When the Soviets shot-down Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 reconnaissance plane, over Soviet territory, the event made worldwide news. This image depicts a view of the wreckage scene. Photo, by an unnamed Soviet photographer, online via Bloomberg View.


It wasn’t just the Soviets who were upset with Francis Gary Powers when he deliberately flew his U-2 reconnaissance plane over Soviet territory.

American officials, wrongly believing that the USSR did not have the technology to shoot-down a plane at high altitude, thought Powers had made disastrous mistakes.

They were also annoyed that he had not destroyed the plane or himself. What, they wondered, had he given-up during his interrogation?

Powers was quickly put on trial. No foreign journalists were allowed to attend, but historical footage survives. In it, we hear a narrator suggesting that Powers’ trial was an ideological battle during which:

Russia directed her venomous attack largely against America itself.

Another contemporary newsreel maintained in the archives of British Pathé, called “President Defends Spying,” includes Dwight Eisenhower’s defense of U-2 planes and their missions. Among other things, the President says:

...no one wants another Pearl Harbor. This means that we must have knowledge of military forces and preparations around the world, especially those capable of massive surprise attacks.

Powers’ high-profile trial—attended by his greatly upset family—was over by August 17, 1960. A guilty verdict was never in doubt.

Powers received a prison sentence of three years plus an additional seven years hard labor at the Vladimir Central Prison.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 22, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"TRIAL of FRANCIS GARY POWERS" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 22, 2015. May 26, 2020.
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