U.S. Rise to World Power Timeline

February 15, 1898- The Battleship Maine is destroyed in Havana harbor, killing 260 of its crew.

1898- President McKinley delivers his War Message to Congress, a war resolution is adopted, and Spain breaks off diplomatic relations with the U.S.

1898 April- The "Rough Riders," or volunteer cavalry, is organized. Theodore Roosevelt will resign his post in the Navy to take up commission of lieutenant colonel in the Rough Riders.

1898 June 10- 647 American Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, beginning the invasion of Cuba. 17,000 American troops, including Theodore Rooseveltís "Rough Riders," invade Santiago on June 20.

June 1898- The Hawaiian Annexation treaty is signed by McKinley.When war broke out with Spain in 1898, the military significance of Hawaiian naval bases as a way station to the SPANISH PHILIPPINES outweighed all other considerations. President William McKinley signed a joint resolution annexing the islands, much like the manner in which Texas joined the Union in 1845. Hawaii remained a territory until granted statehood as the fiftieth state in 1959.

July 26 1898 three months after it began, the "splendid little war" is ended. The Treaty of Paris, ratified in  by a vote of 57-27, declares that Spain cede the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the U.S.

January 22,1903-The Hay-Herran Treaty is signed by the Colombian charge at Washington. Provisions include a 100 year lease on a 10-mile wide strip in the Panamanian province of Columbia. The price is $10,000,000 and an annual rental of $250,000. Colombia rejects the proposal.

November 1903-In November, the United States and Panama sign the Hay-Buneau-Varilla treaty giving the United States permanent rights to a 10-mile wide strip of land in return for $10,000,000 and an annual charge of $250,000 after nine years.

1905- Roosevelt urges Russia and Japan, which have been at war since February 1904, to negotiate for peace. Inviting the two powers to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the President uses a strong hand to help the belligerents reach resolution. Roosevelt will win the Nobel Peace prize for his mediation. Meanwhile, Secretary of War Taft is in Tokyo to negotiate the Taft-Katsura Agreement, which recognizes Japanís dominance over Korea in return for its promise not to invade the Philippines.

March 1908- William Howard Taft is elected President. James S. Sherman is vice president. Taft articulates slight variation on Rooseveltís "big stick" that comes to be known as "Dollar Diplomacy." Taft says that he wishes to substitute "dollars for bullets" in his dealings with Latin America, with American capital bringing healthy reform to corrupt governments.

August 1, 1914- world war 1 has started.when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations. Western and eastern fronts quickly opened along the borders of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

February 15, 1915-The waters around the British Isles were to be considered an official war zone and Germany would sink any ship that entered this area.

May 7, 1915- British passenger ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine killing more than 120 Americans

April 24, 1916- Germany promises to not sink any more merchant ships without warning. They don't want the USA to enter the war. they later break the promise.

February 3, 1917- Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Continues Germany resumes U Boat attacks on the United States

January 1917-British secret service agents intercept a telegram for the German foreign minister Zimmerman to the German ambassador to Mexico. They now turn the decoded telegram to Wilson: Zimmerman, foreseeing war with the United States as inevitable, has instructed the German ambassador to instigate Mexican entrance into the war on the side of the Central Powers in return for New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. This pushes Wilson to the brink of war with Germany. The telegram is released to the public with responds with predictable anger.

June 5,1917- The Espionage Act is passed by Congress, which imposes sentences of up to twenty years in prison for anyone found guilty of aiding the enemy, obstructing the recruitment of soldiers, or encouraging disloyalty. It allows the postmaster general to remove from the mails any materials that may incite treason or insurrection. In 1918, Congress passes the Sedition Act, imposing harsh penalties for anyone using "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the government, flag, or armed forces.

January 8, 1918- Wilson sets forth his famous "Fourteen Points" for peace in the world. Most of these are specific to German borders, Polish, Turkish, and Belgian sovereignty, freedom of the seas, and the like, but the final point will cause ripples in the international world for many years. It asks for a "general association of nations... under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike."

January 1919- the Versailles peace conference begins

June 1919- The peace conference ends with the signing of the Versailles Treaty. Germany is asked to admit her guilt, to give up the rich Alsace-Lorraine and her overseas colonies, and pay reparations of some $15,000,000,000. Further trouble will result from clauses in the treaty that prevent German rearmament, and which provide for an indemnity of an indeterminate amount designed to keep the defeated nation perpetually poor. The final treaty does not follow closely Wilsonís Fourteen Points. Ultimately, the issue dearest to Wilsonís heart, the League of nations, is accepted by all signatories. However, because of the League issue, the Senate will never ratify the treaty.

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