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"Spanish-American War Led to WWII?" Topic


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466 hits since 6 Nov 2017
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Nov 2017 7:02 p.m. PST

In the book Bringing Mulligan Home, which I recently reviewed – TMP link – the author claims (pp 67-8) that American politician George Boutwell predicted that American imperialism in the Pacific would lead to war between the USA and Japan.

I've Googled this and failed to find it. Does anyone know where Boutwell said this, and exactly what he said?

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 6:16 a.m. PST

This book, which I finished reading this weekend, tends to make that argument: link

There are a number of questions I have concerning the author's conclusions and the author certainly has a number of anti-American biases. That said, he does make a few interesting points.

Choctaw07 Nov 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

The two biggest kids on the block are bound to fight…

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 10:27 a.m. PST

I suspect that someone other than the Filipino people would be in charge in the Philippines, so someone would have been drawn in – and further to the WWII point, I suspect the Germans would have invaded Poland regardless of what happened in the Pacific!

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 12:28 p.m. PST

Of course the SAW led to WWII ! Or was it the Boxer
Rebellion ? Or maybe WWI and the post-war concessions
of German-held possessions to the US and to Japan ?

Or maybe me drinking all the coffee yesterday morning
so my wife had to make her own….

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 1:51 p.m. PST

Boutwell was an interesting character. There is much in his history that guides me to believe he would have made such a statement, but I also can't find any source of any specific quote on the topic.

He was a tireless civil rights crusader. He campaigned actively for Abraham Lincoln, even though it seems he thought Lincoln was not radical enough. He supported black suffrage in 1862, rather long before it was "fashionable". As a Senator in the 1870s he fought for desegregation of the schools, again long before it was a widely supported cause. He was quite vocally opposed to President Cleveland's and McKinley's foreign policy actions in the 1890s, and at the ripe old age of 80, in 1898 became the founding president of the American Anti-Imperialist League, which eventually boasted some half-a-million members. He was rather well known for rejecting the views of several other prominent Republicans who opposed imperialism due to concerns about becoming involved with "the lesser races", which he considered to be the wrong reason.

I would not be a surprise at all to see a quote from him suggesting that a course of imperialism in the Pacific would lead to clashes and war. He was an active advocate for Philippine independence until his death. But given that the guy died in 1905, I would not easily swallow the assertion that anything he said predicted or identified cause-and-effect leading to WW2.

Just my take.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Korvessa07 Nov 2017 4:36 p.m. PST

The last war always leads to the next one.

Lion in the Stars07 Nov 2017 10:11 p.m. PST

Considering that the path to the War in the Pacific started with the Sino-Japanese War in 1894, I'm not sure I'm willing to state that the Spanish-American War was the cause.

After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan was desperate to be seen as a first class world power. This meant being industrialized and having an empire. And having unequal treaties with China.

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