The U-2 Incident II

Lead: On the morning of May 1, 1959, Francis Gary Powers piloting a U-2 spy plane was shot down by elements of the Soviet Union's Air Defense Force.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fallout from the incident went far beyond the fate of Francis Gary Powers. He was tried, convicted and then exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Able in 1962. Khrushchev went to the Paris summit conference on the 15th of May and disrupted it completely, using the U-2 incident as an excuse.

In fact from the very beginning, the Administration had known about the flights and the President had authorized them. The CIA had assured the Administration that no one could survive an attack by a surface to air missile, but had then provided a parachute for the pilot. 

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The U-2 Incident I

Lead: The capture of Francis Gary Powers set back U.S.-Soviet Relations for a dozen years.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: On the morning of May 1, 1959, Francis Gary Powers, an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency climbed into his reconnaissance aircraft and prepared to take off. His aircraft was the U-2, was black and cigar-shaped. Its wings were very long and designed to enable the plane to fly high in rarified atmosphere above 50,000 feet. On the ground the wings had to be supported or the plane would tip over. As the ungainly but somehow elegant U-2 took off into the morning sky over Turkey, neither Powers or his handlers would know that this flight would result in a international incident that would begin the slide of a Russian leader from power, further the chance of change of American administrations and bring a dozen years of icy relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States.


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The Last Days of Citizen Romanov II

Lead: In just minutes it was over, the Romanovs were dead.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: On July 16, 1918, Nicholas Romanov the last of the Russian Emperors and his family were murdered by members of the Bolshevik secret police. Here's what happened. At four in the afternoon, the family went for their usual stroll in the garden. At 10:30 they went to bed. About midnight Yurovsky, the chief of the secret police detail awakened them and told them to dress quickly and come downstairs. He explained that an army opposed to the Bolsheviks was getting close to their prison in Ekaterinburg and the local Soviet had decided that they should be moved. The former tsar came down the steps carrying his son, the boy’s arms tightly wrapped around his father's neck. The rest followed. Young Anastasia held Jimmy, their small spaniel. Down they went to a small basement room, 16 x 18 feet. They were asked to wait, chairs were brought in and the tsar and his wife sat down.  

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Beria (Russia) III

Lead: After clawing his way to the top of the ailing Joseph Stalin's pyramid of bureaucratic terror, Lavrentiy Beria seemed set to succeed the maximum leader.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1938 Stalin brought him to Moscow after Beria had distinguished himself as the bloody enforcer of the Great Purges in Georgia and other southern Soviet provinces near the Caucasus Mountains. He became assistant to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, in the waning days of the purge, and after Yezhov's fall from power and execution, Beria took his place. He became a candidate member of the Politburo and during World War II he sat on the five-member State Defense Committee, which, with Stalin, directed the war effort. Beria was responsible for internal security as well as foreign intelligence operations and the network of forced labor camps he ruled, the Gulag Archipelago, turned out much of the raw material for the Soviet war industry.

Beria (Russia) II

Lead: Of the henchmen of Joseph Stalin, none struck fear in the hearts of Russians quite like Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born of Georgian peasant stock in 1899, Beria became a Marxist sympathizer while attending technical college in Azerbaijan. At the fall of the Russian monarchy, Beria dropped out of school to join the Army, apparently to spread Communist ideas and help undermine morale. When the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional government in the October Revolution, Beria returned home to finish his studies but was soon caught up in his party's counterintelligence service, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or CHEKA.

Beria (Russia) I

Lead: In a history punctuated by rulers noted for their villainy, Russia produced few leaders as efficiently cruel or as feared as Stalin's exterminator, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his long rule over the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin acquired a reputation for ruthlessness and near barbarity in the pursuit and maintenance of his power, yet it was some of his henchmen, anxious to do his bidding and please him, who brought a whole new dimension to the practice of state sponsored terrorism.

Spy Satellites

Lead: It was mid-August 1960. In a White House ceremony, President Dwight D. Eisenhower displayed a United States flag that been recovered from an environmental satellite orbiting the earth. He wasn’t exactly telling the whole truth.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Actually, the flag had been carried into orbit aboard Discoverer XIII and was returned to earth in an ejected capsule which was then recovered from its splash down point northwest of Hawaii by a Navy taskforce. It was the first time an object had been catapulted into earth orbit and brought back without mishap, but this exercise was far more than patriotic chauvinism. The Discoverer program was a ruse, a clever cover-up for a secret reconnaissance operation known as Corona.

The Cossacks- Part II

Lead: In the late sixteenth century, the Cossacks, fierce warriors in service to the Czar of Russia, moved from their traditional homes in the Ukraine and began the occupation and conquest of Siberia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Cossacks settled in southern Russia and the Ukraine beginning in the late 15th century. Cossacks, fierce fighters and skilled horsemen, were nomads, escaped serfs and outlaws many of whom were of Slavic origin. The Cossacks lived in independent settlements and were given virtual autonomy in exchange for protecting the Russian frontier. The largest group of Cossacks, those living on the lower Don River, known as the Don Cossacks, in 1581, under the leadership of Yermak Timofeyevich, crossed the Ural Mountains and wrested control of the small Tartar khanate, “Sibir” – hence the name Siberia, which means “sleeping land.”


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