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See, Hear and Sing Disasters, Devastation and Destruction

A screen shot from 'Wreck of the Battleship 'Maine'' 1898.

A scene from the "Wreck of the Battleship 'Maine'" from 1898

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Manmade Disasters
Sometimes a manmade disaster can set off a chain of events that causes even greater damage. On February 15, 1898, a mysterious explosion sunk the U.S.S. Maine, an American battleship that was in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. This occurred while Cuba was fighting for its independence from Spain. During this period, William Randolph Hearst, who owned a chain of newspapers, knew that stories about disasters sold papers. Hearst decided that his newspapers would report that Spain was to be blamed for the explosion in which 260 American seamen lost their lives. (Most historians now believe that the explosion was caused by a malfunctioning boiler.) The incident led the U.S. to go to war with Spain in the Spanish-American War. In this film you can see what was left of the U.S.S. Maine surrounded by wrecking boats.
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VIDEO CREDIT: Paley, William Daly, camera. 'Wreck of the Battleship "Maine".' Edison Manufacturing Co., 1898. The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures, Library of Congress.