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How the Spanish-American War, not World War II, Made the USA a Superpower

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The United States has long been a super power the world over. Many nations have entered into peace agreements in an effort to be part of the power that the United States emits. The United States was not always the super power that it is today however. When the nation was young, it was the Spanish-American war that helped propel the United States forward to the super power that it is today.


What Was the Spanish American War?
The Spanish American war occurred in 1898 between Spain and the United States. The formal declaration of war was placed on April 23rd, 1898. Spain, who had previously had a great deal of power in the United States, was losing ground and the nation was becoming a power on its own. The USS Battleship Maine was sunk, which the United States blamed on the Spanish which started the war.

There is little information about what actually caused the USS Battleship Maine tragedy but the United States took it as a chance to ruffle the feathers of their rivals. The fact that the war was not fought in the United States was also to their benefit because it meant that their citizens were largely safe during the fighting. This was one of the shortest wars that was ever fought only lasting from the end of April 1898 to the end of December 1898, just over seven months.

Where was the War Fought?
The war was not fought in the United States or Spain but mainly in Cuba where Spain only had a very small garrison force. The United States attacked the Spanish at their colony in Puerto Rico as well. The United States eventually gained control of the Philippines and Guam and the fighting finally came to an end when the Treaty of Paris was signed in December of 1898. The treaty gave the possession of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States.

Why Was this War So Significant?
Though World War II did show that the United States had staying power and that they could rally an entire nation behind one war and effort, the Spanish American war told the world that the United States was not about to be bullied by any nation no matter how old and regaled it was. This meant that the United States, though relatively young at the time at just over 100 years old, they were ready to fight and ready to defend their people and their army.
This war was one that was not fought on American soil which meant that the soldiers had to be stealthy, engaging, and had to learn how to fight on unfamiliar terrain and did so with a great deal of skill. The United States essentially said to the world with their victory that they were here to stay and that no nation was going to change that. Though this was a short war, it was one that took skill and dedication, something that the United States had in spades.