The memory of '98 in Spain
The memory of 1898 lives in the collective Spanish historical consciousness as 'The Year of Disaster', the national tragedy signalling the end of the American and Asian colonial system. Losing the colonies, however, as the author points out, was not a disaster but the beginning of a series of changes that linked up with the modernisation of Spain and with its approaching Europe. Reviewing the historical works published in recent years on 1898 and its effects, the author asserts that these refute the catastrophist interpretation of the event: the military defeat by the United States was not a disabling blow for Spain either from military or from economic or ideological aspects. Indeed, the conditions were already ripe for the independence of Cuba. At the same time, the disruption of colonial-political ties between Spain and Cuba did not mean the severing of cultural-spiritual bonds between Spaniards and Cubans. The author claims that the end of Spanish rule in Cuba, which can be attributed to '98, should be celebrated, and not mourned. What were unfortunate in the affair was rather the consequences of the simultaneous unfolding of what can be regarded as the neocolonist aspirations of the United States.
The Generation of '98 and Spanish History
The so-called generation of '98 emerged in Spain in the wake of the military defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898. The activities of its members included, among others, the reinterpretation of Spanish history; setting a different interpretation against the self-justifying, pathetic - and as such, false - historical image of the so-called official Spain. The essay analyses the three most significant writings on this issue, i.e. Idearium Espańol. El porvenir de Espańa by Ángel Ganivet, En torno al casticismo by Miguel de Unamuno, and Defensa de la Hispanidad by Ramiro de Maeztu. The common message of the three writings is that Spain had diverged from the historical road it had been destined to follow, and the catastrophic present is the result of this unfaithfulness. The three authors, however, differ in where they place this divergence in history. According to Ganivet, the country had been ruined, its resources wasted by the global politics of the Hapsburgs on the throne of Spain. Maeztu, on the other hand, associates the change with the ascent of the Bourbons, which brought free European spirituality, enlightenment and liberalism into Spain. Unamuno's analysis has several layers: it postulates a return to a 'perennial tradition' that simultaneously points beyond the common dilemma of common traditionalism or following Europe.
If viewed chronologically, the three writings clearly display a negative tendency of development, carrying on originally conservative, romantic Catholicism in the direction of right-wing radicalism and/or a kind of Catholic totalitarianism. The thoughts of the three authors, Unamuno partially excepted, tend with all their personal benevolence towards what would manifest itself in the political creed of the falange from the 1930s as the decisive moment in Spanish history.
The aspirations of the United States, Japan, Germany and Chile to acquire the Galapagos Islands after the Spanish-American War (1898-1914)
When discussing the Spanish-American War of 1898, the literature on the subject usually places the emphasis on the Atlantic dimensions of the conflict and often mentions in passing only its short and long term consequences in the Pacific region. These consequences include the acquisition of the Philippines by the United States, which thereby found itself closer not only to the Asian mainland but to an expanding Japan as well. The United States and Japan were separated by substantial distances, but the build-up of North American power in the Philippines on the one hand, and, on the other, the Japanese rule on Formosa Island since 1895 brought these two powers, rapidly increasing their maritime forces, much too close to each other, and presently turned one against the another.
After the Spanish-American, and especially after the Russo-Japanese war, the contrasting interests of Japan and the United States were overtly manifested. Regarding each other as dangerous rivals, both powers tried to hinder the Pacific expansion of the other. The open as well as secret diplomatic activities of Japan concerning the issue of the ownership of the Galapagos Islands is one forgotten, or rather, not sufficiently explored episode of that period. The diplomatic and naval documents of the German Empire, also getting involved in this issue, shed light on certain aspects of this activity.
After the Spanish-American War as well as during the construction of the Panama Canal, the United States, along with the other great powers interested in the Pacific status quo, was attracted, as if by a magnet, to the Galapagos Islands. These conflicting hegemonic interests resulted in fierce diplomatic struggles concerning the future ownership of the islands.
The files in German archives, first of all in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv-Freiburg and the Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts-Bonn, partially restricted, include the so-called Galapagos papers.
It is possible to document with this archival material that Chile played a decisive role in the Galapagos Islands' remaining with Ecuador. The German sources highlight first of all the conflicting interests of the United States and Chile as well as the strong military and political influence of Chile on Ecuador. The foreign policy of Chile was also supported by the South American interests of Germany and the Pacific claims of Japan; these powers, for quite different reasons, were similarly interested in keeping the Islands out of the jurisdiction of the US Navy, indeed, they supported Chile in its effort to acquire them. Thus, the fate of the Galapagos Islands was basically decided within the intricate power system of the Washington-Santiago-Berlin-Tokyo quadrangle as well as in the hostile relations between Peru and Chile, and Peru and Ecuador, while all the parties concerned were exerting strong pressure on Quito.
Republicanism in 18th- and 19th-Century American History
The article discusses the emergence and development of a republican understanding of early American intellectual history and culture, a subject that up until now has received no scholarly attention in Hungary. The first part traces the major stages in the formation of the republican paradigm in the face of the then predominant liberal interpretation by examining the works of Bernard Bailyn, Gordon S. Wood and J. G. A. Pocock. Following that, the expansion of the republican interpretation is covered: the rise of interest in the examination of the regional, class, and gender variations of US republicanism as well as the way in which its various aspects such as political economy, and cultural forms came into the centre of attention. The next part of the article deals with reactions provoked by the republican interpretation mainly informed by the liberal perspective and the way in which it came under criticism as far as its moral philosophical, political economic, and political theoretical aspects are concerned. Finally, the article discusses works reflecting the current state of the republican paradigm, which can be regarded as a result of that criticism. Its major elements remaining intact, the republican interpretation no longer vindicates exclusivity in the understanding of early American intellectual history and culture, but acknowledges the presence of liberal ideas and values in the period.