A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE U-2 SPY PLANE PROGRAM

The late 1940s and 1950s were trying times for America. The emerging Cold War escalated the risk of a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union involving use of atomic weapons, including hydrogen bombs. In 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik, the world’s first sat-ellite, tested the world’s first ICBM, and began conducting flights with new advanced bomber aircraft. When these surprising events occurred, there was increasing alarm that the USSR had surpassed the US in both nuclear arms and bomber capability.

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