The Effect of the Cold War on Stem Education

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The Effect of the Cold War Arm’s Race on STEM Occupations during the Cold War Ketib Oldiais
Mr. Kelley
IB Asian and European History HL

A. Plan of Investigation 5 marks
During the Cold War, the struggle for power between the communists of Soviet Russia and the pro-democracy politicians of the United States escalated in numerous proxy wars, acts of espionage, and potential nuclear warfare. Behind it all however, the Cold War was a breeding ground for competition in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. From the 1960s, upon the spark of the Space Race with the Soviet Launch of Sputnik, to the 1990s with the reunion of East and West Germany, the Cold War was a period of increase in occupations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Using statistical data during the Cold War’s time frame related to this increase, we can ask the question—to what extent did the Cold War effect the number of occupations related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Answering such a question will provide us with the necessary details in understanding why and how the increase of such occupations occurred specifically during the Cold War compared to other historical eras. For the sake of keeping this research paper within the word count limit, the term “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics”, will be shortened to STEM.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which STEM related variables of the Cold War such as the space race, acts of espionage, proxy wars, as well as the improvement of military weapons, affected the statistics regarding STEM related occupations at the time. To achieve the purpose of providing an answer to the research question, I will utilize statistical data from before, during, and after the Cold War. This data will be presented in such a way that they may be compared to each other, providing the understanding that there was indeed an increase and decrease of...
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