Cuban Revolution of 1959 began with the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks,
and ended in triumph with the ousting of dictator Fulgencio
Batista. After a tremendous failure at Moncada, nearly
all of the rebels were killed or captured.
his trial, Fidel Castro gave his famous speech, "History will absolve me",
and was pardoned after only two years. When released, he was
forced into exile for his safety.
Mexico, he trained an army which he prepared for a guerilla
war against Batista.
On December 2, 1956, Castro and 82 others aboard the 'Granma' landed in Cuba. Their numbers
were quickly reduced by Batista's soldiers, but most of the
important leaders made their way into the Sierra
Maestra mountains. The rebel forces began to rely
on the peasants for support. Batista took to ruthlessly attacking
pro-Castro towns, which only stirred up more support for the
rebel leader. A movement in the cities began as well. Frank
País, whom Castro had left in charge while in exile,
began to attack the Batista government in various ways. Anti-Batista
students, though not associated with the Castro-led group
of rebels, unsuccesfully led an armed assault on the Presidential
Palace. On May 24, 1958, Batista launch Operación Verano.
seventeen battalions, tanks, planes, and ships, they planned to
enter the Sierra Maestra and force a showdown with Castro's rebels.
Though greatly outnumbered, the rebels repeatedly inflicted heavy
casualties on the army and drove them back. Columns commanded by
Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, Camilo
Cienfuegos, and others, took on army units many times their
army was unprepared for the fighting conditions and the guerilla
style of warfare; consequently, desertion and surrender were
commonplace among the dictator's forces. Eventually, Batista
decided the situation was hopeless. His generals had arrived
at the same conclusion, and were glad when Batista decided
to give up the fight. Batista fled to Spain, by then having
amassed a fortune of $300 million through bribery and embezzlement.
Clara was taken by Guevara's army, who then turned
Santiago was surrendered without a fight. The forts in Havana
also surrendered, and Castro's forces occupied the city, bringing
their miliary victory to a close.