The invasion at the Bay of Pigs is an event that played a significant role in histories of both the United States and Cuba. It was a United States-supported attack on the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in an attempt to stop communism. The attempt proved futile; many lives were lost for an objective that was not achieved. The invasion therefore served as a lesson in American politics. Since the Second World War ended, the United States was convinced that communism was a major problem (Sierra 2). Americans believed that communism was a major threat.
When Fidel Castro arrived in the United States for the American Society of Newspaper Editors in April 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon was already determined to oppose his rule (Sierra 3). Earlier that year, the Cuban revolution occurred, and President Dwight Eisenhower realized the social implications of the said revolution (Sierra 2; “Wars”). The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had formulated a plan against Castro, which Eisenhower approved on March 17, 1960 (“Bay”; Sierra 3). The relationship between the United States and Cuba began to break down; the diplomatic ties between the two nations were officially cut by the U.
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S. government on January 3, 1961 (“Bay”; Sierra 2). Seventeen days after the Eisenhower administration ended their relations with Cuba, former Senator John F. Kennedy assumed his post in the oval office as President (Sierra 2). Before being elected as President, with the given political climate, Kennedy knew that the only way he could win the presidency was to champion anti-communism. He then became fixated with Castro. The moment he became president, he had already promised Cuban exiles that he would fervently fight communism and support any effort to topple the Castro regime (Sierra 3).
The invasion was planned in such a way that Cuban exiles would overthrow the Castro administration without exposing how involved the United States was to the operation (“Bay”). There had already been speculation that the officials of the United States had been planning to attack Cuba, but this was responded to with denials (Sierra 2). However, Raul Roa, the prime minister of Cuba, confirmed that Cuban exiles were being recruited, trained and paid for their contribution in the possible attack (Sierra 3). The initial plan of attack was to land in Trinidad City in the day (Sierra 3).
However, this plan had two disadvantages. First, the city was located close to the Escambray Mountains; this would be an ideal place wherein Castro's troops would retreat into after the attack. Second, Kennedy realized that this would reveal to the public the involvement of the United States in the attack. The plan was then changed; instead, the landing would be at the Bay of Pigs, which was to occur at night. The bay presented a possible air-strip located on the beach wherein the bombing raids could be managed.
After the area was secured, Cuban government created by the CIA would be established; its legitimacy would immediately acknowledged by the U. S. government. The installed government would then ask for military assistance, and there would be an “intervention” (Sierra 3). In a press conference five days prior to the attack, Kennedy claimed that the United States military would not interfere with the Cuban situation. He stated that it was a struggle amongst the Cubans, not a battle between the U. S. and Cuba (Sierra 3). On April 15th, B-26 planes simultaneously bombed four airfields in Cuba (Sierra 4).
These bomber planes were transformed to look like Cuban planes operated by Cuban exiles. A few days before the actual attack was launched, people from the CIA arrived in Cuba to assist the invaders. They were tasked to commit terrorist attacks like bombing bridges; it is because by doing so, it would appear that the Cuban citizens were involved in the attack. However, the truth was soon unveiled. The difference between the noses of a Cuban and an American plane gave it away. The former was made of Plexiglas, while the latter was opaque.
Meanwhile, the forces arrived on April 16th; six battalions which consisted of 1,500 men arrived on the bay (Sierra 4). While the invasion was proceeding, the leader of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy (Sierra 4). The letter stated that everyone already knew about the U. S. involvement in the invasion, and that Russia would not hesitate to aid Cuba in defending itself from invaders. This prompted Kennedy to stop the air strikes (“Bay”). However, the attack on land continued; the exiles wanted to proceed to Havana in hopes of getting support from the locals.
The invaders failed to reach their destination, as Castro's troops stopped them. It was on April 19th when the fighting was halted, but many people had already been killed while others have been captured. Later on, the exiles were free on ransom by the Cuban government (“Bay”). The invasion was a failure; it caused great embarrassment to Kennedy and the U. S. government (“Bay”). The failure was attributed to insufficient and erroneous planning and execution. There was lack of preparation, while the intelligence gathered was not sufficient to guarantee the success of the invasion.
That is the reason why Kennedy fired several CIA officials (Sierra 6). In addition, information about the impending attack also allowed Castro and his troops to prepare. Despite the numerous setbacks, Kennedy pushed through with the attack hoping that the citizens of Cuba would support it. They never did (“Bay”). The invasion at the Bay of Pigs was intended to crush communism by overthrowing Fidel Castro. The invasion was an attempt of the United States to attack Cuba under the guise of a local political dilemma. The invasion failed, resulting in the loss of lives and the humiliation of the Free World.
The event has indeed proved that a noble intention does not guarantee success. Works Cited “Bay of Pigs Invasion”. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 2008. Microsoft Corporation. 11 June 2008 <http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_761555123/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion. html>. Sierra, Jerry A. “Invasion at Bay of Pigs. ” History of Cuba. 30 July 2007. 11 June 2008 <http://www. historyofcuba. com/history/baypigs/pigs. htm>. “Wars and Battles: Bay of Pigs Invasion. ” U-S-history. com. 12 June 2008 <http://www. u-s-history. com/pages/h1765. html>.
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