"On that unhappy island" - Bay of Pigs Address, Apr. 20, 1961

Bay of Pigs Address

After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, Kennedy addressed the public at the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington. Only a few months after an Inaugural Address that painted broad strokes around the Cold War and advocated peaceful intervention, his words in this particular statement clarify the doctrine he believes America is to follow with matters of communism abroad.

His language is not as poetic as it is in his other speeches, leaning far more on logic than emotional appeals. It admits defeat, while remaining strong and resolute for the future. Kennedy makes clear it is his intention for America to fight communist infiltration in the Western hemisphere, and further, in support of "free nations."

"First, it is clear that the forces of communism are not to be underestimated, in Cuba or anywhere else in the world. The advantages of a police state-its use of mass terror and arrests to prevent the spread of free dissent--cannot be overlooked by those who expect the fall of every fanatic tyrant. If the self-discipline of the free cannot match the iron discipline of the mailed fist-in economic, political, scientific and all the other kinds of struggles as well as the military-then the peril to freedom will continue to rise."