Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Salar Mohandesi


This thesis studies the deterioration of U.S.-Cuban relations from 1958-1961. Mainly drawing from primary sources from the National Archives, it seeks to answer and understand how and why relations deteriorated so rapidly. It pushes against the common belief that U.S.-Cuban relations were doomed from the start, instead highlighting in Chapter One Fidel Castro’s rise to power (and Fulgencio Batista’s fall from power) and revealing that the U.S. government was not entirely against Castro’s seizure of power. Chapter Two explores Castro’s first year in power and the (futile) attempts made by both governments to keep relations alive. Finally, it closes with the destruction of official and unofficial relations, suggesting that President Eisenhower’s covert approval of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs marked the covert ending to political relations as well as rising economic and political tensions due to an incompatibility of demand and interest in the sugar and oil industries. Ultimately, this thesis suggests that it was not just a matter of communism that led to the destruction of U.S.-Cuban relations at the time; instead, it was because of compounding effects of other various other economic and political factors and incompatibilities, such as the sugar and oil industries, public and political slandering and attacks from both sides, and an increasing acceptance of the Soviet Union and its supporters. This analysis does not seek to argue against the influence of communism in its entirety; rather, it aims to highlight and nuance the contributing factors to this deterioration.