Bay of Pigs fiasco (April 1961)

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Bay of Pigs fiasco (April 1961)


  • Between 1959 and 1961, Cuba and the USA maintained a frosty relationship without direct confrontation
  • Fidel Castro took over American owned businesses in Cuba but allowed the USA to keep Guantánamo Bay
  • The USA responded by refusing to buy Cuban sugar, which was the country's main product
  • Castro assured the safety of Americans living in Cuba, but american spies found out that Castro was receiving arms from the USSR
  • In January 1961, the USA broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba, and Castro thought that the USA was preparing to invade
  • In April 1961, JFK supplied arms, equipment and transport (costing $45 million) for 1400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles who opposed Castro
  • These exiles invaded Cuba and landed at the Bay of Pigs
  • 20,000 Cuban troops (supplied with equipment from the USSR) met them and all exiles were killed or captured in 3 days
  • The attempted invasion failed miserably


  • President Kennedy looked weak and inexperienced in front of the entire world (people blamed his young age)
  • Major leaks in US intelligence services showed more weakness
  • It seemed that the USA was not prepared to send its own military forces to intervene (they sent cuban exiles)
  • The American policy from then on was to get rid of Castro
  • Kennedy turned to the CIA to come up with numerous assassination plans (operation Mongoose)
  • Castro immediately turned to the USSR to request substantial aid because he thought an American invasion was imminent
  • This encouraged the Soviet Union to try and prize concessions from Berlin with the threat of the military
  • From 1961 the USSr began flooding Cuba with military personnel, equipment and eventually missiles
  • Eventually leads to the Cuban missile crisis
  • In May 1962, the USSR publicly announced that they were supplying Cuba with arms
  • By October 1962 the USSR send 20,000 personnel, 40 bombers, 42 fighters, 140 surface to air missiles, installed 40 medium range missiles, and 12 intermediate range missiles.
  • The intermediate range missiles could hit most cities in North America
  • This meant that there was no way the USA could invade, in fear of the missiles
  • The warning time for the USA was 2 minutes

Overall summary

The invasion of Cuba was supposed to trigger a popular uprising in Cuba, but this didn't happen. It was an attempt by the USA to oust Castro out of power to try and stop the spread of communism (considering Cuba was so close to the USA).


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