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The Cuban Revolution: Causes & Effects

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  • 0:03 Castro & Batista
  • 0:32 Castro's Tactics
  • 1:33 Castro's Offensive
  • 2:00 Victory & Communism
  • 2:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will detail the events of the Cuban Revolution. In doing so, it will highlight the reign of Batista, guerrilla tactics, Castro's promises of freedom, and his eventual alliance with communism.

Castro & Batista

When it comes to Cuba and Castro, our knowledge base can be pretty limited. In fact, I'm guessing most people just think of cigars and refugees when they think of Cuba. In order to gain some knowledge about our very close neighbors, today we're going to discuss the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s.

For starters, the Cuban Revolution took place between 1953 and 1959. It began when Fidel Castro led a force of rebels against the government of Fulgencio Batista, the tyrannical military dictator of the time.

Castro's Tactics

Surprisingly, it's reported Castro began his revolution with a small group of supporters. With his brother Raoul and his modest revolutionary army by his side, he traveled from Mexico, where he'd been exiled, to Cuba with the hopes of bringing down Batista.

Of course, with so few men this proved rather difficult, and the first skirmish saw Castro and his men defeated. Not willing to give up, Castro and his surviving forces took refuge in the jungles of Cuba. Here they were able to continue their guerrilla tactics. In other words, they remained in the jungle but continued to wage war through ambushes, raids, and hit-and-run attacks.

Along with this, Castro took this time to go on a bit of a propaganda tour, telling the people of small town Cuba that he had come to bring freedom to their lands! Hmmm.

Almost like a game of telephone, his message spread and soon an army of few turned into an army of thousands excited to taste freedom. This meant all-out civil revolution!

Castro's Offensive

Despite the large size of his army, Castro kept to his guerrilla tactics. His forces carried out raids on the Batista's government. No place was safe; they hit them in the towns and in the countryside. By 1958, Castro and his forces had become so well organized they launched an offensive. Moving from the south of the island to the north, they trounced government forces at the Battles of Yaguajay and Santa Clara.

Victory and Communism

Realizing he was outmatched, Batista fled Cuba. With this, Castro entered La Habana, Cuba's capital -- also known as Havana in English -- as champion, and his supporters excitedly awaited their freedom. Sadly, this independence never came. In fact, their allegiance was rewarded with the exact opposite.

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