The Bay of Pigs was a failed invasion of Cuba, under President John F. Kennedy. It was launched on April 17, 1969.

The plan was that Cuban exiles living in America would attack Cuba through flight, water, and guerrilla warfare. Ideally, this would lead to widespread support of the Americans and would eventually lead to the downfall of Fidel Castro and communism in general. Castro was a Cuban soldier who had come to power in 1959 after a coup, and he soon began propagating communism through Cuba. This was a threat to the United States because some believed that the communists would launch an offensive against the United States. It is important to know that at this time, the United States was also involved in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

The Bay of Pigs invasion was initially approved by President Dwight Eisenhower, and reviewed and again approved by Kennedy. The plan was that disguised American planes would bomb the mainland, followed by attacks by sea. A ground force was also organized. In total, about 1, 400 soldiers would be deployed. However, the invasion was severely hampered by bad weather, inexperience, and poor tactics. It was also undermined by the widespread press coverage, depite efforts to keep the attack covert. About a day after initial American attacks, Castro responded by launching 20,000 troops and beating back the U.S. forces. This essentially ended the American efforts, and resulted in approximately 100 killed and a number of prisoners. The captured were returned 20 months after the invasion, in return for $53 million worth of baby food and medicine.

The Bay of Pigs was a black mark on the Kennedy administration. Its failure inspired another undercover operation, Operation Mongoose, which provided no positive results. To this day, relations between the United States and Cuba are rather unfriendly, and while Fidel Castro is no longer president, his brother Raul is. American planes are forbidden from landing on Cuban soil, and the U.S. only recently lifted a provision that forbid family travels between it and Cuba. An embargo against Cuban goods is still in effect.

You can read more about the Bay of Pigs here.

You can read more about U.S./Cuba relations here.