Bay of Pigs: Historiography Essay
On April, 17, 1961 the Bay of Pigs, the biggest foreign affairs disaster in U. S. history, occurred. At first the operation was supported but as the years went by the feelings of it changed, showing mostly in the policy changes of the some of the presidents over the next 49 years. June 24 1961 reporter Stewart Alsop published an article in the Saturday Evening Post titled “The Lessons of the Cuban Disaster. ” In this article Alsop describes what happened at the Bay of Pigs and why though it supported at the operations launch, and how such a short time later it was viewed as a disaster.
Alsop explains how he interviewed several officials in Washington and how they supported the operations at its conception but in hindsight view the operation as a failure. These officials in turn told the Alsop that there are several key lessons to learn from this debacle. One such is stated in the article as “The men responsible for mounting a major covert operation like the Cuban landings must not also be responsible for judging the operation’s chance of success or failure”(Alsop p. 27).
Alsop wrote this article in the wake of the Bay of Pigs, he views the operation the same as though he interviewed, necessary at the time but in hindsight a failure. In this article he goes over how some of the top officials in Washington admit that they supported it in the beginning. , but in the end deemed it a failure. In this article “Beyond the Bay of Pigs” published by Peter Kornbluh in The Nation on April 27, 1998, Kornbluh discusses his views on how the military’s opinion of the crisis changed and now does not view Cuba as a threat.
Within this article he discusses several points on why these views have changed as well as points out some of the mistakes that were made during this time. One of these mistakes quoted as “the loss of the operations covert nature back to November 1960-the month that this magazine ran the first published account of C. I. A preparations for the invasion” (Kornbluh 25) was one of the main reasons for the failure of the operation. This article was written from a 37-year perspective from the occurrence.
In fact, the military view of the operation is different than what it had been. The military no longer considers Cuba a threat and looks back on the Bay of Pigs as an operation that should not have happened. Also within this article many different points on the mistakes that were made are presented, such as the failure to inform President Kennedy that the operation had lost its covert status or that for more than three months before the invasion, the operation was being publicized.
Examples of how the views of Cuba were changing were evident in the policies that President Clinton enacted at this time in the name of Cuba and U. S. Relations. This article is a great example of how the views on Cuban relations changed due to the public and military view that Cuba is no longer a threat and the policy and views can continue to years after the event occurred. “1961: The Bay of Pigs Invasion” was first published by Anthony Depalma in The New York Times Upfront in 2011.
In this article Depalma talks about the events leading up to and to include the Bay of Pigs as well as the point of views following. Depalma speaks of how Eisenhower ordered an embargo and how it was later strengthened by Kennedy. He later talks about how, in 2009, President Obama lifted some of the restrictions making it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit their family. He explains how experts like Professor Henken believe that however many opening are presented to Castro and Cub, Castro will never take advantage of them.
Depalma talks to us about the changes in view from 1961 to 2011. He recounts the action leading up to and including the event, as he does this he explains how Cuba is no longer viewed as a threat and that the Bay of Pigs is viewed as the biggest foreign disaster in U. S. history. He goes into how the as the views have changed so has the policies have changed as well. Citing an example of Obama lifting some of the restrictions placed on Cuban citizens. This is a good example of how the views of the public and ilitary cam help influence presidential views as well. These three articles are a realistic timeline to present the change in policy and American Views of this incident. They show how at the operations occurrence American’s viewed it as necessary even though some mistakes were made. And how so many years later Americans view it as one of the biggest foreign policy disasters in U. S. history; in the end these articles slightly changed my views and I hope you have found this informative.