Bay of Pigs Invasion

Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Fidel Castro took control of the Cuban government in 1959. The US government, disliking Castro’s friendly political terms with the USSR, started planning an attack on Cuba. The plan was to use all Cuban exiles, so as to make it look like the US had nothing to do with the attack.

The training of the exiles began in 1960. Once President Kennedy was inaugurated in February 1961, he made a few small changes to the plan, including changing the attack location to the Bay of Pigs, which was on the southern side of Cuba - to help hide US involvement.

The attack was a disaster from beginning to end. The invasion was to start with two air strikes. That failed when the pilots of the first strike missed most of their targets. The second strike was canceled. The weather turned, and, Cuba having learned of the plan, the ground attack failed. President Kennedy ordered six planes to come to the rescue - but the planes arrived an hour late, messed up by a change in time zones, and were promptly shot down. Over 1,200 attacking exiles surrendered, and over 100 were killed.

This failed invasion was just the beginning of several attempts to overthrow Castro - all of which failed. The strained relations between the US and Cuba, began because of this, continue until today, with a few attempts to lessen the tension just recently beginning.

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