I came across a humorous take on World War I the other day. “If World War I Was a Bar Fight” was first published last year, and has some debatable facts and unfortunate omissions, but it is a lot of fun.
So I naturally thought: “What other wars would work with this treatment?” Here is the Spanish-American War, if it were a bar fight…
Spain is sitting at the bar with Cuba and a bunch of its other colonies. Cuba stands up and starts to leave. Spain grabs Cuba’s arm and says, in no uncertain terms: “Sit back down.”
The Philippines lift their heads off the bar and look at Spain.
The U.S., sitting at a table by the door, looks at Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines.
One of Cuba’s brothers walks into the bar and sits down at U.S.’s table and starts making small talk.
The Philippines mention off-hand some new bar traditions they’d like to start. Spain glares down the bar at The Philippines and says to shut up. The Philippines shut up, and start to seethe.
Cuba starts to stand up, and Spain slaps him on the back of the head. Cuba sits back down. Cuba’s brother gets up from the U.S. table and walks over to the bar and tells Spain to back off. The U.S. yells across the room that it has nothing to do with all of this.
The U.S. moves his chair so that the ruckus isn’t happening behind his back. Spain tries to tell all the Europeans in the bar that it’s okay, smacking Cuba is legit. Great Britain tells Spain to shut up, and he’s on his own. The Philippines stand up at the other end of the bar. The U.S. mutters that he may have to break up this row between Spain and Cuba.
William Randolph Hearst, and Joseph Pulitzer, sitting at the U.S. table, tell everyone that Spain has always been a bully and point out how Cuba is being mistreated. The Philippines walk across the room and sit down at their own table.
1898 – The year it got real…
Spain stops smacking Cuba, and says he’ll be left alone if he sits back down at the bar. Someone throws a peanut at the U.S. The U.S. stands up, and demands that Spain let Cuba sit somewhere else. Spain sends a Shirley Temple to the Philippine table. The Philippines throw it at the wall.
Hearst and Pulitzer start chanting: “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Spain says “chill out, Cuba is cool” The U.S. steps across the room and gets in Spain’s face. Spain steps between the U.S. and Cuba. Cuba puts salt in Spain’s drink. Portugal says “Hey guys, I have nothing to do with this fight!” Spain slaps Cuba again. The U.S. punches Spain, and Cuba gives the U.S. a high-five. The U.S. invites Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines to sit at his table. The Philippines say “thank you, we’re enjoying our own table.” The U.S. grabs the Philippines by the collar and sit them down at the U.S. table, then looks at Hawaii. Spain brushes himself off and throws a few punches at the U.S., who dodges all of them. Guam moves over to the U.S. table.
The U.S. tells Hawaii to go sit at his table, then yells “Remember The Peanut!!!” and hits Spain in the shins with a pool cue.
Spain yells over to France, “tell the U.S. to chill, I don’t want to fight any more!” France tells the U.S. to lay off. The U.S. steps back and surveys the wreckage, then punches the Philippines in the face. Spain sits back down at the bar, and the U.S. gives Cuba a fist-bump. Cuba sits down at his own table. Puerto Rico moves from the bar to the U.S. table. The U.S. tells the Philippines it will beat them to a pulp if they try to leave.
The Philippines stand up at the U.S. table, the U.S. breaks a bottle over the Philippines’ head.
The U.S. continues to kick the living daylights out of the Philippines, who manage to land a few blows.
War ends in the Philippines, with a death toll of more than 4,200 U.S. soldiers, 20,000 Filipino soldiers, and 200,000 Filipino civilians.
I used this chronology, from the Library of Congress:
(I excluded the 1902 event from the bar fight format, out of respect for the grievous cost of the Philippine Insurrection.)