Bay of Pigs Invasion - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1578 Words
Date:  2023-01-10


The Bay of Pigs was a botched invasion of Cuba. It was orchestrated in 1961 by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in April 1961. The invasion was perpetuated by a rebel group known as Brigade 2506 comprising of Cuban exiles who had fled the country to the United States following the takeover by Fidel Castro. C.I.A trained and funded them well enough to confront the Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF). The plan was to overthrow the communist government of Cuba, which was increasingly becoming popular in Latin America under the leadership of Castro (Carroll, 2018). The invasion was launched in Guatemala and Nicaragua, but even with the training and CIA support, the rebels were overwhelmed in 3 days by the Revolutionary Cuban Forces. One would wonder what happened to the plan. How could an attack that was funded and supported by force such as CIA fail? What happened? The big question that this paper will address therefore is; Why did the Bay of Pigs invasion fail? By evaluation and answering this question, this paper will shed more light on the political events of the revolution in Cuba and the concept of the cold war between the communists and the Capitalists. This way the reader will understand the long-lasting implications of the Invasion on the United States failure to cut short the spread of Communism, among other impacts which can be witnessed today.

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Several responses can be given in the above question. These responses would constitute the reasons why the Bay of Pigs Invasion did not succeed. Before getting to the reasons, it is important to understand that this invasion was purposely organized by the United States government, which was and has been a capitalist state to subdue the growth and spread of Communism ideas in Cuba which were growing under the leadership of the Fidel Castro. The U.S C.I. A used the Cuban exiles to make the attack appear like a domestic revolution. As a capitalist state, the long-term goal of the United States action was to establish a non-communist government in Cuba that could be friendly to the States government. In the event of the Bay of Pigs failure, the efforts to stop Communist ideas from spreading over Cuba and Latin America failed as well. This has to date been a reason there exists a rift between the United States and the Latin (South) America. For instance, most of the Latin American countries are communists.

The first reason the invasion failed was the great misjudgment and assumptions by the Central Intelligence Agency regarding the level of resistance they expected to be met by Brigade 2506. The Agency did not expect that Castro was so equipped in terms of war strategy. It did not take into consideration the large communist armies that Fidel Castro had. For instance, 24 hours after the dawn of the invasion, Castro organized a counter-attack on the infidels. He ordered approximately 20,000 troops to attack from the beach while the Cuban Air Force continued to control the skies. Additionally, the United States through its CIA had spread what they believed to be enough propaganda to the Cubans concerning the communist ideas that Castro had planted into the minds of Cubans. Its assumption that these ideas had gotten the better part of the Cuban population was one mistake that the Agency did not anticipate could happen. To their displeasure, the Cubans decided to stick to their belief and confidence they had in their premier, Castro.

Another reason for the failure of the attack was the fear of being involved in other nations' affairs since the war between communists and capitalists was supposed to be a cold war. The then United States president, Kennedy did not put absolute efforts when enforcement and support teams were required by the invading group, something that caused their defeat (Burns & Gallimore, 2016). For instance, the CIA had painted the U.S World War II bombers to guise like Cuban Air Force jets to disguise the Cuban Radar. These planes, however, missed important targets leaving the Cuban Air strikers in control. At this moment, a rescue team was supposed to be sent. This was impossible because the photos released to the public by the news revealed the painted U.S planes. This put President Kennedy in a compromising situation, and he had to call off the already prepared air support team. This rendered the invasion mission impossible and over 100 invaders were killed, others were captured while the rest fled to the sea.

Another source of failure of the invasion was ignorance of the military advice and attack tactics that LeMay, an experienced commander had tried to bequeath the planning team. Right from the word go, LeMay saw the plan as impossible and one that would directly send the invading team to their graves. To him, 700 troops that were to be used in the attack were way too low compared to Castro's over 20,000 troops. Despite warning the president and the CIA team that the troops would need air support, the then-Defense secretary Robert McNamara and his team did not listen to LeMay. Furthermore, the planning team did not involve him in the planning yet he had all the expertise they needed to win the 'war' (Gardner, 2015). He had insisted that there are unforeseeable problems and unexpected situations in every war and the CIA, therefore, needed to plan for an alternative way to compensate for such problems. They did not, however, listen to him. They instead put all their hope in the military ground attacks and very little and inefficient effort to cover the air. In the end, everything went just as LeMay had predicted. They should have listened to him.

The actuality that the Cuban residents did not juncture with the invasion was another significant reason the invasion became an impossible mission scenario. The plan was that after the CIA spread propaganda about the communism that Castro wanted to bring to the people of Cuba, the civilians of Cuba would lose trust in Castro and turn against him. They would then join the invading group at the dawn of the invasion. The civilians did not accept the propaganda since they felt okay with what Castro had already done for them and they had believed in him. They, therefore, did not show up at the break of the attack. This was already a sign that the mission would be a failure.

Combining the inadequacy of the invasion plan, Castro's experience and determination to uphold his communist ideas and spread them made the invasion impossible from the start. Notably, the Bay of Pigs is a squelchy and marshy zone and given that it was the area where the planes were supposed to land, this was going to be hard for the troops thus it was an indication of a possible defeat. Also, the B-26s and Cuban T-33 trainer jets Sea Furies were ordered to take charge of the air (Grenier, 2019). The inefficient invading U.S B-26s could not match the incoming strikes from the fast Cuban T-33 jets and B-26s. Also, the sea was entirely controlled by the Cuban Sea Furies and control ships. The Cuban air force also responded quickly to sink and defeat the command vessels of the U.S invading team. By doing so, the invading forces were denied any additional supplies of food and water and the landing teams were suppressed. The result of this incidence was that the invaders had already lost the war in their minds. This was a demotivating fact and could not see them to the winning line.

There was also a problem with the ground command. The men on the ground could not issue direct commands because president Kennedy insisted that all the orders should come from him and if no, any command must be approved by him. They could not even make quick decisions in case of urgent needs. This put the fighter troop leaders in a mess. Military training requires that under some circumstances, a team commander may be allowed to make a decision contrary to their seniors' commands since they are the ones on the ground and are therefore able to judge the situations at hand. The fact that Kennedy did not allow any of such moves rendered the ground troops ineffective.

In connection with the above arguments, the invasion could not have been lost if President Kennedy and his CIA team had involved LeMay. He had the experience they could use to plan viable attack tactics which would make them victorious. Moreover, president Kennedy should have allowed the commanders on the ground to take full charge and make decisions. Additionally, the plan was a failure from inception. Again, comparing the 1500 troops that were trained (the rebels) to over 20,000 Cuban troops is crazy. Mathematically, that is an impossible ratio for the case of war. It is naturally impossible to have three people fight against 40 people and still win. The war was therefore lost right from the drawing board.


Burns, A., & Gallimore, R. (2016). Duplicated Debacles? A comparison of the 1895-96 Jameson Raid and the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion. Historian, (132), 22.Carroll, J. S. (2018). Bay of Pigs: How groupthink led to a military failure. The Business & Management Collection.

Gardner, D. W. (2015). Reexamining Joint Chiefs of Staff Involvement in the Bay of Pigs. ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States.

Grenier, Y. (2019). Cuba's Revolutionary World. By Jonathan C. Brown. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017. Pp. 600. $35.00 cloth. The Americas, 76(2), 375-377.

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