Study Guide

John F. Kennedy Bay of Pigs

Bay of Pigs

In the spring of 1960, almost a year before Jack was sworn into office, President Eisenhower approved a CIA plan to secretly train anticommunist Cuban exiles to launch an invasion to overthrow Fidel Castro's government in Cuba. A mere two days after his inauguration, JFK was briefed on the plan. The CIA was anxious to take swift action in Cuba, fearing the rise of a dangerous communist regime only ninety miles from American soil, and urged Jack to authorize an invasion. Kennedy was ambivalent: while a successful invasion would topple Castro's anti-American government, a failed mission could be disastrous for Kennedy's image, both at home and abroad. After the CIA assured Jack that the "invasion force could be expected to achieve success," and that the United States would be only minimally implicated in the operation, Jack authorized the plans to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.blank">Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's orbit of the earth in 1961, Kennedy felt great pressure to compete with the Russians in exploring space, the final frontier. He believed that a successful space program—most importantly, a program that would allow the United States to become the first country to put a man on the moon—would increase America's power and prestige in the world (he was right, by the way).

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