Apollo Moon Landing

Andrew Griffin

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Background Information

Following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were deadlocked in what came to be known as the Cold War: a battle for supremacy in a variety of areas, but most importantly, nuclear arms and space travel. After a bold promise by John F. Kennedy of a manned lunar mission by the year 1970, the "Space Race" between the US and USSR was on. Billions of dollars were spent by both countries resulting in the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin-USSR) and shortly after, the first man on the moon (Neil Armstrong-US). A wave of nationalism hit the United States where we rallied behind our fellow Americans and what we endearingly refer to as "one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind."

The Moon-doggle (Opponent POV)

The $35 billion spent on the mission to land a man on the moon is not only unnecessary but extremely detrimental to the American society. During this time in the 1960's there is a very real struggle for civil rights in the black community of the United States. Not only is there social inequality between black and whites with regards to treatment and opportunity, but also a very real economic inequality that may be just as challenging. We are spending more money to help put "Whitey on the Moon" than we are to provide opportunities for the black community to climb the social ladder to equality. Before we dream about the stars we need to take a real look at humanity and what is really important: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- all of which are being compromised for the Apollo mission.
Whitey On the Moon v1

The American Spirit (Proponent POV)

The Space Race is more than just an extremely advanced heap of metal and a few men traveling outside of the Earth's atmosphere and reaching the mysterious moon. It serves to show the incredible ability of the human race when cooperating for a common purpose. We need to expend this time, energy and money with the hopes of accomplishing something that has been viewed as impossible by our fellow man over the last million or so years. Just as President John F. Kennedy has highlighted, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."
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Media Bias

The Space Race occurred during a very complex and multi-faceted era of United States History. Not only had the Second World War ended with the ambiguity of international supremacy between the US and USSR, but there were also a large number of African-Americans still fighting for even the slightest sign of equality. For many, the money spent on sending a man to the moon was more than worth it as a way to unite the country, increase our focus on science and technology, and assert our dominance as the United States of America. For many others, however, the billions of dollars spent on space travel could have better been used to feed their families or help their schools in a time of social disarray. Ultimately, these polarized viewpoints may never meet. We know that as 21st Americans, we are proud to have been the first people on the moon. But, if the racial strife and economic injustice were suddenly borne upon us, we may think differently about how we handled the 1960s.

Marxist Criticism

Marxist Criticism is undoubtedly the most prevalent criticism for this event. Because the costs of the space exploration were so gargantuan ($35 billion estimation), the argument about whether or not it was worth it is very real. Ultimately, because we are now in a fairly stable economic climate we can look back on the event as a major victory for the United States science and technology; but if we truly look at all aspects and variables at the time, it may become cloudy. The fact that a few men in power could increase government spending so substantially without any legitimate backlash from the American people shows the power struggle between different classes and careers in our society.
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Cultural Criticism

As evidenced by the song "Whitey on the Moon" shown above, the perceptions of the Apollo Moon Landing for whites and blacks were very different. On one hand, many well to do white families had no problem paying higher taxes to improve the space program and may have even been owners or workers of steel factories or engineering companies that greatly benefited from the demand for their products. On the other, many black families had other things on their mind -- the extreme being the safety of their families and themselves during a time of high racial tensions in the South. It's easy to see that your view of the moon landing was greatly affected by the culture that you were a part of at the time, race being one of the leading factors.

Works Cited

"JFK RICE MOON SPEECH." JFK RICE MOON SPEECH. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.

"Kennedy Asks 1.8 Billion This Year to Accelerate Space Exploration, Add Foreign Aid, Bolster Defense." Kennedy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.

The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.

"Space Race: African American Newspapers Respond to Sputnik and Apollo 11." UNT Digital Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.