Bay of Pigs

The Cold War did not just happen between the US and the Soviet Union. With the nature of warzones, other countries were pulled into the struggle. One of these was Cuba, an island in the Caribbean.

Cuba was independent for a long time, however there was an American=backed president in charge (General Fulgencio Batista). In 1959, he was overthrown by a young Cuban (Fidel Castro) who then went on to take power.

The CIA tried desperately for two years to overthrow Castro who was pro-Communism, but failed. America had strong business interests in Cuba. Castro, on the other hand, wanted Cubans to have more control over their businesses.

The situation got worse. President Eisenhower began to recruit Cubans who had gone into exile after Castro’s power surge, and began to train them to over throw him.

In May of 1960, Castro began to talk with the Soviet Union. America stopped exporting sugar, and the USSR responded by buying it off the Cubans.

New American president, John F. Kennedy believed the Cubans still posed a threat and looked to invade the country.


The invasion

Cuban airfields were the first targets. On 14th April 1961, airmen comprising of Cuban exiles bombed Cuban airfields. Not much damage was done as it had turned out that Castro had suspected something like this would happen and had moved his air-force.

The land invasion was not much better on 17th April. 114 people were killed at the Bay of Pigs and over 1,000 were captured.


No American troops intervention

If Kennedy had ordered for American troops to go in, this would have sparked a WWIII. In the end, he believed that there was nothing else he could do. In November of 1961, Operation Mongoose was launched – a sabotage campaign but that was the furthest it got to a war.

The Cuban missile crisis would be the next event that brought Cuba back to the attention of the Americans…

Kitty Gibson
Latest posts by Kitty Gibson (see all)

Kitty Gibson

Kitty is a 21 year old, recent university graduate. She has a keen interest in the war periods of the 20th century. She is looking forward to spending time travelling to New York, Berlin (and other parts of Europe) as well as possibly Australia in the near future. Her interests lie in writing, marketing and reading and a bit of horse riding on the side.