US Actions in World War I A point that has been studied by many is for what reason were the U-2s flown over Russian territory in the first place. Eisenhower claimed to want to “get a better handle on Soviet capabilities.” (Judge and Langdon, 135). Meaning that he wanted to know if the Russians were producing more weapons, such as IBMs. The American people were also worried that there was a ‘missile gap’ favoring Russia. Eisenhower also wanted to know by how much the United States was behind, if they were, and Russia would not disclose that information.
Specific information regarding the war was kept secret on both sides for several reasons. Eisenhower could not admit his source of information that there was no ‘missile gap’ for fear of jeopardizing the U-2 missions and so people would not just assume that they would surely win this war and let their defenses down. It would also be possible that people would be angry with him for committing espionage during peace time. Khrushchev also did not admit that he knew of the U-2s for the sake of making Russia still appear strong and able to defend themselves against outside powers. Also, to protect himself from his own government, who would jump at the sign of weakness and kick him out of office and take over for themselves.
Another question asked by many researchers is what was President Eisenhower's reasoning behind the decisions he made about the U-2 incident. Primarily, Eisenhower put out a cover story about the downed spy plane for fear of compromising the U-2s and to appear innocent to espionage. However, Khrushchev exposed the plane as a spy plane, putting Eisenhower in a tough position. If he continued with his cover story, it may backfire on him because he did not know whether Powers had admitted anything or not. If he discontinued the cover story, then he would be the to blame for espionage. If he accepted responsibility, then he would be the first United States president to admit that his nation practiced peacetime espionage. If he did not accept responsibility, it would appear that he had so little control that his subordinates could trigger a major crisis without his knowledge. Also, Eisenhower decided not to apologize to Khrushchev, making it appear that the United States is more dominant by not showing remorse for actions that were felt necessary, causing more problems with the USSR and U.S. relationship. Eisenhower was also convinced that Khrushchev “was using the U-2 incident as a pretext to wreck the summit.” (Judge and Langdon, 149)
Similarly, the reasons behind Khrushchev's reactions to...