On 1 May 1960, a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down by the Soviet Air Defense Forces while performing photographic aerial reconnaissance deep into Soviet territory. The single-seat aircraft, flown by pilot Francis Gary Powers, was hit by a surface-to-air missile but Powers parachuted safely and was captured. The incident occurred around two weeks before the scheduled opening of an east–west summit in Paris. In the days directly leading up to the conference, tensions increased dramatically between the United States and the Soviet Union over the U-2 incident. Powers was convicted of espionage and sentenced to three years of imprisonment plus seven years of hard labor.
Presenters: Gary Powers Jr.
Program included with regular paid admission.