->''"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 US Army was hampered by inexperience, hasty training, and inferior equipment - the Spanish troops carried Mauser repeating rifles employing modern ("smokeless") powder, while National Guard and volunteer units in the US Army still used single-shot 'black-powder' rifles, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin which gave off dark clouds of gunpowder when fired]], and the US artillery was equipped with Civil war cannon converted to breechloaders. 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--their gunnery was even ''worse,'' and many shells failed to explode even if they hit something. 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.
* TheCaptain: Commodore Dewey quickly became the archetype of a naval hero for the US.
* ColonelBadass: Colonel TheodoreRoosevelt, United States Army.
* 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.
** 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.]]
** 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.
* 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. Theodore Roosevelt managed to somehow get them issued modern Krag repeating carbines; other volunteer units carried single-shot black powder "Trap Door" Springfields.
* 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 (and in the Pacific). 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.
** Meanwhile, there are Filipinos so enamoured with the US colonial experience that many of them actually wish they were ''back under American rule'', if not outright annexed as the 51st state (plus perhaps a few more states, given the relatively huge Filipino population).
* 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: For Spain and her last colonies.
* OldShame: The USA's behavior in the Philippines was, in hindsight, pretty terrible, which might be why it's almost never brought up nowadays.
* SmallReferencePools: When it's lucky enough to be remembered at all, the Spanish-American War consists entirely of Teddy Roosevelt being a Rough Rider, "Remember the Maine", 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 National Guard 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!"
* 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. Similarly, the terrible accuracy of the Navy at Manila Bay demonstrated the need for more gunnery training and better systems of fire control and coordination of ships.
* 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 Creator/TomBerenger as Roosevelt, Creator/GaryBusey as General Joseph Wheeler and Creator/SamElliot 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 ''Theatre/TheSultanOfSulu'' is a thinly-veiled portrayal of the same.
* ''Film/{{Amigo}}'' (2010) is an indie production about a "typical" battle of the Philippine-American war, featuring a village chief torn between collaborating with the American invaders and assisting his brother who has joined LaResistance.
* The Filipino biopic ''Film/HeneralLuna'' (2015) revolves around the life and campaigns of General Antonio Luna, one of the major leaders in the Philippine-American War.