February 10, 2013
COLD WAR DRAMA ON "THE BRIDGE OF SPIES"
Berlin, Germany (JFK+50) In a dramatic scene of the Cold War, the Soviet Union & United States exchanged prisoners convicted of espionage on the Glienicke Bridge 51 years ago today, February 10, 1962.
American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers* along with American student Frederic Pryor were exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel.**
The Glienicke Bridge
Spanning the Havel River
Photo by Lienhard Schulz (2005)
The Glienicke Bridge, which spans the Havel River & connects the cities of Potsdam & Berlin, has been described as one of the few places where the USSR & US could make prisoner exchanges without involving third parties.
The bridge, which was to be the scene of more exchanges in 1964, 1985 & 1986, came to be known as "The Bridge of Spies."
*Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977) born in Jenkins, Kentucky, was a graduate of Milligan College. He was commissioned in the USAF as a 2nd Lt. & recruited by the CIA.
Powers, who was shot down by a Soviet MiG on May 1, 1960, was convicted of espionage & sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Kelly Johnson & Gary Powers
**Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (1903-1971), born in the UK to ethnic Germans from Russia, served in the Red Army & the KGB.
Abel arrived in the US in Nov 1948 where he would pose as an artist & photographer. He was arrested in June 1957 by the FBI, found guilty of espionage & sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Rudolf Ivanovich Abel
1990 USSR Stamp