A. Describe the movement from U.S. neutrality to engagement in World War I, with reference to unrestricted submarine warfare.
World War I––Origins
When World War I began in Europe in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson was determined to guarantee U.S. neutrality and to keep the United States out of the war. But in 1915, the luxury liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine, killing most of the people onboard, including more than 100 U.S. citizens. This led to a crisis between the United States and Germany that was only resolved when Germany agreed to abandon unrestricted submarine warfare that endangered U.S. trade and American lives. However, in 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, creating great anti-German feelings among Americans. This heightened tension led to the United States’ decision to enter the war.
C. Explain Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the proposed League of Nations.
Before the United States entered the war, Wilson gave a speech in which he described Fourteen Points he felt were key to avoiding future wars. One point called for the creation of an international peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations. During the postwar treaty negotiations, Wilson worked hard to get as many as possible of his Fourteen Points included in the treaty and succeeded in securing the creation of the League of Nations. However, American opposition to the League of Nations ultimately led the Senate to refuse to ratify the treaty. Isolationists in the Senate believed that by joining the League the United States would become involved in future conflicts in Europe and elsewhere. Though Wilson traveled across America to create public support for the treaty’s ratification, the Senate eventually rejected it. The United States never joined the League of Nations.
B. Explain the domestic impact of World War I, as reflected by the origins of the Great Migration, the Espionage Act, and socialist Eugene Debs.
World War I––Impacts
The war created jobs in northeastern and midwestern cities. African Americans, tired of living under the repression that was common in the South, moved to the North by the thousands and established themselves in ethnically distinct and culturally rich neighborhoods. This movement of African Americans was called the Great Migration.
During the war, laws were passed that prohibited people from speaking out against it. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a crime to communicate any information that would interfere with U.S. military operations or aid its enemies. Wilson supported this law to silence critics and pacifists. The next year, labor leader Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate in 1904, 1908, and 1912, was convicted for hindering military recruiting by making a speech against it; he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Many people supported such laws although they violated the spirit of the First Amendment.
D. Describe passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, establishing Prohibition, and the Nineteenth Amendment, establishing woman suffrage.
Social changes seen during the war led to two constitutional amendments. Americans’ anti-German feelings led to a campaign to outlaw beer and other alcoholic beverages. This campaign well suited the Progressive Era’s opposition to saloons. Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was helped by the country’s gratitude for women’s economic contributions during the war. The women had filled jobs in factories after men volunteered and were drafted into military service.
A. Explain how rising communism and socialism in the United States led to the Red Scare and immigrant restriction.
Communism and Socialism
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a new political ideology called communism grew out of the more moderate socialism. Communism was based on a single-party government ruled by a dictator. Under communism, there is no private wnership; all property is owned by the state. In 1919, after communist revolutionaries known as Bolsheviks overthrew the czar in Russia, established the Soviet Union, and called for a worldwide revolution to destroy capitalism, people in the United States began to fear communists. This fear of international communism was called the Red Scare because red was the color of the communist flag. This fear led to the government’s pursuit of suspected communists and socialists.
The Red Scare was one factor that led to new restrictions on immigration. Other factors were two ideas that grew strong in America in the 1920s. One of the ideas was that people born in America were superior to immigrants. The other was that America should keep its traditional culture intact. Anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, and anti-Catholic sentiments contributed to the popularity of a revived Ku Klux Klan, not just in the South but throughout the nation. Ultimately, this conservative reaction against immigrants resulted in the passage of legislation that set limits on the number of immigrants who could come from each country.
C. Describe the impact of radio and the movies.
During the 1920s, popular entertainment such as radio and the movies attracted millions of loyal fans and helped create the first media stars. Conservatives often disapproved of what they viewed as the immoral influence of these forms of entertainment but were unable to reduce their popularity.
B. Identify Henry Ford, mass production, and the automobile.
Another development of the 1920s was the emergence of the automobile as a true replacement for the horse, not just a plaything for the wealthy. This was made possible by an industrial process called mass production. This process was popularized by Henry Ford during the manufacture of his Ford Model T. The Model T was designed to be produced in great volume on assembly lines so the cost of each car would be low enough for common people to afford.
Mass production of the automobile made cars affordable and widely available during the 1920s. The car allowed people to move to suburbs away from the cities, increased construction of highways and bridges, and created the family vacation, but its most powerful impact was on the relationship between young people and their parents. For the first time, young people could easily get away from their parents and experience a level of independence never before available. This provided the young people of the 1920s with different experiences than their parents had known and created a generation gap between them. When you think of the social changes of the 1920s, remember the impact of the car on young people as an example of the clash between the forces of conservatism and the forces for change that exemplified the time period.
D. Describe modern forms of cultural expression; include Louis Armstrong and the origins of jazz, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley.
The Great Migration significantly increased the African American populations in cities in the Northeast and the Midwest. Crowded into segregated neighborhoods near city centers, African Americans and African American culture gained the acceptance of mainstream America. African American writers and artists began to receive the attention of major publishing houses and critics, but it was the music emerging from these neighborhoods that was the most appreciated. Jazz combined themes and note patterns developed by enslaved African Americans with the syncopated rhythms worked out by musicians in New Orleans and elsewhere in the South. It was an original American art form and became very popular in the 1920s.
During the 1920s, a wave of creativity washed over Harlem that celebrated African American culture through words and song. This is known as the Harlem Renaissance. The movement’s best-known poet was Langston Hughes, who wrote about the lives of working-class African Americans and sometimes set his words to the tempo of jazz or blues. Trumpet player Louis Armstrong, sometimes called “Satchmo,” became known while playing with the Creole Jazz Band and later became one of the biggest stars of jazz music because of his sense of rhythm and his improvisational skills.
While the Harlem Renaissance was occurring, another musical movement, Tin Pan Alley, was also on the rise in New York City. The name “Tin Pan Alley” is deceiving because it does not only refer to an actual place in Manhattan but also names the group of music writers and publishers who worked there. One of the most famous was Irving Berlin, who wrote undreds of songs during his career, including “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.”
A. Describe the causes, including overproduction, underconsumption, and stock market speculation that led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
The Interactions of Business Overproduction and Consumer Underconsumption
During the 1920s, the wealthy grew wealthier due in large measure to government fiscal policies that both reduced business regulations and allowed the wealthy to keep more of their money. These reduced regulations and low corporate taxes increased the profits of corporations and made their stocks more valuable. At the same time, the poor and working classes lost the ability to buy products because their wages stayed the same while prices rose. This reduction in consumer consumption resulted in business overproduction and eventually caused business profits to decline. These factors were an important cause of the Great Depression.
New methods of buying products, including the installment plan and buying on credit, became popular during the 1920s. These methods encouraged consumers to buy more than they could afford and to go into debt. Worst of all, banks loaned people money to buy stock with very little money down. The stocks themselves became the collateral for the loan. This was called buying on margin. Rising stock prices and the ability of ordinary people to buy stock on credit increased investment in the stock market and inflated the price of stocks above their actual value. Then, by October 1929, the U.S. economy was beginning to show signs of slowing down. Stockholders feared the economy was ending a period of prosperity and entering a period of recession. This caused some investors to panic and sell their stocks. As more people sold their stock,
other people panicked and sold their stock as well, driving down their prices and causing a stock market crash.
In turn, the stock market crash triggered other economic weaknesses and plunged the United States into the Great Depression––a severe economic recession in the 1930s that affected all the world’s industrialized nations and the countries that exported raw materials to them. Industry, trade, construction, mining, logging, and farming decreased
sharply. Business profits, tax revenues, and personal incomes did, too.
B. Explain factors (include over-farming and climate) that led to the Dust Bowl and the resulting movement and migration west.
New machinery and improved farming techniques made American farmers very productive. By producing more food each year, farmers thought they could earn more money. Instead, this overproduction helped drive down the prices of their products and made it harder for them to make a profit. In response, farmers tried producing even more food by taking out more loans to buy more land and farm equipment. As a result, most farmers were very vulnerable to economic and environmental disasters when banks started foreclosing on farms owned by farmers unable to repay their loans. To make matters worse, the Great Plains states were experiencing a severe drought. When a series of severe dust storms hit the prairies, they picked up the dirt loosened by the drought and the poor farming practices that had eroded the soil. This ecological disaster was called the Dust Bowl. Dry conditions and high winds made farming impossible. Tenant farmers and sharecroppers were among the hardest hit as their landlords evicted them and sold the land. Over 500,000 Americans were left homeless. Many farmers from Oklahoma, Texas, and the surrounding Dust Bowl states migrated to California in search of work.
C. Explain the social and political impact of widespread unemployment that resulted in developments such as Hoovervilles.
As profits fell and it became clear consumers would need to reduce spending, workers began to lose their jobs. By 1932, the unemployment rate in the United States had reached 25%. Unemployed workers who had no savings could not pay their debts, and many lost their homes. Homeless and unemployed people settled in camps of shacks and tents in rundown areas. These camps became known as Hoovervilles, named after Herbert Hoover, the U.S. president when the
Depression started. Hooverville residents slept in packing crates if they were lucky; if not, they slept on the ground. They begged for food from people whostill had jobs and housing.
A. Describe the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority as a works program and as an effort to control the environment.
Putting People to Work
One of Roosevelt’s major New Deal programs was the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This was established in 1933 to build dams and power plants along the Tennessee River and its tributaries. The Tennessee Valley itself runs through seven states, so the project was very large. The TVA built dozens of dams to control the environment by preventing disastrous floods. Each dam had its own power plants, parks, and navigation aids, and this construction created hundreds of jobs for unemployed workers.
D. Identify Eleanor Roosevelt as a symbol of social progress and women’s activism.Eleanor Roosevelt
President Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, was very influential in her own right. She was interested in humanitarian causes and social progress, and she was very vocal about them during her husband’s time in the White House. She traveled all over the United States to observe social conditions so she could keep the president informed as to the state of the nation. As a supporter of women’s activism, she was also instrumental in convincing Roosevelt to appoint more women to government positions.
B. Explain the Wagner Act and the rise of industrial unionism.
Second New Deal
The Second New Deal refers to the programs President Roosevelt instituted after his original New Deal failed to completely fix the American economy. The National Labor Relations Act, better known as the Wagner Act, was one of the first reforms of Roosevelt’s Second New Deal. This law established collective bargaining rights for workers and prohibited such unfair labor practices as intimidating workers, attempting to keep workers from organizing unions, and firing union members. The law also set up a government agency where workers could testify about unfair labor practices and hold elections to decide whether or not to unionize.
After passage of the Wagner Act, industrial workers began to unionize. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was hesitant to organize industrial unionism, because it was committed to craft-based workers such as carpenters and railroad engineers. As a consequence, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was created to represent industrial workers who felt they were not being represented by the AFL. The AFL and CIO clashed on and off before merging in 1955 to become the AFL-CIO that exists today.
C. Explain the passage of the Social Security Act as a part of the second New Deal.One of the most important actions of the Second New Deal was the
Social Security Act, which was passed in 1935. This law consisted of three components:
1. Old-age insurance for retirees aged 65 or older and their spouses, paid half by the employee and half by the employer
2. Unemployment compensation paid by a federal tax on employers and administered by the states
3. Aid for the disabled and for families with dependent children paid by the federal government and administered by the states
E. Identify the political challenges to Roosevelt’s domestic and international leadership; include the role of Huey Long, the "court packing bill," and the Neutrality Act.Roosevelt’s Political Challenges
During his 12-year presidency, Roosevelt faced many challenges to his leadership and had many critics. Opponents of the New Deal came from all parts of the political spectrum. Some conservatives thought he had made the federal government too large and too powerful and that it did not respect the rights of individuals and property, while some liberals thought he had not gone far enough to socialize the economy and eliminate inequality in America. Perhaps Roosevelt’s biggest critic was Senator Huey Long of Louisiana. Long originally supported the New Deal, but he changed his mind and set hissights on replacing Roosevelt as president. Long proposed for every American a home, food, clothes, and an education, among other things.
In Europe, World War II started long before America entered it. To prevent Roosevelt from involving America in what some saw as a European war, Congress passed a series of Neutrality Acts to make it illegal to sell arms or make loans to nations at war. The fourth of these acts, passed in 1939 in recognition of the Nazi threat to Western Europe’s democracies, permitted the sale of arms to nations at war on a “cash and carry” basis. This meant that buyers would have to pay cash and send their own ships to American ports to pick up the supplies, thereby keeping American ships from being sunk by
The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, usually called the court-packing bill, was a law Roosevelt proposed to give presidents the power to appoint an extra Supreme Court justice for every sitting justice over the age of 70 ½. Roosevelt planned to use this bill’s powers to add more of his supporters to the Supreme Court to uphold his New Deal programs, but the version of the law passed by Congress weakened the power he desired.
A. Explain A. Philip Randolph’s proposed march on Washington, D.C., and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response.
In 1941, A. Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, proposed a march on Washington, D.C., to protest discrimination in the military and in industry. He called on African Americans from all over the United States to come to Washington and join him. President Roosevelt, afraid the march might cause unrest among whites, summoned Randolph to the White House and asked him to call off the march. When Randolph refused, Roosevelt issued an executive order that called on employers and labor unions to cease discrimination in hiring practices in industries related to defense. As a result of Roosevelt’s actions, the march was canceled.
D. Describe war mobilization, as indicated by rationing, war-time conversion, and the role of women in war industries.
After Pearl Harbor, 5 million men volunteered for military service, but more were needed to fight the war. The Selective Service System expanded the draft, and 10 million more men joined the ranks of the American armed forces. So great was the need of the military, a Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was formed to fill noncombat positions otherwise filled by men, freeing up the men for frontline duty.
The men needed tanks, planes, ships, guns, bullets, and boots. To equip the troops, the entire American industry was dedicated to supplying the military. More than 6 million workers in the plants, factories, and shipyards were women. With the men who once did these jobs now fighting overseas, women filled the void. Women volunteered for this work even though they were paid on average only 60% as much as men doing the same jobs. It was the hard work of people and the industrial might of the United States that helped America win World War II.
As time went on, the war industry needed more raw materials. One way Americans helped the war effort was through wartime conservation. Workers would carpool to work or ride bicycles to save gasoline and rubber. People participated in nationwide drives to collect scrap iron, tin cans, newspaper, rags, and even cooking grease to recycle and use in war production. Another way Americans conserved on the home front was through the mandatory government rationing system. Under this system, each household received a “c book” with coupons that were used to buy scarce items such as meat, sugar,and coffee. Gas rationing was also used to help save gasoline for military use.
B. Explain the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the internment of Japanese- Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans.
Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the navy of the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base atPearl Harbor, Hawaii. Over 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,178 more were wounded, 19 ships were damaged, and over 300 aircraft were destroyed. The Japanese attack took the United States officially into World War II.
One effect of America’s entry into the war was alarm about the loyalty of Japanese Americans: 120,000 Japanese Americans lived in the United States, most of them on the West Coast. Fears of spies and sabotage led to prejudice and sometimes violence against Japanese Americans. In the name of national security, Roosevelt ordered all people of Japanese ancestry be moved from California and parts of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona to rural prison camps. Although most of the people imprisoned in these internment camps were Japanese Americans, there were also small numbers of German Americans and Italian Americans imprisoned under the same law, as well as hundreds of Native Americans from Alaska.
E. Describe the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and the scientific, economic, and military implications of developing the atomic bomb.Atom Bomb
Allied leaders planning the war against Japan knew that once they defeated the Japanese navy in the Pacific Ocean they would still have to invade Japan itself to end the war. They knew Japan still had a huge army that would defend every inch of the homeland, and both sides could possibly lose millions of people in the process. President Truman decided there was only one way to avoid an invasion of Japan and still defeat them. He would use a brand-new weapon that no one had ever seen before: the atomic bomb. The American government had developed two atomic bombs in a secret laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The bombs were dropped on Japan in early August 1945. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese surrendered, and World War II was finally over. The project’s code name was “The Manhattan Project.”
The implications of developing and using atomic bombs in World War II were enormous. From a military standpoint, it was clear that not only did the United States have a powerful weapon that no other country had, but the American government was not afraid to use it. The Soviet Union quickly began developing an atomic bomb of its own, an act that helped begin the Cold War. Also, nuclear power would soon be used to power aircraft carriers and submarines. Scientifically and economically, the atomic bomb led to nuclear power for civilian use, such as generating electricity for homes and businesses. Nuclear power is also used in technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which are used by physicians to study the workings of the human body, including brain functions.
C. Explain major events; include the lend-lease program, the Battle of Midway, D-Day, and the fall of Berlin.
Major Events of World War II
Many battles were fought between the Allied nations and the Axis powers from 1939 to 1945. World War II was truly a world war, with combat taking place on nearly every continent. This changed the way the whole world looked at war. The two major theatersof the war were Europe and the Pacific Ocean. Review the following details of four major World War II events.
• Lend-Lease––March, 11, 1941––Nine months before Pearl Harbor, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act and amended the Neutrality Acts so the United States could lend military equipment and supplies to any nation the president said was vital to the defense of the UnitedStates. Roosevelt approved $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to Great Britain in October 1941. When the UnitedStates entered World War II, $50 billion worth of equipment and supplies had already been sent to Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China.
• Battle of Midway––June 4–7, 1942––Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy won a sea battle against the Japanese Navy that was a turning point in World War II. The Japanese tried to trap and sink America’s remaining aircraft carriers and then take the Midway Atoll, an American refueling station for ships and airplanes, but the United States destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one American carrier. This kept the Japanese from capturing Midway. This victory is regarded as the most important naval engagement of the Pacific campaign of the war and, at the time, was a huge morale boost for America. The Japanese Navy never recovered from this defeat, enabling the United States to gain control of other strategic Pacific islands. From those islands, the United States was able to overcome the geographical difficulty of resupplying its forces with food, medicine, weapons, and other critical supplies needed to push westward toward the Japanese mainland.
• D Day––June 6, 1944––D Day was the code name for the first day of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France. It remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, with over 156,000 men crossing the English Channel
in 6,939 vessels. The German troops occupying France were caught almost completely by surprise and, although the Allies met heavy resistance in small areas, the invasion went almost exactly according to plan. As a result of the operation’s success, American and British forces were able to maintain a permanent beachhead in mainland Europe to resupply their forces and push east to Germany. The geographical advantage gained by the invasion marked the beginning of victory for the Allies in Europe.
• The Fall of Berlin––April–May 1945––The fall of Berlin was one of the final battles of the European theater during World War II. Two Soviet army groups attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third attacked German forces north of Berlin. The Soviets lost 81,116 men taking the city, while the Germans lost 458,080 trying to defend it. It was one of the bloodiest battles in history. Adolf Hitler was in Berlin during the battle and, before it ended, he and many of his followers committed suicide. The city’s defenders surrendered on May 2, but fighting continued outside the city until the war ended on May 8. Much of the continued fighting was due to the Germans trying to move westward so they could surrender to the Americans or British instead of to the Soviets.
A. Describe the creation of the Marshall Plan, U.S. commitment to Europe, the Truman Doctrine, and the origins and implications of the containment policy.
The European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan for Secretary of State George Marshall, was America’s main program for rebuilding Western Europe and opposing communism after World War II. The plan was put into action in July 1947 and operated for four years. During that time, the United States spent $13 billion on economic and technical assistance for the war-torn democratic European countries that had been nearly destroyed during World War II. The Marshall Plan offered the same aid to the Soviet Union and its allies if they would make political reforms and accept certain
outside controls; however, the Soviets rejected this proposal.
Commitment to Europe
To halt the spread of communism to Western Europe from the Soviet-controlled nations of Eastern Europe, the United States formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with many of the noncommunist nations in Europe, including former wartime allies Britain and France. In response, the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact, an alliance of the communist nations it controlled in Eastern Europe. Convinced the Soviets were attempting to establish a sphere of influence throughout the world, the United States viewed these actions as a direct threat to American security. This determination to stop the spread of communism is known as the policy of containment and was the basis for many U.S. foreign policy decisions during the Cold War.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the Truman Doctrine. It stated the United States would supply any nation with economic and military aid to prevent its falling under the Soviet sphere of influence. Truman called upon the United States to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Although Truman never referred directly to the USSR, anyone who heard the declaration, including the Soviet leaders, knew the Soviets were the “outside pressures” Truman talked about.
The Cold War involved the building of physical and figurative walls. The Soviets built physical walls to keep citizens of communist nations in and democratic influences out. The Berlin Wall is a good example of the walls the Soviets built. The United States built figurative “walls” surrounding communist nations to keep their influence from spreading. An example of a figurative wall built by the United States is the 38th parallel, which divides North Korea from South Korea. The conflicts that arose between communist and democratic nations were usually the result of attempts to break through these walls.
B. Explain the impact of the new communist regime in China and the outbreak of the Korean War and how these events contributed to the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
In 1950, the United States and the democratic government of South Korea went to war against the communist government of North Korea. North Korea was being aided by the new Chinese communist government that had recently won the Chinese Civil War. Combat began when communist troops invaded South Korea. Concerned over the spread of communism beyond the Soviet Union and China, the United States sent its troops to force the communists back to North Korea. The U.S. decision to enter the conflict was part of its larger strategy of geographically containing communism in order to isolate and eventually defeat it. Driving North Korean forces across the border, U.S. troops then followed the enemy into North Korea in an effort to entirely eliminate communism from the Korean peninsula. However, when the Americans reached the border between North Korea and China, the Chinese attacked, forcing the Americans back to South Korea.
D. Describe the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive, and growing opposition to the war.Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a struggle for control of Vietnam. While the conflict originally began during the French colonial rule in the region, the United States became involved in the 1950s by providing economic and limited military aid. Following French withdrawal in 1954, Vietnam was divided, with communist forces in the North and a pro-Western regime in control of the South. Then, in the early 1960s, U.S. involvement began to increase; it lasted until the early 1970s. The democratic overnment of South Vietnam, supported by the United States, battled communist North Vietnam and a military
organization called the Vietcong. U.S. policymakers believed that if Vietnam came to be ruled by a communist government, communism would spread throughout Southeast Asia and perhaps beyond. The Vietcong continually frustrated U.S. forces with its ability to use the region’s thick jungles to conduct guerrilla warfare. In 1968, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese army started the eight-month-long Tet Offensive. It was the Vietcong’s largest and most damaging campaign of the entire war.
Ultimately, the Tet Offensive failed to achieve its goal of driving the Americans out of Vietnam, but it did lead many people in the United States to question why Johnson had told them America was winning the war. This led some Americans who had been quiet up until then to raise their voices in protest against the war. Many college campuses were home to groups formed to protest American involvement in Vietnam. The goals of these groups differed, but most favored ending the draft and removing all American troops from Vietnam.
C. Describe the Cuban Revolution, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban missile crisis.
In 1956, Fidel Castro led the Cuban Revolution. Castro became prime minister of Cuba early in 1957 and, at first, had American support. However, when he allied himself with the Soviet Union, suspended all elections, and named himself president for life, the United States turned against Castro. The existence of a communist nation allied with the Soviet Union 90 miles off the coast of the United States jeopardized the U.S. containment strategy. In 1961, 1,500 Cuban exiles, armed and trained by the CIA, tried to stage an invasion at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. The small force was crushed by Castro after President Kennedy refused to involve the U.S. armed forces. Twelve hundred of the invaders were captured, and the United States was forced to give $53 million worth of food and supplies to Cuba for release of the captives.
The Soviets believed that, because Kennedy refused to involve the American military in Cuban affairs, he would not interfere if the Soviets built military missile launch sites in Cuba, so they installed missiles. The Soviet plan was for Cuba to use these missiles to prevent another U.S.-planned invasion. When an American spy plane took photos of a Soviet nuclear missile site being built in Cuba, Kennedy immediately began planning a response. Enemy missiles positioned so close to America’s coastline posed a serious threat to U.S. national security. Kennedy completely blockaded Cuba and threatened to invade unless the Soviets promised to withdraw from Cuba. Finally, the Soviets agreed to remove their missiles if the United States would remove its nuclear missiles installed near the Soviet Union in Turkey. The two nations removed their missiles in what is nowknown as the Cuban missile crisis.