Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: During the Cuban War of Independence, Weyler created the reconcentration policy, which herded Cuban peasants into camps to separate them from the rebels. Massive numbers of dead Cubans in the camps prompted American demands to intervene in Cuba and contributed to the Spanish-American War in 1898.
In 1896, the Spanish government appointed General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau to crush the Cuban rebellion that had begun in 1895. Upon arrival, Weyler initiated his “reconcentration policy,” which sought to end the rural population’s support for the rebellion by forcing Cuban peasants into special camps to separate them from the rebels. Although the policy severely weakened the rebels, it was a public-relations disaster. Poor supply coordination, inadequate shelter, and nonexistent medical care in the camps produced thousands of dead Cubans. The Cuban propaganda machine eagerly fed horrific stories of the camps to American newspapers, which nicknamed Weyler “the Butcher.” His policy evoked massive outcry and pushed many previously neutral Americans to demand intervention on the Cuban rebels’ behalf. The policy so badly strained diplomatic relations between the United States and Spain that the Spanish government had to recall Weyler in October, 1897. Weyler continued to serve in the Spanish military until his death.
Brown, Charles Henry. The...
(The entire section is 251 words.)
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