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Class Year

2020

Abstract

In the modern era, the notion of space travel is generally one of greater acceptance and ease than in times previously. Moreover, a greater number of nations (and now even private entities) have the technological capabilities to launch manned and unmanned missions into Earth’s Orbit and beyond. 70 years ago, this ability did not exist and humanity was simply an imprisoned species on this planet. The course of humanity’s then-present and the collective future was forever altered when, in 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the world’s first satellite into space, setting off a decades-long completion with the United States to cosmically outperform the other. In the context of the Cold War, the ensuring Space Race was more than friendly completion, rather it was a race to determine who’s military and civil society could produce the most powerful interstellar technologies, which in turn demonstrated the combative readiness of either side.

This paper seeks to examine the Soviet Union’s success during the Space Race (and subsequently, the global Arms Race) and its place within the larger East versus West conflict which occurred in the earlier years of the Cold War. By utilizing academic literature and primary Soviet sources, this paper will analyze how the Space Race allowed the Soviet Union to promote the successes of a Communist government and how such a leadership style served as a positive determinant for advancements in space and the Soviet Union’s premier place in many such

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