Chapter

The Rifle Without a Target: The Military in the Aftermath of the 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/9780198205074.003.0007
The Rifle Without a Target: The Military in the Aftermath of the Disaster

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Of all sections of Spanish society, the military was that most traumatized by the defeat of 1898. The loss of the remaining colonies had resulted in a considerable erosion of the army's political influence and the disappearance of an important source of financial benefits. Moreover, the Disaster burned a deep sense of injustice on the minds of professional officers. According to widespread military opinion, the navy had been needlessly humiliated by an incompetent government which had failed, as its predecessors had failed, to create a modern fleet able to do battle on an equal footing with the American warships. The Disaster threw officers on the defensive and like insecure people they responded with aggression. While the military press lashed out at all critics, groups of angry officers took action on their account against newspapers which were considered to have insulted the armed forces. This sort of violence was an old tradition amongst the military; in the aftermath of the Disaster, physical attacks on the press by officers multiplied.

Keywords: Spain; military officers; navy; political influence; newspapers; press

Chapter.  10982 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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