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Post US Acquisition of Philippines, 1898
Created by John Eipper on 05/02/15 1:21 PM

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US Acquisition of Philippines, 1898 (George Krajcsik, USA, 05/02/15 1:21 pm)

A short addendum to Anthony Candil's excellent post of 1 May. At the Treaty of Paris the USA paid 20 million gold dollars for the Philippines. I found this in a book published in 1905, just seven years after the start of the war, written by Rev. John Bancroft Devins, D.D:  An Observer in the Philippines, or Life in Our New Possessions.  This book is an interesting and amusing source of information then prevalent about the Philippines. (Devins also held the post of editor of The New York Observer.)

"What did America secure from Spain in return for the twenty million dollars paid for the Philippine Islands? Was the outlay necessary? Was it a wise investment? Have the results achieved warranted the expenditure? Is expansion, as it is illustrated by this experiment, a success or failure? What are the representatives of the American people--military, civil, business, educational, and religious--accomplishing in the New Possessions?"

So, the Philippine Islands were bought. Unlike the eastern part of Poland, East Prussia, and other areas grabbed by the Soviet Union after WWII.

JE comments:  A joy to hear from George Krajcsik after several months.  George and I share an interest in obscure old "travel" books, which in the 19th and early 20th centuries, tended to have an imperialist flavor.  Before me right now I have one of my favorites:  the Hon. John J. Ingalls's America's War for Humanity, Related in Story and Picture, Embracing a Complete History of Cuba's Struggle for Liberty, and the Glorious Heroism of America's Soldiers and Sailors.  The date, of course, is 1898, and the lengthy title obviates the need to read the book.

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  • US Acquisition of Philippines, 1898 (Bienvenido Macario, USA 05/05/15 4:05 AM)
    With regards to the US acquisition of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam (see George Krajcsik, 2 May), the proper term used was "ceded." Here's what happened.

    In the Spanish-American War among Europeans, it was only the UK that sided with the US. This was the start of the the UK-US alliance that continues to this day. Germany was the top supporter of the crumbling Spanish Empire. Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to have a German Empire to rival the British.

    The Kaiser referred to the UK-US team as "the American-British Society for International Theft and Warmongering."

    Germany provided arms and munitions, including military advisers to Spain.

    After the Battle of Manila Bay (May 1898), German and Japanese warships sailed to Manila Bay looking for an angle. In fact, one of the five cruisers of Vice Admiral Otto von Diederichs, Kaiser Wilhelm's naval commander in the Far East, evacuated women and children from a besieged Spanish garrison.

    Admiral Dewey accused the Germans of interfering with the American blockade, and authorized his men to board and search the German ships. Admiral Diederichs was defiant, which created a diplomatic crisis. Kaiser Wilhelm eventually ordered his flotilla out of the Philippines by August.

    Everything in the real world requires financing. In fact, wars are won or lost mostly from the logistic and financial perspectives. Spain lost the war and Germany was holding the largest portion of Spanish war bonds.

    Enter the Bishop of New Orleans. It was the Bishop of New Orleans who suggested to the US government pay Spain $20 million to redeem the Spanish war bonds, mostly from Germany.

    If there was any purchase of real estate after the 1898 Treaty of Paris, it was the friar lands bought by Civil Governor Gen. William H. Taft. The idea was to provide a place for the friars until they all died of natural causes.

    During the Philippine revolution 1896-97 and in the period from 1899 to 1901, 40 priests had been killed with 403 imprisoned. In 1898 there were 1,124 priests present. By 1902 only 472 remained and almost all of them in Manila.

    Reports of the (Taft) Philippine Commission, p. 31. The danger faced by the friars if they went back was summarized pithily by the grandson of a Franciscan friar: "All the friars have to do is to go back to their parishes and sleep one night, and the chances are that they would never awaken."

    See: Taft purchase of Friar lands in the Philippines (pages 9 to 12).


    JE comments: So the $20 million "purchase" of the Philippines was really a payment to the German creditors?  This makes sense, as it would prevent Germany from having an excuse to poke around the Archipelago.  Just a few years later (1902-'03), Wilhelm sent a flotilla to Venezuela, which had defaulted on its loan obligations.  This was Teddy Roosevelt's first international crisis.

    What's this about the grandson of a Franciscan friar?

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