The Space Race was important to U.S history because of the significance of the battle between democratic society and totalitarian communism, because it brought an end to the Cold War, and because it led into further joint ventures between the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia), including the first space station. (http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gal114/gal114.htm)) This 18 year long race between the two nations for international superiority via space and the transportation needed to get there was seen as a new level of pressure put on the United States to come out on top.
The Soviet Union was putting us to a test of "cold war competition" in which they believed they had military and technological superiority over the United States. http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gal114/SpaceRace/sec600/sec610.htm They knew that if it could be proven to everyone that they were in the lead of the battle for the furthest advanced nation technologically, that more people would trust in the ways of totalitarianism. But, President Kennedy wanted to impress the masses and beat the Soviets to the moon. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, and started the tense battle between the two countries. http://www.newseum.org/cybernewseum/exhibits/dateline_moon/space.htm The leaders of both nations agreed that it was extremely important that their country come out on top to prove the military strength of their land paramount.
The Space Race eventually brought an end to the Cold War. This Cold War was a 44 year period of competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in which each country shared the perception that the other had hostile intentions and could overpower the other's military at the drop of a hat with weapons of mass destruction. www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/coldwar.html Since the United States reached the moon first, it was made clear to everyone that they had won the space race which, in turn, through...
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