On April 17, 1961, 1400 Cuban exiles launched what became a botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba.
The Cuban-exile invasion force, known as Brigade 2506, landed at beaches along the Bay of Pigs and immediately came under heavy fire.
Cuban planes strafed the invaders, sank two escort ships, and destroyed half of the exile’s air support. Bad weather hampered the ground force, which had to work with soggy equipment and insufficient ammunition. Read More
The declassified Top Secret pages shown here are from the Cuba Security Folder, 1961. It contains material collected by the office of President John F. Kennedy’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, concerning Cuba. All 124 pages can be viewed in the digital archive from the JFK Library.
RFK Records Related to the Cuban Missile Crisis Released
The National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum are releasing more than 2,700 pages from the Robert F. Kennedy Papers, including documents relating primarily to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The materials were accumulated by RFK in his capacity as both Attorney General and advisor to President Kennedy.
The files relate to matters that ordinarily do not come under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General or the Justice Department. They include memos, correspondence, reports, notes from Executive Committee meetings, as well as CIA and State Department telegrams and cables chiefly related to the United States relationship with Cuba during the years 1961 to 1963 – a time which included the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The records will be available in the Research Room at the JFK Library in Boston and you can explore them here.
Did you know that 90% of Ernest Hemingway’s existing manuscript materials are in the archives of the Kennedy Library?
Today, The Kennedy Library announced the opening of fifteen letters written by Ernest Hemingway to his close friend Gianfranco Ivancich. Hemingway met Ivancich and his sister, Adriana, who became the author’s muse, while visiting Venice in 1949.
Learn more about the letters, which feature Hemingway’s life in Cuba and his travels around the world.
This portrait is of Ernest Hemingway at his Cuban home, the Finca Vigia in 1947.
This letter was written by Fidel Castro at the age of 12. Castro wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt introducing himself and asking if the President would send him a $10 bill because he had never seen one before. November 6, 1940.
Day 6 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 21, 1962. Soviet freighters turn and head back to Europe. The Bucharest, carrying only petroleum products, is allowed through the quarantine line. U.N. Secretary General U Thant calls for a cooling off period, which is rejected by Kennedy because it would leave the missiles in place.
Pictured, the day book of Evelyn Lincoln, the president’s personal secretary, shows JFK’s frenetic schedule of meetings, phone calls and conversations.
Day 5 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 20, 1962
President Kennedy, in Chicago campaigning for congressional candidates, decides to return to the White House as the crisis reaches a new urgency. After five hours of discussion with top advisors, a quarantine is decided upon.
To avoid public suspicion the president consults his physician and together they fabricate the diagnosis of a cold, allowing JFK to return to Washington without arousing panic.
Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work begins on a speech to notify the American people.
Day 3 - Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy meets with Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The President does not reveal that he is now aware of the missile build-up. Internally, the President and his advisers weigh two options: blockade or invasion. October 18, 1962
For thirteen days in October 1962 the world was on the brink of nuclear war - The Cuban Missile Crisis
At 8:45 AM on October 16, 1962, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy alerted President Kennedy that a major international crisis was at hand. Two days earlier a United States military surveillance aircraft had taken hundreds of aerial photographs of Cuba. CIA analysts, working around the clock, had deciphered in the pictures conclusive evidence that a Soviet missile base was under construction near San Cristobal, Cuba; just 90 miles from the coast of Florida. The most dangerous encounter in the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had begun.
Day 2, October 17
American military units begin moving to bases in the Southeastern U.S. as intelligence photos from another U-2 flight show additional sites; and 16 to 32 missiles. To avoid arousing public concern, the president maintains his official schedule, meeting periodically with advisors to discuss the status of events in Cuba and possible strategies.
President Kennedy attends a brief service at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in observance of the National Day of Prayer. After, he has lunch with Crown Prince Hasan of Libya, and then makes a political visit to Connecticut in support of Democratic congressional candidates.
Above: Map of the western hemisphere showing the full range of the nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban crisis.
Below: Photo secretly taken by a U2 spy plane of a nuclear missile launch site in Cuba.
-from the JFK Library