Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis


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  • In 1959, communist Fidel Castro came to rule in Cuba. Many Cubans became scared and fled for the United States.
  • During this time, John F. Kennedy was president of the U.S. He, too, feared Fidel Castro's ties to Russia, so Kennedy agreed to have the CIA train Cuban refugees who would eventually invade Cuba and throw out dictator Castro.
  • This invasion took place in Cuba at a place called the Bay of Pigs. It was a disaster; nothing worked right and America looked foolish.
  • Sensing a weakness in the United States, Russia's leader, Nikita Khrushchev, decided to do something bold. He decided to put nuclear missiles in Cuba and aim them at America's most important cities and military targets.
  • President Kennedy was scared. What should he do? One wrong move could cause another World War. After 13 days, Khrushchev finally agreed to take down his missiles in Cuba. Khrushchev accepted Kennedy's proposal for a test-ban (eliminating the testing of nuclear weapons)
  • Yet Kennedy's problems were not over; North Vietnam and South Vietnam were still fighting for power. North Vietnam sided with communist countries like China and Russia, so the United States backed South Vietnam to try and combat communism. Kennedy did this by sending "advisers" to train the South Vietnamese and by sending money and supplies. By 1963, the US was spending more than 1 1/2 million dollars a day in its efforts to stop communism and help South Vietnam.
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