Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. The Spanish-American War took place in the lateeighteen hundreds during the administration of President William McKinley. This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallanttell the story of that war. Unlike other presidents of the late eighteen hundreds, William McKinley spent much of his presidencydealing with foreign policy. The most serious problem involved Spain. Spain ruled Cuba at that time. Cuban rebels had started a fightfor independence. The Spanish government promised the Cuban people equal rights and self-rule -- but in the future. The rebels didnot want to wait. President McKinley felt Spain should be left alone to honor its promises. He also felt responsible for protecting thelives and property of Americans in Cuba. When riots broke out in Havana, he ordered the battleship Maine to sail there. One night inearly eighteen ninety-eight, a powerful explosion sank the Maine. More than two hundred fifty American sailors died.
There was some evidence the explosion was caused by an accident in the ship's fuel tanks. But many Americans blamed Spain. Theydemanded war to free Cuba and make it independent. President McKinley had a difficult decision to make. He did not want war. Ashe told a friend: "I fought in our Civil War. I saw the dead piled up. I do not want to see that again." But McKinley also knew manyAmericans wanted war. If he refused to fight Spain, his Republican Party could lose popular support. So, he did not ask Congress fora declaration of war right away. He sent a message to the Spanish government, instead. McKinley demanded an immediate ceasefirein Cuba. He also offered his help in ending the revolt. By the time Spain agreed to the demands, McKinley had made his decision. Heasked Congress for permission to use military force to bring peace to Cuba. Congress agreed. It also demanded that Spain withdrawfrom Cuba and give up all claims to the island. The president signed the congressional resolution. The Spanish governmentimmediately broke relations. On April twenty-fifth, eighteen ninety-eight, the United States declared war on Spain.
The American Navy was ready to fight. It was three times bigger than the Spanish navy. It also was better trained. A ship-buildingprogram begun fifteen years earlier had made the American Navy one of the strongest in the world. Its ships were made of steel andcarried powerful guns. Part of the American Navy at that time was based in Hong Kong. The rest was based on the Atlantic coast ofthe United States. Admiral George Dewey commanded the Pacific Fleet. Dewey had received a message from the Assistant Secretaryof the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt. If war broke out, it said, he was to attack the Spanish naval force in the Philippines. The Spanishforce was commanded by Admiral Patricio Montojo. The American fleet arrived in Manila Bay on May first. It sailed toward the line ofSpanish ships. The Spanish fired first. The shells missed. When the two naval forces were five thousand meters apart, Admiral Deweyordered the Americans to fire. After three hours, Admiral Montojo surrendered. Most of his ships were sunk. Four hundred of his menwere dead or wounded. American land forces arrived several weeks later. They captured Manila, giving the United States control ofthe Philippines.
Dewey was suddenly a hero. Songs and poems were written about him. Congress gave him special honors. A spirit of victory spreadacross the nation. People called for an immediate invasion of Cuba. Unlike the Navy, America's Army was not ready to fight. Whenwar was declared, the Army had only about twenty-five thousand men. Within a few months, however, it had more than two hundredthousand. The soldiers trained at camps in the southern United States. One of the largest camps was in Florida. Cuba is just onehundred fifty kilometers off the coast of Florida. Two weeks after the Spanish-American War began, the Army sent a small force toCuba. The force was ordered to inspect the north coast of Cuba and to take supplies to Cuban rebels. That invasion failed. But thesecond one succeeded. Four hundred American soldiers landed with guns, bullets, and supplies for the rebels. Next, the Armyplanned to send twenty-five thousand men to Cuba. Their goal was the Port of Santiago on the south coast. American ships hadtrapped a Spanish naval force there earlier. One of the commanders of the big American invasion force was Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt had resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy when the war started. He organized a group of horse soldiers. Most of themen were cowboys from America's southwest. They could ride and shoot well. Some were rich young men from New York who simplyshared Roosevelt's love of excitement. The group became known as Roosevelt's "Rough Riders." As the Americans landed nearSantiago, Spanish forces withdrew to positions outside the city. The strongest force was at San Juan Hill. The Spanish soldiers usedsmokeless gunpowder. This made their artillery hard to find. The Americans did not have the smokeless powder. But they had Gatlingmachine guns which poured a stream of bullets at the enemy. When the machine guns opened fire, American soldiers began movingup San Juan Hill. Several American reporters watched. Later, one of them wrote this report: "I have seen many pictures of the chargeon San Juan Hill. But none seem to show it as I remember it. In the pictures, the men are running up the hill quickly in straight lines. There seem to be so many men that no enemy could stand against them. "In fact," said the reporter, "there were not many men. Andthey moved up the hill slowly, in a close group, not in a straight line. It seemed as if someone had made a terrible mistake. Onewanted to call to these few soldiers to come back."
The American soldiers were not called back. They reached the top of San Juan Hill. The Spanish soldiers fled. "All we have to do," anAmerican officer said, "is hold on to the hill and Santiago will be ours." American Commander General William Shafter sent a messageto Spanish Commander General Jose Toral. Shafter demanded Toral's surrender. While he waited for an answer, the Spanish navalforce tried to break out of Santiago Harbor. The attempt failed, and the Americans took control of the port. The loss destroyed anyhope that Spain could win the war. There was now no way it could send more soldiers and supplies to Cuba. General Toral agreed toa short ceasefire so women and children could leave Santiago. But he rejected General Shafter's demand of unconditional surrender. American artillery then attacked Santiago. General Toral defended the city as best he could. Finally, on July seventeenth, hesurrendered. The United States promised to send all his soldiers back to Spain. In the next few weeks, American forces occupiedPuerto Rico and the Philippine capital of Manila. America's war with Spain was over. It had lasted just ten weeks. The next step was tonegotiate terms of a peace treaty. The negotiations would be held in Paris. The victorious United States demanded independence forCuba. It demanded control over Puerto Rico and Guam. And it demanded the right to occupy Manila. The two sides agreed quicklyon the terms concerning Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam. But they could not agree on what to do about the Philippines. Spain rejectedthe American demand for control. It did not want to give up this important colony. Negotiations on this point of the peace treatylasted for days. That will be our story next week.
1.break out 爆发；突然发生
He was 29 when war broke out.
2.pile up 堆积；积聚
Let's pile up the fallen leaves in the corner and sweep up the floor.
3.give up 放弃；投降
Georgia refuses to give up any territory.
4.be based in 驻扎在
The bank will be based in Beijing.