On February 15, 1898, an explosion ripped through the American battleship Maine ...
On February 15, 1898, an explosion ripped through the American battleship Maine , anchored in Havana harbor, sinking the ship and killing 260 sailors. Americans responded with outrage, assuming that Spain, which controlled Cuba as a colony, had sunk the ship. Two months later, the slogan "Remember the Maine " carried the U.S. into war with Spain. In the midst of the hysteria, few Americans paid much attention to the report issued two weeks before the U.S. entry into the war by a Court of Inquiry appointed by President McKinley. The report stated that the committee could not definitively assign blame to Spain for the sinking of the Maine . Publishers such as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used their many newspapers to stir public opinion over the sinking of the Maine into a frenzy, hastenening U.S. entry into the conflict. This February 17, 1898, front page story from Pulitzer's New York World suggested, on the basis of little evidence, the hand of the enemy in the destruction of the Maine.