Why the United States Joined the Space Race

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In 1957 Russia set the bar in technological advances against the United States when for the time ever in history Russia sent a spacecraft into orbit. While the Cold War dwindled down and the space race took off the United States felt the pressure. The space race demonstrated the precedence for the United States to take charge against the communist Russia. So with this the United States joined the race to space with President Kennedy pushing is at full force. Kennedy sought out an inspirational goal that would surely motivate the country. The fear that the Soviet Union could launch a missile from anywhere in the world gave Kennedy all the support he needed to join the race. Section I explains why the United States joined the space race using the realism theory; Section II details how the individual level of analysis brought America into space using the realism theory; Section III will qualify the decision making-progress; Section IV will provide a closing to why the United States joined the space race. Realist Theory on the Space Race

The decision of the United States to join the space can be seen through the realist theory. The realism perspective views the nation-state as the most important actor on the world stage. Realist view world politics as an endless repetitive, struggle for power much like the relationship shared between the United States and Russia. After the failure at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba “Kennedy wanted to link his administration to the dream of reaching the stars.”1 The United States feared that the communist Russia would soon be, if not already, advancing past America not only in technology but also in missilery. Such advances brought “fear of domestic spying” which “became a powerful force in the American life in the postwar era.”2 These fears represent the realist perspective as America and Russia struggle for power in the desire to take the world stage. With both country’s uncertainty of the others intentions the race developed into a...
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