1961 – The Bay of Pigs Invasion fails

In the early hours of April 17, 1961, a combined force of Cuban expatriates and American military advisors landed at Playa Girón, a beach in the Bay of Pigs. They were outgunned almost at once, and approximately 80% of the invading force was captured by the Cuban military.

In many ways, it seems to modern eyes that the Bay of Pigs was a dry run for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In both cases, the invading force was under-resourced, acting on faulty intelligence guided more by ideology than information, and relying on a sympathetic uprising that never eventuated.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco marked the last overt attempt by the USA to deal with the clear and present danger that Castro’s Cuba apparently posed to the American way of life. Fifty years of more or less peaceful coexistence later, it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about.

Referenced in:

We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel