THE SPANISH-CUBAN-AMERICAN WAR AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM by Philip S. Foner

THE SPANISH-CUBAN-AMERICAN WAR AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Foner argues that American historiography has neglected the Cuban side of the misnamed Spanish-American War while glossing over the commercial-imperialistic designs of the McKinley Administration. His well documented study of the Cuban revolution of 1895-98 shows aid coming from Cuban emigrants in the U S. and Europe, American trade-union and middle-class reform groups, and Latin American sympathizers. The Spanish ""reconcentration"" policy of moving peasants into towns to deny the rebels food left the Cuban economy bankrupt; Foner records the vast U.S. purchases of ruined estates and the chop-licking of American industrialists and bankers at the money-making potential of the fertile island. However, the accumulation of damaging quotes from Yankee businessmen and politicians is not accompanied by any deep analysis of ""monopoly capital."" Volume II concentrates on the 1898-1902 U. S. military occupation: former revolutionary leaders became chiefs of police and helped General Wood disarm the insurgents, break strikes, and enforce the Platt Amendment's guarantee of U.S. control. Foner is appalled that the independence paper Patria sided with General Wood in smashing the 1899 general strike: ""How was it possible for the voice of the Cuban Revolution to charge that a desire for an eight-hour day was a conspiracy. . . ?"" -- an interesting question that Foner fails to pursue. But Foner's description of Cuban worker conditions and labor movements in the three years following the peace, together with his history of the revolution, offers a great deal of material unfamiliar to North American readers -- all filtered through an unequivocal anti-imperialist prism.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1972
Publisher: Monthly Review