The (1961) Bay of Pigs Invasion Explained: Was JFK Misled by the CIA?
The (1961) Bay of Pigs Invasion Explained: Was JFK Misled by the CIA? – This documentary will explain the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 in Cuba, detailing the role played by John F. Kennedy’s intelligence advisors from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other agencies in the incident.
The Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 is one of the most notorious events in American history, with the word fiasco often associated with the incident given its unsuccessful conclusion for America. Yet what factors explain why the Bay of Pigs invasion became such a failure? Before we proceed further however, a little background on the rise of Fidel Castro in Cuba is needed. In 1959, Castro came to power after ousting the US-backed dictatorship of President Fulgencia Batista, bringing to an end the Cuban revolution. After losing control of Cuba, and with Cuba aligning closer to the Soviet Union, the US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, instructed the CIA in March 1960 to begin planning for the invasion of Cuba and the ousting of Castro.
The CIA then initiated the core operation that later became the Bay of Pigs invasion force of April 1961, when they began financing and training exiled counter-revolutionary Cubans, who would be known as Brigade 2506. By early 1961 however, there was a change in US leadership, as John F. Kennedy won the November 1960 presidential election and was inaugurated in January 1961. After learning of the CIA operation, JFK approved the continuation of the enterprise after consulting with his advisers, albeit somewhat skeptically.
On April the 17th, the Bay of Pigs Invasion began. Brigade pilots took off to offer some patchy aircover to the forces below, as approximately 1,500 members of the CIA trained and financed brigade stormed the beach. When the brigade ran into resistance and requested further air support, JFK only sanctioned a limited air response, in line with the limits he had set on the mission prior to it going live, with this proving ineffective at turning the tide. Within only a couple of days of fighting, the Cuban forces under Castro’s direct command defeated the brigade.
One of the most popular explanations for why the Bay of Pigs invasion was such a failure is groupthink. Yet this isn’t the full story. Groupthink may provide some insights, but this is not a complete explanation. Writings from the Head of the CIA during the Bay of Pigs invasion, Allen W. Dulles, show that Dulles and other top intelligence advisers to JFK didn’t withhold raising criticisms to the invasion plan because of groupthink, but because they were so hell-bent on carrying out the operation that they deliberately withheld giving the President their honest advice. After publicly taking responsibility for the failed operation, JFK told Dulles to resign from his position as CIA director, with Dulles resigning in November of 1961.
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