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The Sputnik Moment

Started by maurice clark, 08/07/2009 04:18PM
Posted 08/07/2009 04:18PM Opening Post
Just come across a very interesting documentary on YouTube called "The Sputnik Moment".

A very interesting look at the reaction of the USA to the launch of Sputnik. Could be interesting for my students next semester. Some very telling comments during the film. One of the most telling I think was by Charles Van Doren, American Intellectual: "What went wrong? How did a nation of backward peasants forge so dramatically ahead of us in the race to space?" Sounds very familiar, considering some of the comments that appear on other fora here.

Cheers,

Maurice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhJnt3xW2Fc

* Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a day.
* Teach a man to use the internet and he won't bother you for weeks.
Posted 08/10/2009 12:03PM | Edited 08/10/2009 12:04PM #1
Maurice Clark said:

Just come across a very interesting documentary on YouTube called "The Sputnik Moment".

A very interesting look at the reaction of the USA to the launch of Sputnik. Could be interesting for my students next semester. Some very telling comments during the film. One of the most telling I think was by Charles Van Doren, American Intellectual: "What went wrong? How did a nation of backward peasants forge so dramatically ahead of us in the race to space?" Sounds very familiar, considering some of the comments that appear on other fora here.

Cheers,

Maurice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhJnt3xW2Fc

The Sputnik reaction?

"When in trouble
when in doubt
run in circles
scream and shout."

It was tied up in Cold War paranoia. First there was a bomber gap. Then there was a missile gap. In truth, at that time, and far into the sixties, we could easily have cleaned Moscow's clock and they would have been able to do very little about it. The fear of TREMENDOUS RUSSIAN STRIDES was mostly mongered by the very folk Eisenhower warned us against. It's easy to see how that was accomplished...if the Russkies put a satellite in orbit, they must have THOUSANDS of H-bomb loaded ICBMs ready for launch. Ike was well aware this was not the case, not even close, but could not say so and compromise his sources.

Was the sudden hysteria good for NASA or bad? Good in the short term. In the long term? Not So Much. After Apollo the urgency was gone and the manned space program went right in the toilet where it has remained for 40 years. ;-(

Uncle Rod

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