Chapter

Dancing with Corpses: Popular Responses to War and Disaster

Sebastian Balfour

in The End of the Spanish Empire, 1898–1923

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198205074
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676482 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205074.003.0005
Dancing with Corpses: Popular Responses to War and Disaster

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Popular reaction to the Disaster was notoriously muted. Apart from a few angry demonstrations led by students, most Spaniards appeared to greet the news with indifference. This at least was the conclusion drawn by many commentators at the time. Journalists were scandalized by the fact that on the very day the news of the Cavite defeat reached Spain, the Madrid public turned up to watch a bullfight as if nothing had happened; this one event became for many observers thereafter a token not just of the fickleness of public opinion but of the backwardness of the Spanish people. The seemingly unconcerned response of people to the Disaster was all the more shocking to these commentators because it was in direct contrast to the wave of patriotic fervour which had gripped the country on the outbreak of the war with the United States.

Keywords: Spain; public opinion; Spanish–American War; United States; indifference

Chapter.  16831 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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