Arms Race / Space Race

  • Created by: Sasha B
  • Created on: 09-01-16 19:12

Nuclear Arms Race

The two superpowers competed in science and technology, they were trying to develop better weapons than eachother. The USA had already developed the atomic bomb in 1945 so the Soviets had to catch up, they developed their atomic bomb in 1949 - the USA were took by suprise as they thought the Soviets wouldn't develop one until 1953. The USA alllocated 40% of its defence to largely the Command bombing force,lots of money was pumped into developing nuclear weapons. The USSR developed more long range bombers that could hit the USA which triggered a panic called the 'Bomber Gap'. Eisenhower ordered more bombers to be created, however there never was a Bomber Gap it was just in the panic of war that the threat was exaggerated. 

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Space Race

During WWII powerful rockets were created, the superpowers wanted to use this technology too get into space. Eisenhower announced a programme in 1955 to send a man-made satellite. However on October 1957 the Soviets shocked the Americans by sending the first man-made satellite called Sputnik, later they rubbed salt into the wound by sending Sputnik II with a dog named Laika. The USA responded by pouring money into space research, in 1958 the funds payed off and the Americans launched Explorer I sattelite, and NASA was set up in July that year. The USA seemed to be edging ahead but on the 12 April 1961 the Soviets shocked everyone by sending the first human in space, Major Yuri Gagarin. When he returned safely he was celebrated as a hero, Eisenhower responded immediatly by starting the space programme to put a man on the moon. It was a long, difficultt and expensive journey but in July 1969 Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong on the moon.


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Space Race Analysis

The superpowers invested so much money and effort into the sapce race for many reasons, one was that it was simply the cold war rivalry -  the best political system should have the best technology. It was also a powerful propaganda tool, it caught the attention of people all over the world and Soviet and American advances were reported worldwide. However there was also a more evil intention of the Space race, if the country could develop the right technology to go to outerspace then they could apply this technology to all new sort of missiles which could carry nuclear weapons.

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Nuclear Arms Race Continuation

Stockpiles of nuclear weapons were built up in the early 1950's yet Khrushchev was quick to recognise that space technology would make this missiles very important. Engineers from all over the Soviet Union were brought together to set up a top-secret rocket base were they would develop the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, ICBM. Work began on the 15 May 1957 to allow a missile to be fire into space and bought back down on a target in the USA. The USA started to catch up again quickly, the American's developed their own ICBM in 1959, they also introduce Polaris missiles that could be fired from submarines and they were virtually undetectable. In the 1960's America started to pull ahead in the Nuclear Arms Race, however not many people believed this.The US public were alarmed by the fact that the USSR might have more Nuclear weapons. Eisenhower knew this was not the case and was worried of the price of defence, however he couldn't tell anyone how he knew - the U2 spy planes.

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