From 1950 to 1990 the US and Russia were embroiled in a battle for dominance over various world countries. To accomplish their goal both nations used reconnaissance to inform them of their opponents' movements. During the Cold War, tension was high and brinkmanship was evident. The smallest event could have caused the world to fall into a nuclear war.
American spy planes had been flying over the Soviet Union taking photographs from 1955 to 1958. The U2 spy planes had been flying at an altitude of 75,000 feet, which was beyond the Soviet Unions ability in the planes and anti aircraft weapons area. The Soviets knew about these planes but did not have the ability to shoot them down because of the high altitudes.
The United States had finalized plans for a very important Paris Summit Conference between the Soviet Union and the western nations in May of 1960.
Disarmament was their main point of discussion. On May 1, 1960 the Soviet Union used a SAM-2 missile to shoot down a U2 plane, piloted by Gary Powers. The Soviets captured Powers, and all of his gear and wreckage from the plane. Powers admitted that he was an American spy. Khrushchev announced a week later, on May 7, that he had captured an American U2 spy plane and its pilot.
In the process of this entire incident Eisenhower and Khrushchev agreed to an exchange of visits. Khrushchev came to the United States in September of 1959. On the first day of the summit, May 15, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev condemned the United Stated for their spy activities and demanded an apology. Eisenhower admitted that he had planes flying over the Soviet Union for the past four years. Eisenhower refused to apologize and Khrushchev stormed out in protest. Before storming out...