History of Spanish American War

Updated April 26, 2022

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History of Spanish American War essay

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War and conflict have been part of human existence since the Stone Age. However, it is safe to say that there is a direct relationship between the absence of war and primitive existence. In other words, as cultural and social systems become more complex, so does conflict increase and war becomes heightened. Even when there were incidents of hostility in the earliest forms of human society, it was mostly harmless and would be quickly resolved. In band society, most conflicts were between individuals and were thus harmless although in some rare cases killings would occur. Fry (2007) in his book The Human Potential for Peace gives insight as to how anthropology can provide important information about the nature of war and the immense potential for peace. The author challenges the common viewpoint that humans are wired or programmed to be violent and are thus violent creatures. He says that along with the ability to be hostile humans also possess an ability to be calm, peaceful and to prevent conflict bound situations (Apodaca, Turner, Bowyer, Holds worth, & McCluskey, 2018). In tribal societies, command structure and authority are mostly weak and inefficient. A clear example is how the tribe of Yanomamo go for raids, where there was no one who could be termed as the leader or commander and this would, in turn, prompt some of the men to return home under the pretense of being ill. In the communities ruled by chiefs or chiefdoms, militia groups hold the power to rule over the other villagers. The military chiefs and leaders have the authority to command obedience from the lowest rank to the highest.

Tahiti, Fiji and Hawaii were famously established chiefdoms. In the setting of a chiefdom, battles are more commonplace. In the chiefdom war setting the most preferred method of attack were surprise attacks but in some cases arranged battles were also fought (Mondloch, JKatz, Isley III, Ghosh, Liao, Bury,… & Snurr, 2015). When two clashing groups engaged in battle, they used different types of identification means such as headbands and face paint to distinguish between the two groups. The main choice of weapons was clubs, spears and bamboo shields. In chiefdoms that were comprised of six or more social classes, the idea of war was more large scale such as those in Fiji. The Fijian chiefs tried to grow the number of their fighting men to the highest possible limit. There was no standing army and therefore no formal draft of enlistment, but every able bodied man was supposed to go into battle if called upon to do so by his presiding chief. Their sort of warfare was bloody and messy, with little disregard for age or sex. This unfortunately brought about the death of women and children in the Fijian battlefields. This, of course, meant that the status of a chief would grow in relation to his success at war. The idea of a state is quite common in today’s world as Junger would put it in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. However, the state form of social organization did not exist until just recently (Giannakoudakis, Pearsall, Florent, Lombardi, O’Brien, & Bandosz, 2018). The first forms of grouping society into states rose only a few thousand years ago and the birth of a nation state is actually the product of the Treaty of Westphalia which took place three and a half centuries ago. States usually have large, well-organized army structures that are led by military specialists.

Therefore quite well laid out military campaigns are carried out as well as protracted wars. There is a huge difference in how states and bands conducted warfare and this difference exists from the methods used to even the duration stayed. In many of the world’s cultures, war has been a major influence with incidents of war contributing immensely to modern day to day culture (Apodaca…et al, 2018). For example, the Spanish-American War had an influence on American modern culture in the following ways. First, at least three holidays came out of the remembrance of the war or conflict and these include Maine Day which is held in remembrance of the USS Marine sinking. It is remembered in many states but is held in high regard in Illinois. It was marked by the flying of flags across the streets and special observances. The other holiday is Muster Day, 21st April. It was the official day the war began in 1898 and it is recognized in many communities. It is a day to honor the veterans of the Spanish-American war. The 1st of May is the final holiday known as Admiral George Dewet Day who was an admiral who won a great battle and made him a national figure. The influence of war has also been felt in the music of over 100 years since the Spanish-American War era. Tunes such as Auld Lang Syne, La Paloma and Home Sweet Home have all drawn inspiration from the Spanish-American war and have been part of pop culture ever since. The tune sang by the band of the USS OLYMPIA, El Capitan March was inspired by the same war and was played as the team headed for Manila Bay (Cabral, & Xavier, 2018). In the book “The Sociology of War and Violence’ by Sinisa Malesevic, war propaganda promotes the myth that it is a mechanism for social control that is highly efficient.

It is also termed as an act of deception in warfare and acts as a diversion technique. It can turn peaceful individuals into bloodthirsty murderers capable of limitless harm. In another chapter of the same book, the author talks about warfare being more common with nationalistic groups or groups of a homogeneous nature. In modern day terminology and language, the term boondocks is a term that was used by Americans to imply a state of being deep in the woods or very far from civility or civilization. The veterans who were returning from the Philippines on a war mission brought the term back home with them, and to this day Americans still use it to mean the same thing. Boot Camp is another term that borrows from the military lifestyle of war and conflict and it means a training camp for fairly new recruits or boots as they are commonly referred to. The term is believed to have been popularized by the leggings worn by the soldiers of the time. In the film arena, warfare has been a source of interest and inspiration for many Hollywood films (Fravel, 2018). The idea of a hero in a film who fights the bad guys and restores sanity in a place of chaos is not new to the film industry. This idea borrows heavily from military tactics and warfare. The Spanish-American war happened to take place just when the technology for film and television was being developed and thus it was one of the first wars to be captured on film. There are currently 68 early clips of U.S soldiers being filmed in the Spanish-American war and this period has also been talked about by the early filmmakers of the time.

Some of the films that have a Spanish-American background or depict elements of the war are Rough Riders, Amigo, and 55 Days at Peking, Yellow Jack and The Real Glory. Through the historical times, culture has also enforced local or domestic regimes that have in turn helped reduce the effects of warfare. However, it can be deduced that the cultural ideal for a society presents itself in the mannerisms with which the said society carries out its warfare activities. For many societies that subscribed to a feudal system of governance, the rich and noble were different from the peasant by the armor they carry into battle. The rich were well-armored knights while the poor were mere foot soldiers. In the modern world, due to the sophistication of the wealthy, there are very few situations where culture will be defining the equipment of individual soldiers. Culture is instead displayed in the hierarchy and command structure of today’s militaries. This, in turn, can be explained that lack of a good command structure in a military wing of a state is one of the sole reasons why they fail at war. A case in point is the Arab countries who since the Second World War have not been effective at winning battles due to poor leadership and command structure.

History of Spanish American War essay

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History of Spanish American War. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-of-spanish-american-war/


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