From Virginia to Russia, with Love

Published:March 16, 2010 by Brendan Wolfe

Now showing at the Virginia Historical Society:

Cold War Crisis: The U-2 Incident / January 16–May 30, 2010

On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 reconnaissance plane was shot down over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air missile. Francis Gary Powers—a civilian pilot flying for the Central Intelligence Agency—was unable to activate the self-destruct mechanism and the plane crashed largely intact. News of the event caused Premier Khrushchev to storm out of a summit conference in Paris with President Eisenhower. Because the U-2 was specifically designed for covert surveillance, Powers, a native Virginian, was tried and convicted as a spy and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. In 1962 he was exchanged in Germany for a Soviet agent.

This exhibition is organized by The Cold War Museum

More on the Pound, Virginia, native here.

IMAGE: Belongings of U.S. spy Frank Powers, caught in Russia, on display; Moscow, May 1960; by Carl Mydans, Life magazine