Posts Tagged ‘Bay of Pigs

17
Apr
09

On This Day, April 17: The Bay of Pigs

April 17, 1961

The Bay of Pigs invasion begins

The Bay of Pigs invasion begins when a CIA-financed and -trained group of Cuban refugees lands in Cuba and attempts to topple the communist government of Fidel Castro. The attack was an utter failure.

Fidel Castro had been a concern to U.S. policymakers since he seized power in Cuba with a revolution in January 1959. Castro’s attacks on U.S. companies and interests in Cuba, his inflammatory anti-American rhetoric, and Cuba’s movement toward a closer relationship with the Soviet Union led U.S. officials to conclude that the Cuban leader was a threat to U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere. In March 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the CIA to train and arm a force of Cuban exiles for an armed attack on Cuba. John F. Kennedy inherited this program when he became president in 1961.

Though many of his military advisors indicated that an amphibious assault on Cuba by a group of lightly armed exiles had little chance for success, Kennedy gave the go-ahead for the attack. On April 17, 1961, around 1,200 exiles, armed with American weapons and using American landing craft, waded ashore at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. The hope was that the exile force would serve as a rallying point for the Cuban citizenry, who would rise up and overthrow Castro’s government. The plan immediately fell apart–the landing force met with unexpectedly rapid counterattacks from Castro’s military, the tiny Cuban air force sank most of the exiles’ supply ships, the United States refrained from providing necessary air support, and the expected uprising never happened. Over 100 of the attackers were killed, and more than 1,100 were captured.

The failure at the Bay of Pigs cost the United States dearly. Castro used the attack by the “Yankee imperialists” to solidify his power in Cuba and he requested additional Soviet military aid. Eventually that aid included missiles, and the construction of missile bases in Cuba sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, when the United States and the Soviet Union nearly came to blows over the issue. Further, throughout much of Latin America, the United States was pilloried for its use of armed force in trying to unseat Castro, a man who was considered a hero to many for his stance against U.S. interference and imperialism. Kennedy tried to redeem himself by publicly accepting blame for the attack and its subsequent failure, but the botched mission left the young president looking vulnerable and indecisive.

“The Bay of Pigs invasion begins,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2640 [accessed Apr 17, 2009]

On This Day

1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

1524 – New York Harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano.

1758 – Frances Williams published a collection of Latin poems. He was the first African-American to graduate from a college in the western hemisphere.

1861 – Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union.

1865 – Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.

1895 – China and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was the end of the first Sino-Japanese War. In the treaty China ceded Taiwan to Japan.

1941 – Igor Sikorsky accomplished the first successful helicopter lift-off from water near Stratford, CT.

1969 – In Los Angeles, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

1970 – Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely after an on-board accident with an oxygen tank.

1975 – Khmer Rouge forces capture the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. It was the end of the five-year war.

1983 – In Warsaw, police routed 1,000 Solidarity supporters.

1989 – In Poland, courts gave Solidarity legal status.

April 17, 1969

Architect of Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring resigns

Alexander Dubcek, the communist leader who launched a broad program of liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia, is forced to resign as first secretary by the Soviet forces occupying his country. The staunchly pro-Soviet Gustav Husak was appointed Czechoslovak leader in his place, reestablishing an authoritarian communist dictatorship in the Soviet satellite state.

The trend toward liberalization in Czechoslovakia began in 1963, and in 1968 reached its apex after Dubcek replaced Antonin Novotny as first secretary of the party. He introduced a series of far-reaching political and economic reforms, including increased freedom of speech and an end to state censorship. Dubcek’s effort to establish “communism with a human face” was celebrated across the country and the brief period of freedom became known as the “Prague Spring.”

On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union answered Dubcek’s reforms with the invasion of Czechoslovakia by 600,000 Warsaw Pact troops. Prague was not eager to give way, but scattered student resistance was no match for Soviet tanks. Dubcek’s reforms were repealed, and the leader was replaced with the staunchly pro-Soviet Gustav Husak, who reestablished an authoritarian communist regime in the country.

In 1989, as communist governments folded across Eastern Europe, Prague again became the scene of demonstrations for democratic reforms. In December 1989, Husak’s government conceded to demands for a multiparty parliament. Husak resigned, and for the first time in two decades Dubcek returned to politics as chairman of the new parliament, which subsequently elected playwright Vaclav Havel as president of Czechoslovakia. Havel had come to fame during the Prague Spring, and after the Soviet crackdown his plays were banned and his passport confiscated.

“Architect of Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring resigns,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4928 [accessed Apr 17, 2009]

Advertisements
24
Apr
08

On This Day, 04-24-08: With Us or Agin Us

Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster

On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

“Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4948.

1519 – Envoys of Montezuma II attended the first Easter mass in Central America.

1547 – Charles V’s troops defeated the Protestant League of Schmalkalden at the battle of Muhlburg.

1800 – The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation.

1877 – Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1884 – Otto von Bismarck cabled Cape Town that South Africa was now a German colony.

1898 – Spain declared war on the U.S., rejecting America’s ultimatum for Spain to withdraw from Cuba.

1915 – During World War I, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began the mass deportation of Armenians.

1916 – Irish nationalist launched the Easter Rebellion against British occupation forces. They were overtaken several days later.

1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city.

1961 – U.S. President Kennedy accepted “sole responsibility” following Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

1968 – Leftist students took over several campus buildings at Columbia University.

1970 – The People’s Republic of China launched its first satellite.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer was introduced.

1989 – Thousands of students began striking in Beijing.

1990 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.

1997 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. The global treaty banned the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

 

General Orders No. 100 issued

The Union army issues General Orders No. 100, which provided a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was borrowed by many European nations, and its influence can be seen on the Geneva Convention.

The orders were the brainchild of Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whose three sons had served during the Civil War. One son was mortally wounded while fighting for the Confederacy at the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1862. Lieber’s other two sons fought for the Union. Lieber was a scholar of international law who took a keen interest in the treatment of combatants and civilians. He wrote many essays and newspaper articles on the subject early in the war, and he advised General Henry Halleck, general-in-chief of the Union armies, on how to treat guerilla fighters captured by Federal forces.

Halleck appointed a committee of four generals and Lieber to draft rules of combat for the Civil War. The final document consisted of 157 articles written almost entirely by Lieber. The orders established policies for, among other things, the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, and flags of truce. There was no document like it in the world at the time, and other countries soon adopted the code. It became the standard for international military law, and the Germans adopted it by 1870. Lieber’s concepts are still very influential today.

“General Orders No. 100 issued.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2183.

The Bandung Conference concludes

The Afro-Asian Conference–popularly known as the Bandung Conference because it was held in Bandung, Indonesia–comes to a close on this day. During the conference, representatives from 29 “non-aligned” nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East met to condemn colonialism, decry racism, and express their reservations about the growing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The United States government was generally appalled by the Bandung Conference. Although invited to do so, it refused to send an unofficial observer to the meetings. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was already on record as equating neutralism in the fight against communism as close to a mortal sin. For the United States, the issue was black and white: join America in the fight against communism or risk being considered a potential enemy. This unfortunate policy brought the United States into numerous conflicts with nations of the underdeveloped world who were struggling to find a middle road in the Cold War conflict.

“The Bandung Conference concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2647.

Westmoreland makes controversial remarks

At a news conference in Washington, Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, causes controversy by saying that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.” Though he said that, “Ninety-five percent of the people were behind the United States effort in Vietnam,” he asserted that the American soldiers in Vietnam were “dismayed, and so am I, by recent unpatriotic acts at home.” This criticism of the antiwar movement was not received well by many in and out of the antiwar movement, who believed it was both their right and responsibility to speak out against the war.

“Westmoreland makes controversial remarks.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1803.

4037

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm




October 2019
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers

Advertisements