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The Bay of Pigs invasion was one of the most controversial political decisions that John F. Kennedy had to make. Unfortunately for him, it took place in his first months as president, so he was not fully aware of certain aspects of Eisenhower’s administration. In general the Bay of Pigs, previously known as the “Trinidad Plan” (Bates & Rosenbloom, 48), was a way for the United States to help free the people of communist Cuba from their leader, Fidel Castro. Through many misunderstandings and miscalculations, however, Kennedy’s primary goals were not met.
Kennedy was a smart man who listened to what others had to say before finalizing any “go ahead” in the Bay of Pigs. Even prior to his inauguration, Kennedy would listen to what Eisenhower’s administration had to say without giving any hints as to what he was thinking (Bates & Rosenbloom, 47). Eisenhower and Kennedy both held the same goals when it came to Cuba—to stop the spread of communism while maintaining the reputation of the United States. Although this was his main objective, there were many other underlying goals that overwhelmed his decision in the Bay of Pigs Plan. Most notably, he wanted to please everyone. As Kennedy heard more and more peoples’ opinions, he would sway from one side to another—never taking a definitive stand. It became difficult, understandably so, for him not to listen to such legends as Dulles and his constant comparison to Eisenhower (Bates & Rosenbloom, 52). Once Kennedy got over this and was beginning to make his own stance, more information became available to him. Unfortunately, this information was misleading. For example, no one told him or his advisers that the Bay of Pigs landing site was surrounded by swamps, not mountains, so there was no where to hide if something went terribly wrong (Bates & Rosenbloom, 51). Using this information, Kennedy soon began to change his mind again, and had more confidence in this new plan created by the C.I.A.
In the end, however, there was no pleasing everyone and Kennedy himself was upset with the decision he made to give the go ahead that harmed the United States’ credibility.
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