Just like the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs was an attempt from the United States to stop the spread of communism. While the Vietnam War happened to prevent communists from taking over Southeast Asia, the Bay of Pigs invasion dealt with a much more sensitive matter. One can argue that the Bay of Pigs invasion was more crucial as it was to stop the spreading of communism to Cuba, a country located only 90 miles away from the southern United States coast.
Why did the Bay of Pigs have to happen?
Cuba was announced to be a socialist state after the Cuban president Batista was overthrown by Cuban rebels under the leadership of Fidel Castro on the very last day of the year in 1958. As 1959 started, Cuba started to change its alliance, which was once with the United States of America, in both politics and trade to become an ally of the Soviet Union, America’s biggest enemy at the time.
Furthermore, this allowed communism and the Soviet Union to have a presence in the western world so dangerously close to the United States. This made the invasion of Cuba to defeat communism a must for the United States.
The Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, was responsible for taking down the communist government of Fidel Castro. The Agency planned to have Cubans, who ran away from Cuba after Castro took over and lived in America, overthrow Castro’s government.
The CIA started to train those Cubans exiles to execute guerrilla warfare, which is a form of war where the weaker side (the exiles) would perform irregular, fast-moving tactics on a smaller scale. The hope was that the exiles would gain enough momentum and support with the locals and they would join in to help defeat the stronger forces and overthrow Castro’s government.
Originally, the invasion was supposed to happen in the Cuban city of Trinidad, but the location was changed when President Kennedy saw that a more secluded area would be better. This is how the Bay of Pigs was chosen for the invasion. Since the plan was to help the Cuban exiles, planes were supposed to fly over and get rid of the Cuban air force. Then the ships were supposed to land 1,500 soldiers who would get into Cuba and start an armed rebellion against Castro. They hoped that the rest of the Cuban people would join in the rebellion effort.
The failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs
Although the invasion was supposed to be a secret, too many people knew about it. Eventually, even the Cuban communist government knew and was ready. While the American planes managed to destroy most of the Cuban air force on April 17th, 1961, enough Cuban planes got away and were able to sink the soldiers’ ships before the soldiers could get the weapons and ammunition off the ships.
Another disaster happened when the troops that landed using parachutes were supposed to slow down Castro’s troops, but they were dropped off in a wrong location and ended up in the middle of the swamps. As a result, the entire invasion force was surrounded and outnumbered by Castro’s soldiers. Most of them were captured and put in prison. This failed invasion was a big hit to the image and strength of the United States. Finally, both the government and the CIA looked weak, and Castro’s control over Cuba got stronger as a result.
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