By: Sarah Garrett, Alex Chin and Michael Rogers

The invasion of Grenada was one of the many conflicts that the United States engaged in to prevent the spread of communism. Also not as well known as other Cold war conflicts, the invasion of Grenada is still remembered as a United States offensive to prevent the spread of communism from the island of Cuba to Grenada.

Causes of the War
Sir Eric Gairy ruled Grenada harshly. Gairy led an armed force; call the Mongoose Squad, created to protect his rule from local powers. Gairy’s harsh rule helped bring the revolution of Grenada in 1974.
The Grenadian Revolution helped Grenada break away from Sir Eric Gairy’s rule. Maurice Bishop then ruled Grenada’s Government. Bishop strongly believed in and supported Soviet policy and actions. For example, Bishop supported the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Bishop also, due to his positive views towards Soviets, formed a strong bond with Cuba(1). Bishop attempted to conduct a 4-year socialism experiment. After the revolution, Bernard Coard, a general of the army, staged a military coup placing Bishop under arrest in an attempt to take over the government. During the coup, Bishop turned to the U.S. for support in suppressing the coup(2). U.S. denied support to Grenada; however, Cuba supplied support and troops to the current Grenadian government to help end the coup and release Bishop. With the support of Cubans, a crowd of anti-Coards freed Bishop. Soon after however, military officials then massacred the crowd and Bishop(3).
The assassination of Maurice Bishop was blamed on the Cuban government by the United States and the U.S. government then believed Cuban was in support of the coup. Although the assassination and blame of Cuba was there, this was believed to not be enough information for an invasion. U.S. medical students in Grenada were an excuse though for an invasion, code name Operation Urgent Fury(4). Also a military build-up of Cuban weapons on the Island was rumored. This invasion was also created as an example to other poorer countries in the Caribbean to not turn to communism(5).
Prior and after the invasion, the state of Grenada was in an economic boom. A 40% to 14% unemployment rate and 85% to 98% increase in literacy rate was observed(6). Free healthcare was also provided and Grenada's tourism industry was in development. Many people also supported Bishop. Bishop's political views and economic views were very popular and his successes were shown with the economic boom(7). Bishop was almost idolized as a savior because of his successes in the government. After the assassination of Bishop widespread discontent with the people was seen. The Revolution of 1974 also played a significant role in the invasion of Grenada. The placement of communism into the government caused the United States to give the "cold shoulder" to Grenada. Also prior to the revolution, Sir Gairy and his mongoose squad's governmental corruption created the necessary stress on the people for revolution. Finally, the interchangeable religion with Cuba and support of Cuba's religious leaders gave the United States an unwanted disadvantage in Grenada's view.

Warfare in Grenada
The U.S invasion of Grenada was very unusual compared to other 20th century wars. It was by far the easiest and most successful invasion for the United States that century. It lasted only three months and only nineteen Americans were killed. It wasn’t a civil war, because none of the belligerents were from the same country. There was an invading force and weak defense. The closest thing to a civil war there was “an almost bloodless coup… a young attorney named Maurice Bishop… proceeded to impose an ambitious socialist program” (8). In addition, there was no Guerrilla warfare, either. The United States has never used guerilla tactics, and the Cuban and Grenadine armies took a strictly defensive position, mostly because they were sloppily trained, and didn’t have sufficient time. Finally, unlike most other 20th century
U.S. Invasion of Grenada. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. <‌topics/‌Invasion_of_Grenada>
wars, the U.S. invasion of Grenada was a very limited war. No vital supplies were destroyed, and hardly any civilians were killed. In fact, less than 150 people in total were killed. Compare this to World War Two, in which 405,394 Americans died, or Vietnam, which killed 58,209 Americans.
U.S. Troops leading PoW’s in Grenada. N.d. Libcom. N.p., 9 Sept. 2006. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. <‌history/‌1983-the-us-invasion-of-grenada>.

Because The U.S. invasion of Grenada was so short, it didn’t have time to develop into the kind of war the world was used to in the 20th century: messy, political dogfights with massive losses on both sides. Technological developments were fairly advanced. When 5,000 American troops took the island, they found “a cache of weapons that could arm 10,000 men -- automatic rifles, machine guns, rocket launchers, antiaircraft guns, howitzers, cannon, armored vehicles and coastal patrol boats” (9). The war was too short for such deadly weapons to be put into practice. Ground tactics were standard American shock and awe tactics: a large invading force brings out big guns and scares the opposition into hasty surrender. This may be the only time these tactics ever really worked for the American Military after WWII. Grenadian tactics were to defend the little island at all costs. This was one of the reasons American Shock and Awe tactics worked; the Grenadian/Cuban Army put up such a sloppy and small defense.
On the home front, President Reagan was initially put under fire for invading Grenada. Very shortly before he had given the go ahead to invade, terrorists in Lebanon blew up a building occupied by Marines, killing 241 of them. Skeptical pundits on the left side questioned Reagan’s motives for the invasion, accusing him of diverting attention away from Lebanon with the invasion. This proved to be false, as Reagan was planning on that date for the invasion long before the attack. The enormous victory, along with the capture of so many weapons boosted nationalism for the United States, and took the country’s mind off of the terrorist attack in Lebanon. It may have been the key factor that got Reagan re-elected in 1984. The only revolution in the Grenada affair was the initial takeover of the island by Maurice Bishop and the communists.

Effects and Results of the War

After the end of fighting in Grenada, there was no official peace settlement between negotiated between Grenada and the United States after the invasion. Instead, the United States stayed in control of Grenada for the next couple of years. The United States at the beginning took away some freedoms of the Grenadine like the right to “ free assembly" was "curtailed, press was… censored and whit of habeas corpus" was "abolished” (10). After a few years of occupation, the United States allowed popular elections and gave Grenada the ability to join other small Caribbean states under one government. Grenada was allowed to have their government back from the United States but still now Grenada's economy still is dependent upon foreign investors like the United States. Because of this economic power, the United States continue to have a powerful influence on the Grenadian government.
The world’s reaction to the invasion of Grenada by the United Nations and from the other countries around the world was generally poor. The United Nations Security Council went so far as to cote to condemn the invasion. Allies of the United States were also dissatisfied with the choice to invade Grenada, especially countries like Canada who had advisors connected with Grenada. The United States dismissed all of this criticism of the invasion as anti American biased from the other countries around the world.
Within the United States, political repercussions were in some cases severe where journalists were not allowed to cover the story of the invasion. As well as the government being accused of exaggerating numbers in attempt to gain the support of the American people for the invasion. Today there are still “critics [who] challenge whether Operation Urgent Fury should have been performed at all”(11) On the other side, the United States claimed this invasion as
Langdon, A. C. Grenada: Rescued From Rape and Slavery. 1984. The Real Revo. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. <‌blog/‌?page_id=240>.
a victory not only for itself but for democracy, saying they were there to help the “installation of a non-Marxist government and protection of that government from Cuban-sponsored guerrilla warfare.” (12) There was also a large political change within the Caribbean. Countries who were associated with Cuba or who had leftist sympathies were treated as the poor countries within the Caribbean. Many of them changed their views on government to get economic and military assistance from the United States. There were no permanent territorial exchanges between the United States and Grenada after the invasion. Grenada was allowed to keep all of their land, but only after the United States had occupied that land for a number of years.
For the United States there were little to no economic problems. The United States was allowed to promote their products within Grenada and therefore gained a new consumer for its products. Grenada's economic situation on the other hand deteriorated at the end of the invasion when large organizations and labor unions were taken away and were replaced by private investors and outside goods. Now, projects like public works are being done by outside companies which keeps Grenada's economy from growing and developing. Although Grenada’s economy has been improving from the initial invasion, there is still widespread poverty throughout Grenada.

1. “Grenada: Hindsight.” Global Security Forum. N.p., 27 Apr. 2005. Web. 11 Sept. 2009. <‌military/‌library/‌report/‌1992/‌KLM.htm>.
2. ibid
3. ibid
4. ibid
5. ibid
6. Showalter, Gerald R, Ph.D. “Grenada.” World Book Advanced. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2009. <‌advanced/‌article?id=ar236200>.
7. ibid
8. Wolf, Julie. “The Invasion of Grenada.” The American Expirience. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2009. <‌wgbh/‌amex/‌reagan/‌peopleevents/‌pande07.html>.
9. ibid
10. Zunes, Stephen. “The US Invasion of Grenada.” Global Policy Forum. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2009. <‌component/‌content/‌article/‌155/‌25966.html#author>.
11. "Grenada: Hindsight"
12. Dent, David W. U.S.-Latin American Policymaking . Westport: Greenwood Press, 1995. Questia Online Library. Web. 24 Sept. 2009. <‌read/‌96786028>.