Cold War: The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1961-1962
Description: In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba after he and his band of guerillas overthrew the government of President General Fulgencio Batista. The U.S. began efforts to topple the Castro regime after the island nation expropriated U.S. economic assets in Cuba and developed close ties with the Soviet Union. On April 17, 1961, U.S. president John F. Kennedy authorized a force of 1,500 U.S.-trained guerrilla troops to land on the beaches in southern Cuba to overthrow Castro. The effort, known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, failed. The following year, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev reached a secret agreement with Castro to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. U.S. intelligence discovered the presence of the Soviet arms buildup on Cuba, resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13-day standoff between the two Cold War superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union agreed on October 28, 1962, to remove its missiles from Cuba after the U.S. promised to remove its missiles from Turkey. The Cuban Missile Crisis is said to be the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear conflict. Through Central Intelligence Agency records housed in this collection, one can explore the history of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961-1962 to gain insights regarding the nuclear showdown between the superpowers of the Cold War.