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President McKinley

Since February 15th of 1898, there has been a major question that has never been fully answered. U.S President McKinley, decided to send a ship to check on the Cubans. Under Spain control, many Cubans pleaded for help as they were forced into concentration camps. On the night of this date, the American battleship called the USS Maine exploded in the Havana Harbor of Cuba. This explosion killed 268 sleeping Americans on ship, causing tragedy and controversy all over the world. Tensions grew, Americans knew it was no accident and blamed the Spanish. These accusations later contributed to the deadly, Spanish-American War. In all instances, the answer is clear. The USS Maine sunk as a result of a spontaneous coal combustion, it was an accident. Experts say this, the Spanish were not capable of committing such crime, and it is extremely common for an accidental explosion like this one.

The USS Maine was sunk by accident, due to a spontaneous coal combustion because it is very common. One good example is in the newspaper, New York Times, in 1898. Captain Schuley's interview goes like this, "He said that fires would sometimes start in the coal bunkers, and he told of such fire on board another ship that started very close to the magazine." In other words, the experienced war ship Captain, suggests that it is extremely likely for this explosion to be an accident. He says that fires starting in coal bunkers is possible and has happened multiple times before. Consequently, the USS Maine could have had an unfortunate accident on board like past ships have, with a spontaneous coal combustion. Another indication of this is also shown in the New York Times magazine of 1898. This time, it is a sub header that further proves how this explosion was only an unlucky accident. New York Times writes, "Spontaneous Combustion in Coal-Bunkers a Frequent Peril to the Magazines of Warships -- Hard to Blow Up the Magazine." This is a valid point because it tells how it can be difficult to mine the magazine part of the ship, like the USS Maine. It can lead us to believe that it is more likely for an accidental explosion to occur rather than a deliberate bombing. If it is hard to blow up the magazine of a ship, then how could the USS Maine have been blown up? This indicates an even more probable reason that the explosion is an accident. Based on an experienced Captain's truth and high possibility of the explosion not being on purpose, we must conclude that this tragic event was only an accident because accidental explosions are fairly common during this time.

On the contrary, some others believe that the USS Maine was sunk deliberately, by an opposing nation called Spain. They argue that it was an enemy who knowingly arranged for the USS Maine to anchor over a harbor mine. However, this is not the case. Though the Spanish were cruel to the Cubans giving them a motive, they did not have the ability or mindset to destroy the large ship. The New York Times once again illustrates how "the Spanish or Cubans in Havana had either the information or equipment necessary to blow up the magazine" How could someone unskilled produce such madness? Why would the innocent Cubans blow up a ship full of people who came to help them? In any instance, it is not possible for any person to commit such crime. It does not make sense for the Cubans or Spanish to blow up the Maine. Though the truth may be hard to admit, it is clear. The USS Maine sunk not by a local enemy, but the sad case of a coal combustion in the magazine area of the ship.

In the final analysis, it is for certain that the USS Maine sunk as a result of a coal combustion in the ship. Not by an enemy, not by a bomb, but some coals that overheated into a deadly fire. All in all, multiple experts and experienced Captains and Newspaper Editors, came to the conclusion that this was an accident. The Spanish and Cubans, did not have the means necessary to blow up the Maine, further giving the only possible solution: it was an accident. This has happened before on multiple occasions, many see the damage as an unfortunate incident. This disturbing event had destroyed precious equipment, ended the lives of those who help as an occupation, and erupted anger and further conflicts between nations. Unfortunately, in the end, there is no one to blame for this tragedy but a room of coals leading to a fire.