Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Robert Ferry

Abstract

What prompted Fidel Castro to choose a communist path for the Cuban Revolution? There is no way to know for sure what the cause of Castro’s decision to state the Marxist nature of the revolution was. However, we can know the factors that contributed to this ideological shift. This thesis will argue that the decision to radicalize the revolution and develop a relationship with the Cuban communists was the only logical choice available to Castro in order to fulfill Jose Marti’s, Cuba’s nationalist hero, vision of an independent Cuba. In doing so, I will look closely at Castro’s political awakening, which took place at the University of Havana, and the influence of the Cuban nationalist independence movement on the formation of Castro’s politics. I will also analyze Castro’s actions in the political context of the period from 1952-1961, which coincides with the formation of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement (the 26th of July Movement), the Cuban revolution, and the proclamation of the Marxist nature of the revolution. Ultimately, it will be argued that while Castro was a radical nationalist in the Martían sense, he saw the path towards communism as a strategic way to ensure that the revolution would be implemented in a way that would fulfill his nationalist goals of Cuban independence and revolutionary change. This argument will significantly contribute to the available literature on the Cuban Revolution because, while this topic has been touched on, it has not received a full historical treatment which takes into account the factors within the revolutionary movement, as well as Castro’s devotion to Cuban history and the ideals of Martí.

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