American USSR

An Extensive Archive of America's Hundreds of Lies, Treacheries, Wars, False Operations, Torture, and Murders

American USSR: America's Lies and Deceptions: U.S.S. Maine Lies




The Downing Street Memo is only the beginning of the proof we were all lied to.

Michael Rivero

"All war is based on deception." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There is nothing new in a government lying to their people to start a war. Indeed because most people prefer living in peace to bloody and horrific death in war, any government that desires to initiate a war usually lies to their people to create the illusion that support for the war is the only possible choice they can make.

President McKinley told the American people that the USS Maine had been sunk in Havana Harbor by a Spanish mine. The American people, outraged by this apparent unprovoked attack, supported the Spanish American War. The Captain of the USS Maine had insisted the ship was sunk by a coal bin explosion, investigations after the war proved that such had indeed been the case. There had been no mine.


Sinking of the U.S.S. Maine (Wikipedia)

Wreckage of Maine, 1898

Maine spent her active career operating along the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean. In January 1898, Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, at 21:40 on 15 February, an explosion on board Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's six and ten-inch guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship.[22] The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. 266 men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries. Captain Charles Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers.[23] On 21 March, the US Naval Court of Inquiry in Key West declared that a naval mine caused the explosion.[24]

The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish–American War that began in April 1898. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!"[4][25][26][27][28] The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some who were already inclined to go to war with Spain over their perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba.[29][30]

The investigations

In addition to the inquiry commissioned by the Spanish Government to naval officers Del Peral and De Salas, two Naval Courts of Inquiry were ordered: The Sampson board in 1898 and the Vreeland board in 1911. In 1976, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover commissioned a private investigation into the explosion and the National Geographic Society did an investigation in 1999 using computer simulations. All investigations agreed that an explosion of the forward magazines caused the destruction of the ship, but different conclusions were reached how the magazines could explode.[30][31]

1898 Del Peral and De Salas Inquiry

The Spanish inquiry, conducted by Del Peral and De Salas, collected evidence from officers of naval artillery who had examined the remains of Maine. Del Peral and De Salas identified the spontaneous combustion of the coal bunker that was located adjacent to the munition stores in the Maine as the likely cause of the explosion. Additional observations included that:

  1. had a mine been the cause of the explosion a column of water would have been observed
  2. the wind and the waters were calm on that date and hence a mine could not have been detonated by contact but using electricity, but no cables had been found
  3. no dead fish were found in the harbor as would be expected following an explosion in the water
  4. the munition stores usually do not explode when mines sink ships.

The conclusions of the report were not reported at that time by the American press.[32]

1898 Sampson Board's Court of Inquiry

1898 Sampson Board

In order to find the cause of the explosion a naval inquiry was ordered by the United States shortly after the incident, headed by Captain William T. Sampson. Ramón Blanco y Erenas, Spanish governor of Cuba, had proposed instead a joint Spanish-American investigation of the sinking.[33] Captain Sigsbee had written that "many Spanish officers, including representatives of General Blanco, now with us to express sympathy."[34] In a cable, the Spanish Minister of Colonies, Segismundo Moret, had advised Blanco “to gather every fact you can to prove the Maine catastrophe cannot be attributed to us.”[35]

The Board arrived on 21 February and took testimonies of survivors, witnesses and divers (who were sent down to investigate the wreck). The Sampson Board concluded that Maine had been blown up by a mine, which in turn caused the explosion of her forward magazines. They reached this conclusion based on the fact that the majority of witnesses had heard two explosions and that part of the keel was bent inwards.[30] The official report from the board, which was presented to the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. on 21 March, specifically stated the following:

At frame 18 the vertical keel is broken in two and the flat keel is bent at an angle similar to the angle formed by the outside bottom plating. [...] In the opinion of the court, this effect could have been produced only by the explosion of a mine situated under the bottom of the ship at about frame 18, and somewhat on the port side of the ship." (part of the court's 5th finding)

"In the opinion of the court, the MAINE was destroyed by the explosion of a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her forward magazines." (the court's 7th finding) and

"The court has been unable to obtain evidence fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person or persons." (the court's 8th finding).[24]

1911 Vreeman Board's Court of Inquiry

Wreckage of Maine 16 June 1911

In 1910 the decision was made to do a second Court of Inquiry. The reasons for this were the recovery of the bodies of the victims so they could be buried in the United States and a desire for a more thorough investigation. The fact that the Cuban government wanted the wreck removed from the harbour of Havana might also have played a role. Begun in December 1910, a cofferdam was built around the wreck and water was pumped out, exposing the wreck by late 1911. From 20 November-2 December 1911, a court of inquiry headed by Rear Admiral Charles E. Vreeland visited the wreck. They concluded that an external explosion had triggered the explosion of the magazines, however this explosion was farther aft and lower powered than concluded by the Sampson Board. The Vreeman Board also found that the bending of frame 18 was caused by the explosion of the magazines, not by the external explosion.[30] After the investigation, the newly-located dead were buried in Arlington National Cemetery and the hollow, intact portion of the hull of Maine was refloated and ceremoniously scuttled at sea on 16 March 1912.[36]

1974 Rickover investigation

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover became intrigued with the disaster and began a private investigation in 1974. Using information from the two official inquiries, newspapers, personal papers and information on the construction and ammunition of Maine it was concluded that the explosion was not caused by a mine. Instead spontaneous combustion of coal in the bunker next to magazine was speculated to be the most likely cause. The Admiral published a book about this investigation, How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed, in 1976.[37]

1998 National Geographic investigation

In 1998, National Geographic Magazine commissioned an analysis by Advanced Marine Enterprises. This investigation, done to commemorate the centennial of the sinking of Maine, was based on computer modeling, a technique unavailable for previous investigations. The conclusions reached were "while a spontaneous combustion in a coal bunker can create ignition-level temperatures in adjacent magazines, this is not likely to have occurred on the Maine, because the bottom plating identified as Section 1 would have blown outward, not inward," and "The sum of these findings is not definitive in proving that a mine was the cause of sinking of the Maine, but it does strengthen the case in favor of a mine as the cause."[31] Some experts, including Admiral Rickover’s team and several analysts at AME, do not agree with the conclusion.[31]

False flag hypothesis

It has been suggested by some that the sinking was a false flag operation conducted by the U.S.

  • Mikhail Khazin, a Russian economist who once ran the cultural section at Komsomolskaya Pravda, speaking in a 2008 Pravda interview of the need in troubled times to change the psychology of society, to unite it, said that "the Americans blew up their own battleship Maine."[38]
  • Eliades Acosta, a prominent Cuban historian, head of the Cuban Communist Party's Committee on Culture and former director of the Jose Marti National Library in Havana, offered the standard Cuban interpretation of the sinking of the Maine: that the United States itself probably did it, in an interview to The New York Times. But Dr. Acosta adds that "Americans died for the freedom of Cuba, and that should be recognized. But others wanted to annex Cuba, and that should be criticized. If relations with the United States improve, all these things can be re-examined more fairly".[39]
  • Cuban officials argue that the U.S. may have deliberately sunk the ship to create a pretext for military action against Spain.[citation needed] The wording on the Maine monument in Havana describes Maine's sailors as "victims sacrificed to the imperialist greed in its fervor to seize control of Cuba",[40] which "alludes to the theory that U.S. agents deliberately blew up their own ship to create a pretext for declaring war on Spain".[41] (The United States occupied Cuba between 1898 and 1902 and, as promised in the Teller Amendment, did not attempt to annex the island.)


The ship's crew consisted of 355:

  • 26 officers
  • 290 sailors
  • 39 Marines

Of these, there were 261 fatalities:

  • 2 officers and 251 sailors/Marines either killed by the explosion or drowned
  • 7 others were rescued but soon died of their injuries
  • 1 officer later died of "cerebral affection" (shock)

Of the 94 survivors, only 16 were uninjured.[

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