A Monument to the Spanish-American War – Hagerstown, Maryland (circa 1940)

The Spanish-American War does not loom large in American consciousness today, but it represented an enormous shift in American identity.

Many discussions of the conflict focus on the role of the “yellow press” in fostering a wave of nationalistic, anti-European, pro-imperial hysteria.


While the nation had experience in claiming territory in North America through armed struggle, the US had not launched previously a war to gain foreign territories.

At the end of the conflict, thousands of American troops were dead, as many felled by malaria and typhus as by weapons.

The United States was ceded control of Cuban foreign relations, and possession of the territories of Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands.


The step to becoming an Imperial Power was not without controversy, and the shortness of the conflict and the lack of exciting war maneuvers did not excite great public celebration at the war’s end.

This postcard photograph shows one of the first public monuments to veterans of the Spanish-American War in the United States.

The monument was erected in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1900.


The postcard was published by the John Myerly Company of Hagerstown.

The centerpiece of the memorial is an historic gun, made for the Bourbon dynasty by the Berenger foundry in France, and employed in conflicts in several parts of the world.

It was captured by the US in the fall of Fort Morro in Santiago, Cuba.


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