Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
The U-2 spy plane mission was simple. After flying around in an American ally’s space, the plane was to slip unnoticed into Soviet airspace and photograph what was below it. If captured, the story would go that the plane was for weather research and got lost. However, the CIA thought that the Soviets didn’t have the weapons or the radar to locate and capture a high altitude plane.
The plan failed miserably. While the plan was for the plane to self-destruct if shot down, the Soviets somehow managed to capture both the plane and the pilot, forcing the Americans to admit to spying on the USSR. Relations between the Soviets and the Americans took an immediate turn for the worse.
The pilot was stuck in the USSR for 2 years. Finally, in February 1962, he was swapped for a Soviet spy.