The Cuban Missile Crisis: The Failure of the Bay of Pigs

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The Cuban Missile Crisis: JFK’s Second Shot at Cuba
Although some historians have blamed Soviet aggression as the root cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis, they have neglected to account for the disruption in U.S.-Cuba relations caused by the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion which President John F. Kennedy had directed. The failure of the Bay of Pigs can be attributed to Kennedy’s overconfidence in the military even though the CIA knew American forces would be devastatingly outnumbered. So when Kennedy had received news of the Soviet missiles build up in Cuba during the October of 1962, the crisis was just a continuation of unresolved conflict. Fearing a nuclear war, the Kennedy Administration cautiously deliberated about possible approaches. The U.S. considered an air strike, an invasion, or a naval quarantine as an appropriate response to this crisis. Although the members of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm) initially considered decisive military action, Kennedy, reflecting upon his executive decisions in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, decided against military aggression. Even if the invasion had sparked U.S.-Cuba hostility, it was critical in convincing Kennedy that relying on the military and top CIA officials were not always effective ways to deal with conflicts. The lessons learned from the Bay of Pigs Invasion saved the U.S. from crisis by influencing President Kennedy to consider military combat, aggression that would have escalated to nuclear war, as the last resort in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Even if the Bay of Pigs was a disaster because Kennedy didn’t account for the possibility of failure, the aftermaths heavily influenced his administration to utilize military combat as a last resort in...

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...e learned from the Bay of Pigs disaster. Unfortunately, Kennedy was pressured by top CIA officials into approving of a plan that was doomed to fail from the start. And to make matters worse, Kennedy’s lack of planning for the possibility of failure further doomed the exiles when he didn’t provide any backup aid. After losing foreign credibility among Latin America, the Kennedy Administration continued secret operations in hopes of justifying itself. So when Soviet missiles were discovered on October 16, Kennedy was by far more experienced then he had been a year ago. He realized the importance of preventing a nuclear war and made executive decision to negotiate rather than initiate military conflict. Ironically, the Cuban Missile Crisis would never have happened if Kennedy hadn’t executed the Bay of Pigs Invasion. But Kennedy did get a second shot at Cuba after all.
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