Space Race (1957 – 1975)

Capitalism versus Communism by Victoria Allen


The Cold War refers to the conflict between the U.S. and the Soviets after WWII. The distrust and opposing ideologies that existed between these two superpowers led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Race to Space.

The Cold War is the battle for the citizens of the world to either live under capitalism or communism.


By the mid-1950's both superpowers were developing nuclear weapons. They knew that nuclear exchange would destroy the world. Instead of nuking one another, they needed another way to sway the rest of the world to their way of thinking and compete for dominance.

Each side sought to prove its superiority in technology, military firepower, and its political ideology. So, beginning in the late 1950's the race to space began.

The winner could use this to solidify their superiority to the world. The victor could use this to say, "My way of life (ideology) is far superior to yours."

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first man made satellite into orbit. It circled the Earth every hour and a half, circling the United States 7 times a day. This made the CIA nervous. What is the satellite doing that we don't know; "Are they spying on us?" Next, Sputnik II was launched with a dog on board. The world saw that the Soviets technology was far more superior to the United States. Allied nations began to wonder if the U.S. could protect them if war ensued.

The space race played a significant part in the Cold War with many domestic changes that afffected both the U.S. and the Soviets psychologically, politically, economically, and ideologically. Patriotism was ignited on both sides. In the United States math and science was being stressed more heavily in schools.


On July 20, 1969, American astronauts won the space race. Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon. He and Buzz Aldrin walked around for three hours. Mike Collins stayed in orbit around the moon.

The Cold War

The space race was a means of competition it demonstrated the aggressiveness of the Cold War with both the capitalist and communist systems trying to succeed one another, proving the superiority of it's own system.