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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

U-2 Spy Plane

In 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev warned the world that his nation was making “missiles like sausages.” Fears of a rising — and extremely hostile — communist superpower were thus reignited in Washington, and only three years after the Russians had conducted their first successful test of a hydrogen bomb. Khrushchev accompanied his warning with a threat to shoot down any NATO aircraft that entered Soviet airspace.

Nevertheless, that summer, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes’ very first mission over the Soviet Union.

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