WI: No Bay of Pigs Invasion

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Amadeus, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    What if, instead of organizing a rag-tag group of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro, either Eisenhower or Kennedy recognizes the scheme won't work and they shut down the invasion plans? Would Castro still become a Communist and move into the Soviet sphere of influence? How would this POD impact the Vienna Summit between JFK and Khrushchev? Would the Cuban Missile Crisis, or a missile crisis of a similar kind, possibly still happen without the Bay of Pigs?
     
  2. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Except he was already there, but didn't boast about it.
     
  3. David T Well-Known Member

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    The merger of the old Communist Party (PSP) with the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) and the Revolutionary Directorate to form a single party, Marxist-Leninist in inspiration, was decided on before the Bay of Pigs, though only announced afterwards. (The new organization was first called the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations, then the Unified Party of the Socialist Revolution, then finally the Comunist Party; its initial secetary was Anibal Escalante of the PSP.) Indeed, this action had its precursor in the October 1960 creation of the Association of Revolutionary Youth (AJR) which combined the youth wings of the PSP, M-26-7 and Revolutionary Directorate. https://books.google.com/books?id=ADjFLkpt9I4C&pg=PA106 Anti-communism had already been declared counterrevolutionary by the end of 1959 and close relations with the USSR were established in 1960. The press was controlled, all talk of elections suppressed.

    So basically the foundations of Cuba as a Communist state were laid before the Bay of Pigs. It was on Apri 16, 1961--on the eve of the Bay of Pigs, not afterward--that Castro first proclaimed the revolution "socialist" https://books.google.com/books?id=2vdKDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA71 and while of course that word can mean many things, it was already clear that Castro had something like Soviet socialism in mind, even if he did not publicly proclaim himself a Marxist-Leninist until December 1961.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  4. Chapman Loyal Supporter of President Hoffa

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    There may be less justification for the placement of Soviet ballistic missiles on the island, but I get the feeling it would still happen regardless. In general, i'm not sure all that much changes. No failure *may* make JFK feel bold enough to try and invade the island outright when they discover the missiles, but i'm doubtful about that.
     
  5. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    If anything, the failure of the Bay of Pigs was an encouraging factor to invade Cuba. Many high-ranking figures in the political and military leadership of the time wanted revenge against Castro and saw an invasion of Cuba as the best way to rectify the failure of April 1961. Without the Bay of Pigs embarrassment there would be less of an itch to attack Cuba.

    That said, before the Bay of Pigs JFK was very easily bossed around by the military brass no matter if their views/proposals were wrong. He didn't think the Bay of Pigs was a very good idea, but went along with it anyway in part because the Joint Chiefs told him to. After the Bay of Pigs he was more willing to exercise independence as a leader and say no when he had to. The missile crisis was one of those times. Without the Bay of Pigs, JFK would be more likely to listen to the Joint Chiefs who were telling him to invade Cuba and risk nuclear war. Obviously MAD would still be a big factor in his decision making, and nuclear destruction is a very different circumstance than a small band of exiles making an expedition to Cuba. So invasion still wouldn't be JFK's first response but he'd be more willing to exercise it.

    In hindsight, the failure of the Bay of Pigs probably helped Kennedy. It made him a more mature and bold leader and prepared him for the intensity of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He became more cautious when taking military action, and made sure to listen to a variety of opinions and weight a variety of options before making an important decision.
     
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  6. Chapman Loyal Supporter of President Hoffa

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    I can see where you're coming from on that, but I disagree. I think the itch would still be there and it might be stronger among those in the political and military leadership. It would be a sort of "We told you so, and you didn't listen. Now look what happened." moment for them, and they'd likely push just as hard or harder as they did IOTL. I agree with your analysis on the Bay of Pigs in regards to how it impacted Kennedy's character, though, which is why I say no BoP may make him bold/foolish enough to invade.
     
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  7. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    I'll say that while Castro would be Communist with or without the Bay of Pigs, that failure gave Khruschev the impression that JFK was weak and a push over. This motivated him to take the risk of putting missiles in Cuba. Furthermore, after the invasion failure JFK doubled down on anti-Castro efforts and directed RFK to begin a covert sabotage campaign against Castro's regime. This became known as Operation Mongoose, and once it became known to the Soviets they feared another invasion was coming. So that served as a secondary factor in the decision to put in the missiles.

    Without the Bay of Pigs, which therefore means no Operation Mongoose, Khruschev is much less likely to put the missiles in Cuba. He also would go easier on Kennedy at Vienna. So the Cuban Missile Crisis is much less likely to happen at all.
     
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  8. Chapman Loyal Supporter of President Hoffa

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    Something else I just considered though - if there is no Bay of Pigs, and we assume that Kennedy sticks to the blockade idea during the Missile Crisis (or as you suggest, there is no Missile Crisis), meaning things go much the same without BoP, does Oswald still assassinate him? A large part of Oswald's early political involvement was protesting American treatment of/involvement with Cuba, no doubt partly inspired by the BoP. So if it doesn't happen, I wonder if Oswald still goes for it. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
     
  9. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    He would undoubtedly still try to kill General Edwin Walker, not a fan of Castro, that he made very clear on his speaking tour.