Friday, March 16, 2012

The Spanish American War in some cartoons

The loss of the last Spanish colonies in America and Asia was a consequence of the Spanish American War, a conflict which meant the end of an empire (Spain) and the rise of another one (the USA). This war had an important reflection on newspapers. Experts consider the Spanish-American War to be the first "media war". This conflict was widely covered by the USA newspapers. The press barons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, had an important role in the development of the conflict. The way they presented the news contributed to inflame the public opinion in the USA and created the propitious conditions for war. Their newspapers, The New York World and The New York Journalcompeted in sensationalism and are considered to be some of the first examples of yellow journalism. 

Here you have some examples: 

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst dressed as the Yellow Kid, preparing war: 

Cuba as a suffering mother

President McKinley as a coward

President McKinley trying to contain war pressure:

Remember the Maine 

The Spanish brute: 

Spain out!

Uncle Sam versus the Spanish matador:

The duello

Uncle Sam taking the Spanish bull by the horns

Alphonse of Bourbon, future Alphonse XIII, offering the peace cigarette to Uncle Sam

President McKinley offering Uncle Sam different "dishes"

Uncle Sam Fishing

Uncle Sam balancing his new possessions

The bald eagle extending its wings over the new empire: 

Anti-Imperialist cartoon, criticizing the new responsibilities acquired after the war: 

Before and after 

In Spain the war and its consequences caused a strong impact on the population. The cartoons of that period offer the possibility of knowing the different opinions about the conflict in the country and the evolution of the public opinion: the initial nationalist exaltation of the official dynastic newspapers, the criticism of the opposition parties (the republicans considered the war to be an imperialist conflict and a slaughter for the popular classes), the resignation after the defeat and the search for responsibilities. 

General Weyler, in charge of repressing the Cuban insurrection. The republican Catalan magazine 
La Campana de Gràcia criticized his incompetence

General Weyler riding a snail. The campaign in Cuba advancing slowly. 

The USA sugarcane union feeding the pig of the Cuban insurrection: 

Cuba represented as a pig, feeding the rebels: 

Cuba is going to get lost, La Campana de Gràcia

Crucify her!
Uncle Sam-Herod asking the Cuban rebels what to do with Spain-Jesuschrist. This cartoon was published on Madrid Cómico

Uncle Sam´s ambition:

Christopher Columbus complaining about what the Spaniards did with his legacy: 

The signature of Peace of Paris, where Spain lost its colonial empire

The cartoon above reflects the missionaries coming back to Spain after the loss of the Philippines. The cartoon shows the contrast between the need for regeneration of the country and the origin of the repatriated (members of the Church and representatives of tradition and backwardness).

Banquet at the County Tennis Court, Cu-cut

This last cartoon created a strong controversy. It was published on November 1905 in the Catalan  satirical magazine Cu-cut! It criticized the role of the Spanish Army in the loss of the colonies. The military considered the cartoon very offensive and a group of them attacked the offices of the Cu-Cut and La Veu de Catalunya, another Catalan newspaper. King Alphonse XIII refused to punish the military men who had attacked the newspapers. As a result of this, Eugenio Montero Ríos, the prime minister, resigned. The new prime minister, Segismundo Moret, promoted the approval of the Law of Jurisdiction, which gave to the Army the power of judging crimes related with the flag, the nation and the honour of the military. This law limited the freedom of the press.


Alejandro Torrillas said...

I think that seeing that drawings we can see that the USA population was divided between those who wanted war and considered our predecessors as brainless and gross, and those who refused war like the president McKinley.But also we can appreciate the corruption and decadence of Spain. It is very interesting.
By see you next class!!

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Alejandro,
President McKinley initially refused to go to war and tried to convince Spain to give the independence to Cuba, but later he decided to go to war against Spain. The economic interests were above the lives of the soldiers who fought there (the USA soldiers and the Spanish ones). This war was very impopular between the workers in Spain, because only the ones who couldn´t avoid the conscription (paying money) were obliged to go and they had to croos the Atlantic Ocean to fight in defence of the economic interests of the rich landowners. The republican and workers´newspapers showed this rejection to war.

These cartoons are also interesting to see the clichés about different countries (Uncle Sam as the representative of the USA, the toreadors and bandits representing Spain) and the racist representations of the colonized peoples: the pigs representing the Cubans and the babies representing the colonies which reached "independence" after the war.

I think we can learn a lot of history from political cartoons. I´m glad you like them too.

Alberto Panadero said...

What great repertory of pictures! The ancestors of Crackòvia and Polònia suffered a big injustice but if you said anything against the army, the monarchy or the church you had a problem in the past...

I hate the clichés because a lot of them don't represent the people of the different countries or they have discriminatory connotations.