Hearst's crazy yellow journalism.
* TwilightOfTheOldWest: This war was the last one in which the US Army (or some of it) fought in blue uniforms, and many regiments still carried black-powder weapons much like those used in the (just barely over) Indian Wars. UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt's Rough Rider regiment included many actual cowboys, as well.
** The US Army also had veterans of the US Civil War (which had ended about 33 years previously). Both William Shafter and Nelson Miles, who commanded the Cuban and Puerto Rican expeditions respectively, had served in the Union Army. Shafter's cavalry commander was Major General Joseph Wheeler, a former ''Confederate General'' and, at the time of the Spanish-American War, a member of the US Congress. He is reported to have said, while leading US troops, "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!"
* UngratefulBastard: The USA, in Spain's popular consciousness. The Kingdom of Spain had [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution helped the USA secede]] from UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire. In return, the USA had annexed Spanish Florida and now wanted Cuba and The Philippines.
* VestigialEmpire: Spain, while it ruled a respectable overseas empire, was this. It had already lost Mexico and South America due to a series of revolutions, and was down to only holding Cuba, some other obscure islands, Puerto Rico, [[UsefulNotes/EquatorialGuinea some]] [[UsefulNotes/WesternSahara territory]] in Africa, and (most importantly) the Philippines. Its swift defeat in this war and the subsequent "Banana Wars" was a clear sign that the United States was the next-most powerful country in The Americas to Britain, whom (due to having twice her population, not to mention oodles of resources) she would soon surpass.
* WakeUpCallBoss: Even though the war was a quick American victory, the poor performance of the army in certain battles caused the government to sink more money into modernizing them.
* WarIsHell: During the Battle at Santiago De Cuba, the Spanish armored cruiser ''Viscaya'' was fatally damaged after a long running battle against the American North Atlantic Squadron and Flying Squadron. As the crewmen of the USS ''Texas'' looked on and cheered, their captain shouted them down:
-->'''Captain John Woodward Philip''': Don't cheer boys! Those poor devils are dying.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: The respective attitudes of Spain and the USA regarding the Cuban rebels, and subsequently inverted regarding the USA and the Philippine Insurrection.

!!In Fiction:

* In ''Film/CitizenKane'' Charles Foster Kane, as a William Randolph Hearst {{expy}}, manipulates the public opinion for the war.
* The Western ''Pursued'' (1947) starring Creator/RobertMitchum, whose protagonist wins the Medal of Honor fighting in Cuba.
* John Milius's ''Series/TheRoughRiders'', a 1997 miniseries depicting the Cuban campaign. Starring Tom Berenger as Roosevelt, Gary Busey as General Joseph Wheeler and Sam Elliot as Captain Bucky O'Neill.
* ''Theatre/TheGoldenApple'' begins with Angel's Roost holding a victory parade for the "boys in blue" returning from the war.
* Humorist George Ade wrote two satirical dialogues, "Children Cannot Understand These Things" and "Two Rebellions," condescendingly explaining the benevolent purpose of the American occupation of the Philippines to a little boy and a Filipino native, respectively. Ade's musical ''The Sultan of Sulu'' is a thinly-veiled portrayal of the same.