Crisis of the Cold War – The U2 Crisis, The Paris Summit & Nuclear Negotiations

Crisis of the Cold War – The U2 Crisis, The Paris Summit & Nuclear Negotiations

The U2 Crisis and the Paris Summit, May 1960

GCSE History Revision - U2 Spy PlaneOne of the key themes of the Cold War was that the USA and the Soviet Union spent a lot of time spying on one another, so that they could get key information about one another’s weapons programmes.

On 1st May 1960, the US was caught red-handed spying on the Soviet Union’s weapons, when one of its U-2 spy planes was shot down whilst flying over the Soviet Union and carrying out its mission of taking photos of ICBM launch sites.

The Paris Summit

The incident caused a scandal, not least because it happened less than two weeks before a conference was supposed to be held in Paris to discuss putting an end to the arms race by banning further weapons tests. When the conference met, Nikita Khruschev stormed out after President Eisenhower refused to apologise over the incident.

On the Brink of World War III

Nuclear negotiations

GCSE History Revision - Nuclear NegotiationsThroughout the 1960s, the USA and the Soviet Union tried to negotiate agreements to end their arms race. Some, like the Paris Summit of 1960, failed.

But in 1963, the Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed, which was an agreement that above-ground nuclear tests would end. However, it was only towards the end of the decade, with the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, that progress began to be made on limiting the overall number of weapons.

Before then, the world reached the brink of nuclear war.