If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:13:42
AP.USH:
KC‑8.1.I.E (KC)
,
Unit 8: Learning Objective H
,
WOR (Theme)

Video transcript

before jumping into the details of the Bay of Pigs invasion I want to make sure we understand the environment in Cuba and the United States leading up to the invasion so going into the late 1950s Cuba was controlled by this guy right over here Batista and he was a dictator that was supported by the United States and just to give a sense of what he was like here's a quote from John F Kennedy in 1963 so this is after he's already had a hall you know the Bay of Pigs has happened the Cuban Missile Crisis has happened he is not a big fan of Fidel Castro but with that said in hindsight JFK did say this and this is I think a pretty objective assessment of what Batista was like as the dictator of Cuba this is John F Kennedy saying this I believe there's no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination where economic colonization humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba in part owing to my country's policies during the Batista regime to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States now we shall have to pay for those sins so even John F Kennedy in hindsight is saying that Batista really was not was really not the best person and it really was not a good idea for the United States to support such a corrupt a dictator for so long in Cuba and this is Batista right over here riding with some US generals in a parade when he visited DC so you can imagine he was not a popular person in control of Cuba and in 15 1959 you have a successful revolution against him 1959 there is a revolution and the revolution is led by this character Fidel Castro Fidel Castro and his kind of number two his right hand his right hand men are Raul Castro and Che Guevara right over here and they take control of Cuba they're part of this nationalist revolutionary movement now the one thing they do Lou and they are left Lee leaning from the beginning people assume that they are maybe communist or quasi communist but even from the get-go as soon as they stake power they start taking over lands that were owned by well one that was private property private Cuban property some of it that was United States property their argument would probably been that this was this was wealth that this was private property that was that was that was ill-gotten that was gotten in the time of Batista but they they did on a broad sweep so they took over a lot of private land a lot of private property which also led to people thinking that hey you know this is not just a nationalist revolution this is also a communist revolution but you could also imagine that once they take over there's this huge there's this huge migration of Cubans to the United States and they're there and it's primarily a middle class upper middle class Cubans educated Cubans who are really afraid of what Fidel Castro is doing in terms of in terms of taking over a private land taking people's property so you have you start having this this Cuban exile community really focused around Florida and - and mainly Miami and they're still there and they're very unhappy with this Fidel Castro character right over here so when we fast forward into 1961 John F Kennedy becomes bright he gets elected in 1960 becomes president in early 1961 we're now fast-forwarding to April 1961 so John F Kennedy has only been president for a few months but you can imagine on a lot of levels you have all of these Cuban exiles upper-middle class educated middle class Cuban exiles who hate Fidel Castro he's taking over their land he's turning it into a it looks like a leftist state you have this is all happening within the context of the Cold War the United States is afraid of countries falling to communism it looks like Fidel Castro is a communist so the United States besides the fact that you have all of these exiles who want to Austin the United States probably wants to oust him just because he's a communist and they're they're afraid that he's going to align himself with the soviet union so in conjunction with these with the cuban exiles and CIA and this right here is the director of Central Intelligence during the Kennedy administration or at least the beginning part of the Kennedy administration this is Alan Allen Dulles his brother is John Foster Dulles when the Dulles Airport is named after and he was a US Secretary of State they decide that they want to oust Fidel Castro but they want to do it in a way they wanted to do in a way that the United States does not look like it's the one doing the invasion so what they do is they plan an invasion where they'll take Cuban exiles and they get 1,400 1,400 men to sign up so 1,400 exiled Cubans exile Cubans to sign up to be kind of part of this CIA backed us us-backed force to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro and a lot of this was based on the premise and you can imagine this and this even happened in the Iraq war where the CIA the the American president they kind of surround themselves with people who tell them who won give them a very optimistic scenario a very hopeful scenario telling them look we represent what the rest of the Cuban people want where they'll say look if we just start a revolution Fidel Castro will be overthrown the reality that came out at least at that point in time in the early 1960s Fidel Castro was actually pretty popular with the Cuban people and you could imagine he was at that time pretty popular with the poor people who did not have land and now all of a sudden you you have this this I guess you could call him you know leader for the people and I'm and and I'm not I don't know about his popularity now but at that point he was probably a lot more popular than the exiles and the CIA would have had Kennedy believe and so they planned this attack and he says oh if we can get rid of if we can get rid of Fidel Castro then that D risks the possibility of having this this communist nation right off of the Florida coast so they planned this invasion and you know it's it's shady to begin with because they didn't wanted to make it look like an official US invasion they wanted to make it look like it was a pure a Cuban counter-revolutionary and to some degree that really kind of mixed up everything and made it look well and it really was suspect because you're they really were doing something that was not not what it what it really was but the invasion the way it all worked out is that by April 15th on April 15th and this is just going into the details of the age so they had the fourteen hundred exiles they had some some some ships some some planes they marked them they either removed the markings so that it didn't look like they were American ships or planes or they put markings they put false markings of the Cuban military so that it would look so it would cause some confusion or whatever and so on April 15th 1961 and remember this is only a few months into Kennedy's administration you start they start air attacks and these air attacks launched from Nicaragua and they go to they go to Cuba and the whole point of these air attacks are to kind of soften the Cuban Air Force for an eventual invasion by the 1,400 exiles and so they have you have eight aircraft eight bombers leading the leaving nicaragua they bomb they bomb Cuba at a base outside of Havana and and a base near the South actually not too far from card Guantanamo Bay and the point and and their their goal was to destroy the Cuban Air Force it turns out they didn't do it and once again they did it to kind of cause confusion they did it under markings not of u.s. bombers but they put Cuban Air Force markings on the planes to cause confusion you had eight planes going and try and doing the bombings one of them gets shot down and a ninth plane actually leaves from Nicaragua and they falsely put bullet holes in it to look like it was hit with anti-aircraft guns and and had it defect to Florida so I guess the idea behind this was to make it look like there's a Cuban pilot who takes off from Cuba or somehow gets out of Cuba with a Cuban plane that's that's why they put the markings there and then tries to destroy a bunch of a Cuban aircraft and then defects the United States that's the impression that they wanted to convey it's not so clear that the the Cubans actually fell for it and so that happened in 1961 most everyone kind of saw this as a US attack or at least said they thought viewed it is u.s. attack and then you fast forward to the night of April 16th which I haven't written over here April 16th this whole time everyone was expecting a US attack and this is one of the things that it all gets you know this this would it all leads to the fact this was not a well a well orchestrated series of events is that it's pretty well established that some of these exiles you know we're just not as tight-lipped as they should have been about the invasion it got out it got to it got to Soviet intelligence the Cubans knew that an invasion was imminent so on April 16th you have kind of a false attack a decoy attack at via Honda right over here what's really just a bunch of decoy boats with loudspeakers on him that made it'll sound like they were firing and to cause confusion and it did temporarily cause Castro to look in that direction because they were so they were kind of on hair-trigger notice expecting an imminent invasion but that wasn't the real one this was on the evening of April 16th but then when you go to the early morning of April 17th you have the real invasion where you have the 1400 where you have the 1,400 Cuban exiles with CIA and US military support but all of that was hidden to actually invade at the Bay of Pigs and this right here is the Bay of Pigs and to make a long story short it was kind of a it that the invasion did not go well and it has been blamed on bad planning on on incompetence on some parts of the invasion if the invasion lasted from April 17th this was the first day of the invasion but but by April 19th essentially the invading force the counter-revolutionary force the the 1,400 Cuban exiles had been pushed back to the beaches and for the most part about a hunt a little over a hundred of them were killed and most of them over a thousand of them were captured so over over 1,000 captured and then later on in the year Fidel Castro and some were executed after being captured but later on in the year Fidel Castro makes a deal with the United States where he hands over the captured exiles the United States in exchange for 58mm dollars in aid and supplies and all the rest so this at least from a military point of view was a was a complete debacle from the United States point of view and when you you know you could imagine after this happened people in the United States started pointing figures you have the CIA and this is Allen Dulles right here and the exiles blaming the Kennedy administration saying that look he wasn't willing to do what it takes to actually do a proper invasion he wasn't willing to provide the proper air support once the invasion started happening he wasn't willing to commit more US troops once the invasion started looking like it wasn't going in the direction of the Exiles kennedy on the other hand blames the CIA he says look this was this was just done this was planned incompetently and he also says that you gave me all sorts of misinformation you told me that once the invasion started that there was there was all sorts of resentment against Fidel Castro and it would cause this broader uprising which never ever happened and so this is actually a quote from John F Kennedy that he said after the Bay of Pigs invasion the first advice I'm going to give my successors to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that because they were military men their opinions on military matters were worth a damn this is John F Kennedy saying this after the Bay of Pigs invasion now you can dig deeper and figure out who probably was in the right here but the bottom line is is that it led to all I guess all-round negative consequences for the United States after this after this it kind of strengthened Fidel Castro's hold on Cuba he was like hey that was the United States best shot huge embarrassment for them it allowed him to concentrate his control it also caused him to now become very openly communist and also he was now before the Bay of Pigs invasion he was kind of trying to get the the u.s. to someone like him although they wouldn't like him because he was taking over private property and and and he was clearly left-leaning but after the Bay of Pigs invasion he definitely aligned himself closely with the Soviet Union so you know he became much more open about being a Marxist Leninist communist state and because he was afraid of future u.s. invasions he he was open to what eventually leads to the Cuban Missile Crisis which is the Soviet Union actually placing actually placing ballistic missiles nuclear with nuclear warheads in Cuba at short range the United States so it set up this whole series of events that really didn't work in in the US his favor