The U-2 incident occurred during the Cold War presidency of Dwight Eisenhower
and the leadership of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, when a United States
U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers (above) was shot down over the
airspace of the Soviet Union.
The U.S.government at first denied the plane’s purpose and mission, but then
was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet
government produced the remains of the downed aircraft and it’s surviving
pilot along with photos of Russian military bases taken by Powers.
On August 17, 1960, Powers was convicted of espionage against the Soviet
Union and was sentenced to a total of 10 years, three years in imprisonment
followed by seven years of hard labor. On February 10, 1962, Powers was
exchanged along with American student Frederic Pryor in a spy swap for
Soviet KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher.