February 10 - 1962 - The Prisoner Exchange of Gary Powers and Rudolph Abel
When Gary Powers was shot down in his U-2 spy plane over Russia in 1960, the Soviet Union immediately held his capture up as a significant victory over America. The USA stumbled, and while Powers was convicted of espionage and his plane was analyzed and then displayed, the Eisenhower Administration was unsure what to do. It became clear that getting Powers back on American soil was most important. However, this wasn't too easy to pull of, because the actual exchange had to sort out. Fortunately, the US was holding a man who claimed to be a great spy named Rudolph Abel, who was actually a minor KGB agent named Willie Fisher. Abel led a spy ring in New York that had as its greatest achievement losing a hollow nickel with microfilm in it. He was arrested in 1957 after the defection of his chief assistant, who had been recalled to Moscow. The exchange of Powers and Abel was a simple resolution to a massive event, which also is emblematic of the nature of the Cold War.