American Ambassador John Hay, in writing to Theodore Roosevelt from London, called the Spanish-American War "a splendid little war." Explain what you think Hay meant by this.
The Spanish-America War lasted for 100 days and the United States of America did not suffer in terms of deaths or casualties. The war brought America great gains in its territory by enabling former colonies become empires of their own. The war was termed as a Splendid little war because it helped in accomplishing its mission, that of Cuba gaining independence. The war was not monumental in military terms, it was just a brief war characterized by few battles and the United States had a very easy time fighting the war because its outcome was indubitable. The war had a very huge historical importance (Snow and Drew 279).
The Spanish-American war marked the emergence of the United States of America as a super power in the global arena of diplomacy and international relations. The war did not only make United States a super power since the rapid economic growth and the industrial power of the country that was witnessed at that time had confirmed it. The conduct of the war announced on to other countries that the United States of America was hitherto a major world power. It is from the war that America managed to lift its head from several years of isolationism and started flexing its muscles versus the Spanish. The role of America in the world affairs increased after the war. The war was described as a splendid little war because the United States forces won a decisive and a swift victory after suffering few deaths and claiming possession of new territories abroad. This enabled the United States of America to establish itself as a force to reckon with in the international stage. The war started with high motives and it was carried on with phenomenal spirit and intelligence that was favored by fortune that loves the brave (Snow and Drew 280).
The Spanish-American war demonstrated the move of the United States of America towards imperialism. This represented a shift in policy because the United States was once a colony and had opposed the colonial habit of the Europeans. During the war, the United States of America annexed the territories of Guam, Hawaii, Philippines and Puerto Rico; this was to provide the United States navy with coaling stations throughout the world. The war period was considered as a moment of beginning of American imperialism; it marked a period of informal imperialism that could be accomplished using economic domination. The war demonstrated a pattern where Philippines and other countries were struggling against American rule and domination. The behavior of American interference in world affairs and in the affairs of small states was not welcomed. America was involved in military quagmire with nationalist groups in Asia who wanted independence and later, the United States took part in the Korean and Vietnam War again, hence indicting that the Spanish-American war signified things to follow (Snow and Drew 281).
The war represented a tremendous growth of the power of the United States and reflected the changing nature of domestic and international politics involving America. The war acted as an occasion for the introduction of policies that could shape American polity in the coming centuries. During the war, it took a very little time for America forces to defeat the Spanish forces. The war revealed the expanding power of the United States media and its ability to control the public opinions of Americans, home and abroad. The war was instigated by yellow journalists because of their knowledge that war had the ability to sale newspapers The role of journalism during the war overlapped the significance of the media in shaping public opinion about the war. This was confirmed in the successive wars that were fought by the United States of America such as the Gulf and the Vietnam War. In this regard, the Spanish-American War was considered as the first media war in the history of the United States of America (Snow and Drew 283).
The war was considered as a splendid little war because of the brief period and the huge benefits it brought to America in terms of industrialization. The war forced the disappearance of the frontier in the American West. The new colonies created provided raw materials for the American industries and ready marked for finished goods. This was because, as opposed to the global markets, the colonies were protected by the American navy. Irrespective of the reasons for the Spanish-American War and the colonies acquired as a result of the war, the war marked the beginning of the intervention of America in world affairs and demonstrated to the whole world that America has emerged strong from the Civil War era. As opposed to the America military being killed during the war, they died from diseases. This made the war a unique one. The Spanish-American War was, therefore influential in the following six aspects: Modification of American Military Doctrine, new struggles over the nature of American identity, creation of layers of empire, creation of new approaches to democratic politics and public opinion and the opportunities for state building (Snow and Drew 285).
Snow, D. M., & Drew, D. M. (1994). From Lexington to Desert Storm: War and politics in the American experience. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.