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The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America’s Doomed Invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs

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New Releases. Description The American planned invasion of Cuba in remains one of the most ill-fated blunders the United States has ever committed - and still reverberates through American politics and policy today.

Despite the Kennedy Administration's initial insistence that the United States had nothing to do with the invasion, it soon became clear that the complex military operation had been planned and funded by the best and brightest minds in the highest reaches of the US Government. The invaders had been trained by CIA officers and supplied with American equipment, and the operation had been personally approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President of the United States. In its wake, the nation appeared stunningly inept, fantastically reckless and morally corrupt.

Now, journalist Jim Rasenberger, whose father was recruited to join the government's effort to bring home more than 1, men taken prisoner by Fidel Castro, takes a closer look at this dark incident in American history, illuminating what historian Theodore Draper called 'a perfect failure'.

The brilliant disaster : JFK, Castro, and America's doomed invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs

Eisenhower had first sanctioned the covert CIA operation in to topple Castro, who had nationalized American industries and strengthened ties with the Soviet Union after leading a revolution that ousted the pro-American military dictator Fulgencio Batista. When the plan, codenamed Operation Zapata, was presented to John F. Kennedy just weeks after he took the oath of office, the newly inaugurated president ultimately gave it his approval.

During the presidential campaign, Kennedy had repeatedly called for American intervention in Cuba. He beat up the Eisenhower administration for allowing Castro to come to power and not doing anything about it. Castro's soldiers at Playa de Giron in Cuba, after thwarting the ill-fated Bay of Pigs amphibious invasion. Even before the operation could be launched, however, Castro learned through his intelligence channels details of the American-backed plan. All he has to do is read our papers!

Although the invasion would lack the element of surprise, neither the CIA nor the White House called it off. Just hours after the initial strike on three Cuban airfields by the CIA-backed B bombers on April 15, the operation began to encounter problems.

Bay of Pigs & The Cuban Missile Crisis

They could not have a beachhead invasion if the ships could be sunk. Having failed to wipe out the Cuban air force, the operation encountered further difficulty when a planned ruse backfired. One of the bombers that took off from Nicaragua landed at Miami International Airport with its pilot claiming to be a Cuban air force defector.

The president responded on April 16 by cancelling a second round of bombings planned for the following day, which left Cuban air defenses intact for when the invasion force arrived in the Bay of Pigs the following morning.

All the Ways the Bay of Pigs Invasion Failed - HISTORY

An American plane that was shot down on Playa Giron by anti-aircraft batteries during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Things continued to go wrong as the American-backed fighting force attempted its amphibious landing under the cover of darkness. When studying reconnaissance photographs, CIA analysts had failed to spot coral reefs in the shallow waters of the Bay of Pigs that impeded the progress of landing craft and disabled a pair of boats.