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Post US Acquisition of Philippines, 1898
Created by John Eipper on 05/05/15 4:05 AM

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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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