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History Will Absolve Me Speech | Study Guide

Fidel Castro

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Course Hero. "History Will Absolve Me Speech Study Guide." March 31, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2022.


Course Hero, "History Will Absolve Me Speech Study Guide," March 31, 2020, accessed July 2, 2022,



Fidel Castro

Year Delivered



Primary Source


History, Speech

At a Glance

  • On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro (1926–2016), a Cuban revolutionary, led some 160 men and two women in an attack on an army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The rebels' mission was to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista (1901–73). Batista had seized power through a military coup 16 months earlier, on March 10, 1952. Most of the rebels were killed, but Castro was detained and put on trial.
  • The History Will Absolve Me Speech is Castro's reconstruction of his self-defense speech on October 16, 1953, which was not recorded. In it, Castro takes responsibility for the failed attack. He also denounces Batista's regime, idealizes the slain rebels, and outlines a series of economic reforms. An artful blend of fact and propaganda, the speech is part call to justice and part historical narrative.
  • Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison but released after fewer than 2 years. He went abroad to continue planning Batista's ouster. Castro returned to Cuba in 1956 and built a guerrilla army. Batista fled in 1959, and Castro soon became Cuba's leader. He would rule Cuba for the next 40 years, transforming it into a communist state.
  • Castro's speech is considered a manifesto, or public statement of policy, of the political and economic goals of the Cuban Revolution (1953–1959).


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