Overview Of The Bay Of Pigs Invasion

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The Bay of Pigs invasion is one of the largest foreign policy blunders in United States history, but did this event help shape the great legacy of President John F. Kennedy? The disaster which toke place on the Cuban shore in 1961 helped change JFK’s approach to foreign policy and ultimately helped shape the world existing today. President John F. Kennedy began his presidential regime with a very strong stance on foreign policy. In his inaugural address, JFK proclaims, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty” (US State Department). This quote, although overwhelmingly directed towards the …show more content…
Immediately after the failed invasion, President Kennedy took full responsibility. JFK made a statement following the invasion, where he mentioned, “There’s an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan, I’m the responsible officer of the government – and that is quite obvious” (Parmet 1983, 157). Although this quote shows the president bearing the full burden of the mission, the Bay of Pigs failure would induce great reform within the organization. Parmet (1983, 158) later mentions in his work, “ No Cuba Study group was needed to tell him [JFK] about the collective responsibility. The CIA had been wrong. The military had been wrong. He later responded by shifting personnel.” JFK took responsibility for what had taken place in Cuba, but he was not about to go down alone. In JFK’s eyes, the CIA was to blame for the catastrophe in Cuba and he would make his voice heard. “It’s a hell of a way to learn things”, JFK mentioned, “but I have learned one thing – that is, that we will have to deal with the CIA” (Hilsman 1967, 63). The first order of business for JFK was to restructure the CIA and make sure an event like this never happened again. The first two casualties within the Kennedy administration would be the director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and CIA agent Richard Bissell. Hilsman …show more content…
President Kennedy’s initial response to the disaster was to elevate his brother’s [Bobby Kennedy] position. Kennedy mentions, “I probably made a mistake in keeping Allen Dulles on. I made a mistake in putting Bobby in the Justice department. He is wasted there. Bobby should be in the CIA” (Matthews 2011, 336). Bobby Kennedy would not take over the CIA, but following the disaster his responsibilities would become much larger and he would play a wider role in deliberations. The escalation in Cuba would ultimately grant Bobby more pull when it came to the President’s decision and would impact further foreign policy decisions. Aside from Bobby’s rise in seniority, John A. McCone would succeed as director of the CIA and would ring in an era of change. Immediately following his induction, the president “ordered a drastic and urgent reduction in the number of CIA men overseas in the most visible positions” (Hilsman 1967, 80). JFK was attempting to completely restructure the Central Intelligence Agency and was wasting no time when it came to revamping his staff. He is quoted saying, “ I want to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the wind” (US Department). Although JFK could never completely dismantle the CIA, he did attempt to limit their capabilities. An example of the change JFK implemented can

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