An illustration of the battleship USS Maine from Pictorial History of Our War with Spain for Cuba's Freedom, by Trumbull White, ca. 1898.
This illustration shows the USS Maine before it exploded in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898. The explosion, or alleged attack, of the USS Maine killed 266 men on board and pushed the United States into war with Spain. Though the cause of the explosion was undetermined, the event was the subject of sensational newspaper reporting, particularly by the New York World and New York Journal, which influenced popular opinion among the papers’ vast readership in support of going to war. Historians often identify news coverage of the explosion of the USS Maine as a starting point for the rise of yellow journalism.