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April 24: The Spanish-American War

April 24, 2014
world-2-17-1898The Spanish-American War began on this date in 1898, fanned by Joseph Pulitzer, among other newspaper publishers, two months after the unexplained sinking of the USS Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. Fifteen Jews were among the drowned on that battleship, on which Adolph Marix, later a vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, served as an executive officer; Marix would chair a board of inquiry into the sinking. Out of 280,000 American soldiers in the war, 5,000 were Jews, of whom twenty-nine were killed in battle, twenty-eight more by disease, and forty-seven wounded. A 16-year-old Jew named Jacob Wilbusky was also the first of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders killed in action in Cuba. The war lasted for ten weeks, brought about American imperial control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, and effectively ended the Spanish Empire. “How do you like the Journal’s war?” -Joseph Pulitzer headline