Star Wars: The Soviet’s Awaken

The launch of Sputnik I on October 5, 1987 was a scientific achievement to be admired by everyone. The United States and the Soviet Union were in the “space race”: who could be the first to launch a satellite into space? Sergei Korolov was the chief designer for Sputnik I and later Sputnik II. However, Sputnik II also carried Laiko, a dog to see if a living organism could last the launch and live in space.

The SSSR or USSR in English initialized the words Sputnik-Sputnik-Sputnik-Rocket.
The SSSR or USSR in English initialized the words Sputnik-Sputnik-Sputnik-Rocket.

The successful launch of Sputnik I had varying degrees of enthusiasm around the world. Soviet bourgeois newspapers and magazines boasted about the new achievement towards Soviet science and technology. The impartials saw it as socialism being more successful and a major victory over capitalism. While the United States saw the launch as accidental or insignificant. This distinction was important for the United States to make because of the failed attempts under the Eisenhower administration.

The United States saw the military significance behind the Soviet Union being able to send two satellites into space. First, that the Soviet Union had the ability launch nuclear warheads that would be successful in hitting the United States. Second, the Soviet physics and mathematics had surpassed that of the United States. In response to this realization, the United States created the National Defense Education Act in 1958. The NDEA provided funding to improve American schools and to promote postsecondary education. This marked the beginning of the United States federal government in education.

Sources:

Great Victory of Soviet Science

http://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Defense-Education-Act

Images from:

Launch of Sputnik Images

21 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Soviet’s Awaken

  1. The title captures the sense in which the Soviet launching of Sputnik I was a “wake up” call for the United States, as it forced the American government to recognize that the Soviets were ahead in this particular field of science and technology. For the Soviet people, the launching of Sputnik was a moment of pride, as it demonstrated that they had fulfilled the promise of their leaders to catch up with and overtake the West.

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  2. Very interesting post! It’s interesting that this was a crucial point where the US felted threatened. The ability to launch this satellite was crucial for the Soviets. Back in the early 1950s the Soviets threatened the US with the ability to launch a nuclear weapon by air. While they did not have the capability, they needed something to instill fear into the US. The launching of this satellite gave the Soviets the legitimacy they needed.

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  3. Loved the title. I think that space race was very good for the United States regarding space travel. Though we were interested in space I wonder if we would have ever ventured out into it if the Russians hadn’t launched its satellites.

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  4. Awesome title! I could not help but think of the movie October Sky, and how Americans viewing Sputnik was a key point for concern. Interestingly enough, the movies protagonist, Homer Hickum is actually a VT Grad!

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  5. Great Post Abby. Great title too! How much do you think German scientists, blueprints and technology contributed to this?

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  6. Awesome title. Very good post covering the beginning of the space race. It’s very interesting to think from a technological standpoint, at the time people viewed the accomplishment as evidence of how socialism was superior to capitalism.

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  7. I really liked reading your post and, of course, love the title! The launching of Sputnik I certainly was significant for not just Russia but the rest of the world as well. I was unaware that the National Defense Education Act was implemented because the U.S. found Russia to be surpassing them in education… so is it because of Russia that we are Virginia Tech students today? *food for thought*
    Great post Abby!

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  8. Your title is very creative and I learned a lot from your post. The Soviets launching Sputnik into space really showed the United States how far behind they were. Thus, this incident pushed the United States into improving their schools and promoting postsecondary education. The United States felt inferior to the Soviets and this caused America to further improve their educational programs. Your post was very insightful.

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  9. Your title really caught my attention! I find it funny how the US was quick to dismiss the Soviet’s achievement simply because the Soviets had beaten the Americans to it. I was also unaware that Sputnik was the reason the US government has become invested in US educational systems. Great post!

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  10. Just like everyone else I’d like to say great title! The space race is always interesting to read about! The fact that even with everything going on in the world at that time, the Soviet, and humans in general were able to focus on stuff ‘out of this world’ is amazing. The launch of Sputnik was a major achievement for the Soviet but also for human kind as a whole. It’s times like that when it’s beneficial to look beyond the differences or competitions between different nations and appreciate what humans can achieve.

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  11. A couple of comments on this post: 1) Killer title! It definitely was appropriate for this post. 2) Great discussion about the role that technology and science played in the early years of the Cold War. For some other perspectives, you might want to check out Logan’s post on Akademgorodok and some of the other posts on the hydrogen bomb this week! 3) Make sure you go back and fix the date on the Sputnik launch like other commenters have mentioned!

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  12. I’m actually talking about this subject in another class and it’s fascinating how terrified the United States was of Sputnik, even though it was just a satellite. It was pretty embarrassing for America that the Soviet Union, their perceived “backwards” enemy, beat them into space. Also, poor dog.

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  13. For the United States, it seems there was no greater incentive to get into the spirit of contest than the success of the enemy. When they saw multiple successful launches, they had to beat that ‘high score.’ That’s sort of juvenile, but I am glad we were able to reach what level of accomplishment we have today.

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  14. Good post! I also blogged about the launch of Sputnik and the ramifications on the relationship between the Soviet Union and the West. I think this was really the turning point in getting the Cold War off the ground, because it was the first time the United States had really lost…at anything. The launch of Sputnik not only demonstrated the technological superiority of the USSR, but also demonstrated the strength of their economy, their science and technology sector, and their commitment to a particular cause.

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  15. Really good post. I particularly liked seeing the different views that the Soviet Union and United States had for each other during the initial launch of Sputnik missions. The threat that the US felt and the dominance that the USSR felt fueled the fire for the space race. The launching of Sputnik I not only opened up new avenues for science & technology, but also launched the beginning of the Space Race. The only thing that kind of caught me off guard was the date listed for Sputnik I’s launch, I believe that it was 1957. Great post!

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  16. Awesome title, and informative post! I like that you talked about how it affected both the Soviets and the USA, as well as the specific reasons for the USA. I also liked the images used. One thing did throw me off a little, in the first sentence the date is listed as 1987, when I think it’s 1957. Good post!

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  17. Great post. First off, I liked the title of the post, very creative. Second, I enjoyed how you compared the Soviet Union and the United States at the time, showing the differing sides on how the launches were viewed. Also, the fact that you wrote about what the launching capabilities of the Soviet Union meant to the United States, such as the now possible event of a nuclear launch, made the event that much more significant.

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  18. I particularly like how you analyzed the effect that the launch of Sputnik I had on the United States. Sputnik was so much more than a vessel sent to space. It represented intellectual and technological superiority over the United States, whom used this as fuel to increase the emphasis and funding for education and space program. Today, a similar education race, or at least comparison, is made with China. You often hear how Chinese students are so far advanced in comparison to United States students in various disciplines such as science. Thanks for sharing!

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      1. Great title, it really drew me in. i like how you connected the success of the Soviets in space to the lack of success for the United States and how the Soviets getting into space first was a sort of kick in the butt that got the United States moving to catch up.

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