Remember the Maine! The Spanish-American War 125 Years Later

Dr. Timothy Wolters
07 Nov 2022
6:00 PM
Sun Room, Memorial Union
  • Military-Affiliated Student Center
  • History Department
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

On 26 September 2022, several mysterious explosions rocked two underwater pipelines in the Baltic Sea built to carry Russian natural gas to Western Europe.  Confusion ensued, and the public remain in the dark as to who, if anyone, is responsible for the damage.  Similar confusion reigned in the aftermath of arguably the most renowned explosion in U.S. history, which took place on 15 February 1898 when USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, killing 260 American servicemen.  An official U.S. Navy investigation concluded that the explosion was the product of an underwater mine, and within weeks the United States and Spain were at war.  February marks the 125th anniversary of this seminal historical event, which in public memory remains the principal cause of the Spanish-American War.  Maritime and naval historian Tim Wolters examines this simplistic portrayal, arguing that the causes of the final American war of the nineteenth century were both deeper and more contentious than is generally recognized.

ISU Professor Timothy Wolters received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the history of science and technology and began teaching at Iowa State in 2010.  He is an associate professor of history, and his most popular courses include the Global History of InnovationAmerican Military History, and The World at War.  In 2017, he retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve at the rank of captain.  He is qualified in submarines, passed the nuclear engineer’s exam, and was a specialist in undersea warfare during his reserve career.  Professor Wolters is currently researching and writing a lengthy article on the invention of the nautical chart.