Bridge of Spies: The Capture of Francis Gary Powers & the Current State of U.S.-Russia Relations

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USCHS Event: Bridge of Spies, Francis Gary Powers

In 1960—during the heart of the Cold War—CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers flew his aircraft on a spy mission “deeper into Russia” than any U.S. pilot had flown before. Over Soviet territory he was shot down, captured, and incarcerated at Lubyanka prison in Moscow. On November 3, Powers’ son—historian Francis “Gary” Powers, Jr.—will join the U.S. Capitol Historical Society to detail the harrowing story of his father’s imprisonment and interrogation, trial for espionage, and the U.S.-Soviet prisoner exchange depicted in Steven Spielberg’s movie, “Bridge of Spies” — which Gary consulted on.

During our webinar, Gary—founder of The Cold War Museum in Virginia—will also discuss the role of President John F. Kennedy in bringing his father home, the U.S. media firestorm, and the Congressional hearings that investigated the circumstances of Powers’ mission and capture. Joining him for this important and timely conversation will be Dr. Andrew Hammond, Historian & Curator at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. During our webinar, Dr. Hammond—a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars—will connect our conversation to current U.S.-Russian relations, including Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and President Biden’s negotiations to bring Brittney Griner and other American prisoners in Russia home.

Like all U.S. Capitol Historical Society webinars, this event is free and open to the public; registration is required.