On 1 May 1960 a U-2 spy plane was shot down while in Soviet airspace. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was on an aerial reconnaissance mission when he was hit by a surface-to-air missile. He managed to parachute to safety but soon found himself in Soviet hands.

Unaware that the pilot had been captured and the wreckage retrieved, the US government attempted to cover up the event, even going so far as to create a phony image of a U-2 aircraft with fictitious NASA markings on it. Nikita Khrushchev saw an opportunity to embarrass the Eisenhower administration, announcing that a spy plane had been shot down but omitting the details about the captured pilot and wreckage.

The US government continued with its cover-up, still firm in the belief that the pilot was dead and the aircraft destroyed. On May 7 Khrushchev shattered these illusions.

“I must tell you a secret. When I made my first report I deliberately did not say that the pilot was alive and well… and now just look how many silly things the Americans have said.”

The photograph below shows Khrushchev visiting a display of the U-2 wreckage.


Image from Wikipedia

If you are interested in this subject then you may want to take a look at New Vanguard 134: Red SAM: The SA-2 Guideline Anti-Aircraft Missile by Steven J. Zaloga.