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美国历史:美借“缅因”号事件为由,发起美西大战

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American History: A Dispute Over Cuba Leads to the Spanish-American War 高速下载 SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Welcome to
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American History: A Dispute Over Cuba Leads to the Spanish-American War


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SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English.

The Spanish-American War took place in the late eighteen hundreds during the administration of President William McKinley. This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant tell the story of that war.

HARRY MONROE: Unlike other presidents of the late eighteen hundreds, William McKinley spent much of his presidency dealing with foreign policy. The most serious problem involved Spain.

Spain ruled Cuba at that time. Cuban rebels had started a fight for independence. The Spanish government promised the Cuban people equal rights and self-rule -- but in the future. The rebels did not want to wait.

President McKinley felt Spain should be left alone to honor its promises. He also felt responsible for protecting the lives and property of Americans in Cuba. When riots broke out in Havana, he ordered the battleship Maine to sail there.

One night in early eighteen ninety-eight, a powerful explosion sank the Maine. More than two hundred fifty American sailors died. There was some evidence the explosion was caused by an accident in the ship's fuel tanks. But many Americans blamed Spain. They demanded war to free Cuba and make it independent.

KAY GALLANT: President McKinley had a difficult decision to make. He did not want war. As he told a friend: "I fought in our Civil War. I saw the dead piled up. I do not want to see that again." But McKinley also knew many Americans wanted war. If he refused to fight Spain, his Republican Party could lose popular support.

So, he did not ask Congress for a declaration of war right away. He sent a message to the Spanish government, instead. McKinley demanded an immediate ceasefire in Cuba. He also offered his help in ending the revolt.

By the time Spain agreed to the demands, McKinley had made his decision. He asked Congress for permission to use military force to bring peace to Cuba. Congress agreed. It also demanded that Spain withdraw from Cuba and give up all claims to the island.

The president signed the congressional resolution. The Spanish government immediately broke relations. On April twenty-fifth, eighteen ninety-eight, the United States declared war on Spain.

HARRY MONROE: The American Navy was ready to fight. It was three times bigger than the Spanish navy. It also was better trained.?A ship-building program begun fifteen years earlier had made the American Navy one of the strongest in the world. Its ships were made of steel and carried powerful guns.

Part of the American Navy at that time was based in Hong Kong. The rest was based on the Atlantic coast of the United States.

Admiral George Dewey commanded the Pacific Fleet. Dewey had received a message from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt. If war broke out, it said, he was to attack the Spanish naval force in the Philippines. The Spanish force was commanded by Admiral Patricio Montojo.

KAY GALLANT: The American fleet arrived in Manila Bay on May first. It sailed toward the line of Spanish ships. The Spanish fired first. The shells missed. When the two naval forces were five thousand meters apart, Admiral Dewey ordered the Americans to fire. After three hours, Admiral Montojo surrendered. Most of his ships were sunk. Four hundred of his men were dead or wounded.

American land forces arrived several weeks later. They captured Manila, giving the United States control of the Philippines.

HARRY MONROE: Dewey was suddenly a hero. Songs and poems were written about him. Congress gave him special honors. A spirit of victory spread across the nation. People called for an immediate invasion of Cuba.

Unlike the Navy, America's Army was not ready to fight. When war was declared, the Army had only about twenty-five thousand men. Within a few months, however, it had more than two hundred thousand. The soldiers trained at camps in the southern United States. One of the largest camps was in Florida. Cuba is just one hundred fifty kilometers off the coast of Florida.

KAY GALLANT: Two weeks after the Spanish-American War began, the Army sent a small force to Cuba. The force was ordered to inspect the north coast of Cuba and to take supplies to Cuban rebels. That invasion failed. But the second one succeeded. Four hundred American soldiers landed with guns, bullets, and supplies for the rebels.

Next, the Army planned to send twenty-five thousand men to Cuba. Their goal was the Port of Santiago on the south coast. American ships had trapped a Spanish naval force there earlier.

One of the commanders of the big American invasion force was Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt had resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy when the war started. He organized a group of horse soldiers. Most of the men were cowboys from America's southwest. They could ride and shoot well. Some were rich young men from New York who simply shared Roosevelt's love of excitement. The group became known as Roosevelt's "Rough Riders."

HARRY MONROE: As the Americans landed near Santiago, Spanish forces withdrew to positions outside the city. The strongest force was at San Juan Hill.

The Spanish soldiers used smokeless gunpowder. This made their artillery hard to find. The Americans did not have the smokeless powder. But they had Gatling machine guns which poured a stream of bullets at the enemy.

When the machine guns opened fire, American soldiers began moving up San Juan Hill. Several American reporters watched. Later, one of them wrote this report:

"I have seen many pictures of the charge on San Juan Hill. But none seem to show it as I remember it. In the pictures, the men are running up the hill quickly in straight lines. There seem to be so many men that no enemy could stand against them.

"In fact," said the reporter, "there were not many men. And they moved up the hill slowly, in a close group, not in a straight line. It seemed as if someone had made a terrible mistake. One wanted to call to these few soldiers to come back."

KAY GALLANT: The American soldiers were not called back. They reached the top of San Juan Hill. The Spanish soldiers fled. "All we have to do," an American officer said, "is hold on to the hill and Santiago will be ours."

American Commander General William Shafter sent a message to Spanish Commander General Jose Toral. Shafter demanded Toral's surrender. While he waited for an answer, the Spanish naval force tried to break out of Santiago Harbor. The attempt failed, and the Americans took control of the port.

The loss destroyed any hope that Spain could win the war. There was now no way it could send more soldiers and supplies to Cuba.

General Toral agreed to a short ceasefire so women and children could leave Santiago. But he rejected General Shafter's demand of unconditional surrender. American artillery then attacked Santiago. General Toral defended the city as best he could. Finally, on July seventeenth, he surrendered. The United States promised to send all his soldiers back to Spain.

HARRY MONROE: In the next few weeks, American forces occupied Puerto Rico and the Philippine capital of Manila. America's war with Spain was over. It had lasted just ten weeks. The next step was to negotiate terms of a peace treaty. The negotiations would be held in Paris.

The victorious United States demanded independence for Cuba. It demanded control over Puerto Rico and Guam. And it demanded the right to occupy Manila. The two sides agreed quickly on the terms concerning Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam. But they could not agree on what to do about the Philippines.

Spain rejected the American demand for control. It did not want to give up this important colony. Negotiations on this point of the peace treaty lasted for days.

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at en8848.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

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美西战争(Spanish-American  War)美西战争是1898年,美国为夺取西班牙属地古巴、波多黎各和菲律宾而发动的战争,是列强重新瓜分殖民地的第一次帝国主义战争。古巴和菲律宾群岛既有重要的经济价值,又是美国分别向南美洲和亚洲扩张的战略基地。新兴的美国拥有雄厚的经济、军事潜力,已建立起一支较强大的海军。西班牙早已衰落,在国际上陷于孤立。特别是古巴和菲律宾两地人民反对西班牙殖民统治的武装斗争,钳制着大量西班牙军队。西班牙军对古巴起义者的残酷镇压激怒了美国人民,并危及美国资本家在该地的经济利益。1898年2月15 日,美国派往古巴护侨的军舰“缅因”号在哈瓦那港爆炸,美国遂以此事件为借口,于4月22日对西班牙采取军事行动。

美西战争-背景

19世纪末,美国进入了帝国主义时期。美国垄断资本财团迫切需要开辟新的市场、投资场所和原料产地,于是各种宣传机器大造对外扩张的舆论。但是正当美国准备向海外扩张时,整个世界已为老牌殖民大国瓜分完毕。美国想重新瓜分世界殖民地,但因力量有限,还无力同英法等国相抗衡,只有老朽帝国西班牙是个好目标。这时的西班牙已是日薄西山,昔日的庞大帝国仅剩下古巴、波多黎各和亚洲的菲律宾。美国决定首先拿西班牙开刀,夺取这几个西班牙殖民地,以便控制中美洲和加勒比地区,并取得向远东和亚洲扩张的基地。

这时,西属殖民地人民的斗争也给美国创造了有利环境。菲律宾和古巴先后爆发了反对西班牙殖民统治的武装起义。菲律宾起义军已解放了全国大部分地区,包围了马尼拉。古巴起义军则牵制了西班牙的20万大军。美国抓住这一“天赐良机”,借1898年2月15日的“缅因”号事件,大造战争舆论,于4月25日正式向西班牙开战。

美西战争美西战争

美国早就为战争做好了准备。美国已经建立了一支号称世界第三的强大舰队,部署在世界各战略要点上,其中驻香港的亚洲舰队早已升火待发。国会已征兵20万,并拥有速射野战炮、电报、电话等先进装备。反之,西班牙毫无准备,在古巴的20万西军只有1.2万人能打仗,其余多是老弱病残。海军仅有一些旧式木壳军舰。在菲律宾也只有4.2万军队,而且西班牙政局一片混乱,军政界人士普遍认为同美国作战没有获胜希望。

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