The U-2 Spy Plane and the Missile Gap

A panel discussion was held on concerns over “the missile gap” perceived between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after the launch… read more

A panel discussion was held on concerns over “the missile gap” perceived between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after the launch of Sputnik in October 1957 as well as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s claim that the Soviet Union was producing ICBM’s “like sausages.” Debate on this issue figured in the run-up to the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential election. Drawing upon imagery from the last few U-2 flights over the Soviet Union which had never before been seen in public, the panelists focused on the role of signals intelligence, newly developed photo-reconnaissance satellites, and the U-2 in resolving the missile-gap debate. The panelists accompanied their presentations with slides, and then responded to questions from members of the audience.

Chris Pocock is the author of 50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of Lockheeds Legendary Dragon Lady (Schiffer Publishing; January 1, 2004). Dino Brugioni is a founding senior officer of the CIA National Photographic Interpretation Center.

“The U-2 and the Missile Gap” was the first panel of the forum at the Wilson Center, “Mayday 1960: Reassessing the U-2 Shoot Down,” to examine the role of the U-2 in the missile-gap debate and the political, diplomatic, and intelligence history surrounding downing of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 over the Soviet Union on 1 May 1960. Convened in connection with the 50th anniversary, this panel was held at 2:00 p.m. on April 28, 2010. close

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*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.

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  • Brugioni, Dino A. Senior Analyst (Former) National Photographic Interpretation Center
  • Munteanu, Mircea Associate Wilson (Woodrow) International Center for Scholars->Cold War International History Project
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The U-2 Spy Plane and the Missile Gap

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Program ID:
293227-2
Category:
Public Affairs Event
Format:
Forum
Location:
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
First Aired:
May 22, 2010
Last Aired:
May 23, 2010

Airing Details

  • May 22, 2010 | 1:03pm EDT | C-SPAN 3
  • May 22, 2010 | 7:03pm EDT | C-SPAN 3
  • May 23, 2010 | 1:03am EDT | C-SPAN 3
  • May 23, 2010 | 7:03am EDT | C-SPAN 3
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