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Photos: On this day – February 15, 1898 – The USS Maine explodes

Posted Feb 15, 2013

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On this day – February 15, 1898 – The USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing more than 260. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.

ent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, she exploded suddenly without warning and sank quickly, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. The cause and responsibility for her sinking remained unclear after a board of inquiry. Nevertheless, popular opinion in the U.S., fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the “Yellow Press” by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, blamed Spain. The phrase “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” became a rallying cry for action, which came with the Spanish–American War later that year. While the sinking of the Maine was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain.

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