The Soviet Space Program Role within the Cold War Essay


Space journey became a reality within the twentieth century due to the impartial efforts of the Soviet Union and the United States. As the 2 world tremendous powers, these nations engaged in a fierce competitors for house supremacy through the cold war era. The rivalry between the 2 powers was fuelled by the perceived political and navy profit that house supremacy would bestow on the pioneering nation. Strickland (1965) asserted that the American and Soviet space programs have been a scientific and technological competition that might determine the stability of power between in the world. From the mid 1950s, the Soviet Union launched into ambitious area packages. The political influence of success in space ventures made the house program a priority with prime Soviet leaders. The capacity of the Soviets to concentrate human and materials resources on precedence goals led to seen outcomes from the projects and this offered a problem to the United States. This paper will argue that the Soviet space program performed a significant position in the development of the communist state during the Cold War Era.

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The paper will start by offering an outline of the Cold War so as to highlight the circumstances that led to the house race between the US and the USSR. It will then give details of how the area race competitors took form and outline a few of the aims the Soviet Union had for its area program. A evaluate of the brief term and lengthy-time period penalties of investing in the space program might be provided.

Over View of the Cold War

The finish of World War II in 1945 led to the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as the 2 world superpowers. While the 2 nations had fought as allies in the war the years after saw an emergence of great political and military rivalry between the two. The rivalry between the two was principally pushed by the ideological difference that existed on the two sides (Watson 2002). Each facet needed to show the supremacy of its ideology with the Soviet Union favouring communism while the United States supported capitalism. This Ideological battle led to growing antagonism between the 2 tremendous powers. A army confrontation between them was not potential since they both had arsenals of nuclear weapons and direct fight might escalate to mutual nuclear destruction.

The antagonism therefore resulted in a cold struggle which was characterized by proxy wars, arms races and a spread of propaganda. The chilly warfare additionally led to an antagonistic relationship between the USSR and the West leading to the conception of an “iron curtain” that divided the East of Europe from the West (Zinn 2002). Countries on the East facet of the Iron Curtain have been beneath Soviet affect they usually had a poor relationship with the West. Both nations tried to increase their spheres of affect on the earth by spreading their ideologies. To aid in the expansion of sphere of affect, the two rivals sought to prove their dominance over each other from a political, economic, and navy perspective. One of the spheres where the 2 superpowers sought dominion was in area travel.

Formation of the Competition

The Cold War competitors between the US and the USSR was the only most necessary issue within the growth of the Soviet area program. Since missile and space capabilities had been deemed integral for every superpower, area applications enjoyed the unwavering help of the Supreme Soviet management (Tarasenko 1994).The competition between the Soviet and the United States area program was a direct result of the main technologies developed after the top of World War II. Hans (1985) paperwork that inside 10 years of the Second World War ending, the United States had been capable of construct and successfully deploy an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

The Soviets additionally endeavoured to give you rockets that had the identical intercontinental capabilities. However, the rockets designed by the Soviets needed to be bigger to be able to accommodate the heavier and fewer efficient nuclear warheads that the Soviets had in their arsenal. This growth of rockets able to carrying heavy warheads midway around the globe paved the way for space exploration since the identical rockets could be used to launch artificial satellites into earth orbit with little modification. The growth of the ICBM was subsequently the catalyst to space exploration by the Soviets and the United States (Goldman 1966).

October four, 1957 is a big date in world history since it’s the day that the Soviets efficiently launched Sputnik 1: the world’s first artificial satellite. With the launch of this satellite, the race into space was on and space operations gained great political and symbolic importance for the 2 tremendous powers (Goldman 1966). Historians agree that the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite tv for pc by the USSR in 1957 officially marked the beginning of a space race that may proceed for the next three many years. Sputnik 1 succeeded in shifting the US-USSR energy confrontation into house.

The renowned American fiction author Arthur Clarke asserted a number of days after the launch of the Sputnik 1 that “the United States turned a second-rate energy” (McQuaid 2007, p.373). The Eisenhower administration’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that the Soviet satellite tv for pc success had dealt a severe blow to America’s world standing and shifting global steadiness towards the US (Killian 1977). This perception that the Soviet satellite tv for pc had shifted the stability of political and diplomatic power from Washington to Moscow led to the channelling of serious monetary sources to the United State’s area program to allow it to compete with the Soviet efforts.

How the Space Program was to Serve the State

The Space Program was imagined to be of use to the State in numerous important ways. To begin with, the program was imagined to be a tangible demonstration of the competence of the government. Hans (1985) reveals that from the early Sixties, the visible achievements in space technology became a extensively accepted measure of national competence. A speech to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics by the NASA Chief Glennan Keith asserted that Space had turn into “the primary symbol of functionality in all aspects of science and expertise” (McQuaid 2007, p.386). Advance in space technology were subsequently demonstrations of the competence of the Soviet rulers.

In the early days, this system was to behave as a potent propaganda device by the communist regime. The Soviets and the US had been in constant competitors and each success was used to signify the dominance of the Soviet regime. The preliminary success of this system, particularly in the face of failure by the Americans preliminary attempt to launch a satellite tv for pc, was pointed to as tangible proof of the technological and political superiority of socialism (Shelton 1967). An important characteristic of the Soviet area program is that it did not current any situations of house failure. The state sought to erase any reminiscence of failure and as a substitute current an area history that was flawless. Gerovitch (2011) highlights that the Soviet narrative consisted of excellent cosmonauts engaging in flawless missions with assistance from the unfailing Soviet technology. This was in distinction to the American space program that was open to public scrutiny making failures apparent to most people and the world. The Soviets had been capable of current their program as superior therefore underscoring the superiority of socialism over capitalism.

The Soviet space program was to function an expression of the technological utopianism that the communist management hoped to foster amongst its citizenry. The communism government claimed to be working towards the belief of a utopian society for its people. The program demonstrated the aspirations of the Soviets to both rework and dominate nature from earth as much as the boundless realm of outer area. The domination undertones in the Soviet house program are evident from the truth that the soviet equivalence for the American phrase “space exploration” was “conquering and mastering of space” Gerovitch 2011). Each advance in the program was to be analogous to the creation of the communist utopian society.

Did the Space Program Serve its Purpose?

The Soviet space program was in a position to fulfil a few of the objectives that the federal government had intended for it. It helped within the erasure of the reminiscence of the oppressive Stalin era. During his leadership as Communist Party Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev launched into elaborate steps to de-Stalinize Soviet society. A main goal of the communist leaders was to bring again the original revolutionary aspirations for a communist utopia and dismantle the cultural reminiscence of Stalinist terror. The successful area program was used to symbolize a leap from the dreadful Stalin period and the move to a futuristic utopia the place the Soviets experienced complete liberation. The Soviet leap into area was offered by the leaders as a leap into an period of freedom (Gerovitch 2011).

The program succeeded in highlighting Russia’s technological might and forcing the US and the remainder of the world to acknowledge this. Before the space program, there was no onerous evidence that the Soviets had know-how that might compete favourably with the United States (Zinn 2002). The navy capability of the US exceeded that of the Soviets since they had better delivery techniques for his or her nuclear warheads. However, advances made by the Soviet space program pressured the US to reconsider this notion and the Central Intelligence Agency began to give special concentrate on the missile capabilities of the Soviets. The United States was compelled to divert vital funds to its personal house program because of the Soviet success (Gibney & George 1965). The touchdown of Apollo 11 on the moon was in directed response to the perceived challenge from the Soviet Union. The Soviets had already proved their technological supremacy by orbiting a man across the earth and interesting finishing up a robotic moon flight (Launius 2001).

A model of the best Soviet state and its residents was projected by way of the program. The Communism beliefs of patriotism, collectivism, and endurance were personalized in the form of the Soviet cosmonauts. Following the historic spaceflight by the Soviet cosmonaut Gagarin Yuri in 1961, the Secretary of the Communist get together Nikita Khrushchev declared that “hero-cosmonauts are people who embody the fantastic traits of the member of the communist society… their deeds are pushed by the love for Motherland, sense of public responsibility, and noble beliefs of communism” (Chernenko 1963, p.92). The Communist celebration was due to this fact able to encourage conformity and obedience to authority by the residents through the house program.

Short-Term Gains from the Program

The house program served as an overt display of soviet technological energy. Even earlier than the top of World War II, the Unite State’s intelligence neighborhood had been cautious about growing Soviet technological capabilities. The success of the Soviet space program proved to the US that Soviet technology had indeed grown to rival its own. The Soviet space program achieved its function of presenting the state as a worthy opponent to the US. The Soviets engaged in intelligence work to seek out out what the US space project was attempting to achieve. They would then proceed to do it earlier than subsequently gaining great prestige within the worldwide sphere. Siddiqi (2003) documents that the Soviets took to the behavior of besting America effort in area projects. For example, the Soviets made it their mission to fly the primary man on the moon and put the primary lady in house. The Soviet government devoted enormous assets to the publicizing of the USSR’s house achievements each to a domestic and overseas audience (Andrews & Asif 2011).

The deterrent effects of the space program cannot be understated. By publicly displaying the dramatic house results, the Soviet Union was capable of highlight its army capability. Continental US was no longer protected from the large arsenal of weapons in Soviet possession. The Soviet house program served the crucial function of demonstrating the supposed functionality of the USSR to defend its folks towards any aggression by any exterior drive. Prados (1982) reveals that house technologies by their nature have been tied to a bunch of army considerations. Advances in house expertise therefore signified will increase in army capabilities of the country.

In addition to the rise in military capability offered by the space program, the project provided the illusion of safety. The first cosmonauts were younger fighter pilots and they inherited the rhetoric of struggle. The Soviet leaders asserted that these young worriers were storming into space for the sake of the motherland. Gerovitch (2011) reveals that regardless of the cosmonauts being presented as peacetime heroes, they wore navy uniforms thereby sending a double message. While the astronauts have been never engaged in any battle, they were made to evoke the imagery of warriors in combat. The Space rush between the US and the Soviet Union occurred hardly a decade after the tip of the Second World War. At this time, the memories of this devastating war have been contemporary in people’s minds.

The area program served the crucial objective of legitimizing the ability of soviet leaders. Soviet leaders presented the success of the space missions as an indication of their proficiency as political leaders. This is best elaborated by the staged occasions of welcoming cosmonauts who were photographed nest to the current party leader and the enduring pictures disseminated to the general public through television, newspapers, and postcards. Soviet leaders used the house program to supply public spectacle during essential occasions. For instance, the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite was scheduled to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution (Launius 2001). This success of the Sputnik 1 was hailed as a success of the communist system and its current leadership. The space program was due to this fact able to enhance the morale of the regime and the Soviet public. Gerovitch (2011) reviews that a section of the Soviet public responded to information of the regime’s space triumphs with wild enthusiasm.

After the Second World War, the Soviet Union was undergoing a reconstruction to rehabilitate the nation each physically and politically. The nationalistic fervour of the nation had suffered main blows because of Stalin’s suppressive regime and the devastating struggle that had led to the lack of up to 24 Soviet citizens. The Khrushchev regime used the aeronautical and cosmonautic feats to stir nationalistic sentiments. NASA (2009) paperwork that these efforts had been profitable and the daybreak of Sputnik 1 in 1957 led to a return to the nationalistic fervour, that had all however disappeared in previous years. With an increase in nationalistic sentiments, the Communist government was capable of easily get the individuals to abide by state insurance policies for the sake of the motherland.

The Soviet area program gave the Soviet leadership a huge psychological advantage within the Cold War. In the years instantly following the launch of Sputnik 1, Soviet leaders were eager to level to the lack of progress in house exploration by the United States. Even the US administration acknowledged the psychological features made by the USSR and advisors to the Eisenhower administration asserted that a profitable US house program would be essential to attenuate the psychological benefits which the USSR had acquired due to its space accomplishments (NASA 2009).

The Soviet Union used its house program to underscore the coverage of detente with the US. The two superpowers had already acknowledged that a military confrontation between them would be catastrophic. Starting from the Nineteen Seventies, the Soviet and the US embarked on a policy geared toward easing tensions between them (Hoffmann & Fleron 1980). Because the area operations had popular enchantment, the two nations used them to underscore their sincerity in easing of tensions. Hans (1985) paperwork that in 1975; three American astronauts and two Soviet cosmonauts met in house and shook hands. This extremely symbolic project was a hit and the 2 superpowers have been in a position to reveal their dedication to better relations sooner or later.

The space program additionally served as a tool for overseas affairs. The Soviet house program was used with great effectiveness to assist the conduct of overseas affairs by the Soviet leadership (Turkevich 1966). While the Soviet house program was began in great secrecy, this system gradually changed to accommodate worldwide scientists who may use the Soviet amenities to perform analysis in house. The program therefore offered an atmosphere by which foreign policy might be carried out amongst rival nations.

An necessary perform carried out by the satellites launched by the Soviets was monitoring arms movement within the US. By the early Seventies, the 2 world powers were beginning to have misgivings regarding the policies of arms proliferation that that they had previously engaged in. The US and the Soviet Union therefore made a number of arms management agreements to limit the weapons on both sides (Abrams 2006) Soviet remark satellites have been used to verify that the US was abiding by the terms of the settlement. Without the usage of these satellites, the agreements would have been of little use since there can be no means to independently verify that the terms had been being adopted by the US.

Long -Term Consequences of the Space Race

The Soviet authorities invested enormous sources of their house program to take care of their lead on the Americans. These huge investments had a variety of noteworthy lengthy-term implications on the Soviet nation.

State Context

A main end result of the space race is that the Soviet Union as capable of establish itself as a pacesetter in space exploration. The Communist state was capable of achieve supremacy in space operations because of its funding in the area program. The Cold War period witnessed the greatest development in space know-how as the 2 superpowers raced to outdo one another in house-primarily based expertise. The Soviet Union gained a wealth of experience in house travel due to its early expose to rocket expertise. The nation became the authority in house operations and although the US achieved higher success in operating manned house crafts, the Soviets held the leadership in operation of area stations and have been in a position to establish a close to-everlasting presence in house (Kay 1995).

The space program aided within the improvement of versatile research and growth facilitates within the Soviet States. Before the house race, the USSR suffered from a lack of modernized facilities for technological analysis. The drive for space supremacy necessitated the institution of recent services to help in the development of space know-how. Tarasenko (1994) notes that because of the support from the Soviet leadership, monetary sources had been dedicated for the building of infrastructure to support missile testing and space operations. The infrastructure established during the area race continues for use for house exploration by the Russian authorities.

The Soviet area program helped assure the security of the state from an American assault all by way of the Cold War era. Soviet safety was assured by the success of its space program. From the onset, the navy had a stake in the improvement of the space program (Hardesty & Gene 2007). As this system progressed, the Soviet missiles capabilities additionally grew with it. The US was not protected against a Soviet nuclear assault due to its geographical isolation because the Soviets had proved that they had the potential to launch missiles for distances exceeding halfway around the world.

In the long run, the Soviet space program didn’t act as a unifying issue for the Soviet people. From the Nineteen Seventies, the space program received lots of criticism from most people and the media. Kay (1995) information that strange residents expressed deep resentment over the cost and secrecy of the space program. The state imposed great restrictions on the information that made its way to the public domain. The folks of the Soviet Union felt that the secrecy surrounding the program was attribute of communist rule. The residents additionally objected to the glorification of spaceflight in the Soviet Union.

Military Context

While the early development of area programs by the US and the USSR were seen as a matter of national prestige, space-based techniques began taking part in crucial roles in the security implementations of the two competing superpowers. The military significance of the Soviet area program may be deduced from the dearth of separation of army and civilian space activity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created by the United States to concentrate on the national civilian area effort and accentuate the division between the navy and the civilian scope of the Unite State’s house program (Clowse 1981). While the US house program had a clear civilian mandate and a particular army part, the USSR positioned all its area activities beneath the Ministry of General Machine-Building, which was a army industrial ministry (Tarasenko 1994).

The Soviets typically used innovative area expertise for army purposes. For example, the Soviet Vostok spacecraft that was designed and used to hold the primary cosmonaut into space was modified and used as a reconnaissance spacecraft by the Soviet authorities (Levine 1994). The Soviet Air Defence Forces (VPVO) made use of the space technology to enhance the security of the Soviet States. Specifically, this department of the army made use of the early warning satellite tv for pc systems to observe any imminent missile risk against the USSR. The army also developed an intricate anti-satellite tv for pc system that was meant to destroy enemy satellites within the event of a full-scale war between the 2 super powers.

The Soviet space program greatly enhanced the ability of the nation to spy on other nations. The big advances in space primarily based imaging technologies are a direct results of the area rate. In the primary decade of the Cold War, the two superpowers engaged in spying missions towards one another. Airborne sensing was the preferred means of reconnaissance and the US used high altitude planes for reconnaissance on Soviet territory. McDougall (1985) reveals that during the Fifties, the Soviet Union and the US used high altitude reconnaissance plane to collect images of intelligence worth serving to them to formulate missile-targeting options and monitor the development of one another’s army.

However, use of planes for reconnaissance was limiting because it required a violation of the airspace of the opposite nation. The aircrafts were also weak to missile attacks as was demonstration by the capturing down of the US spy plane, the U-S, over Soviet air in 1960 (Steinberge 1998). The Space program supplied a chance to develop technologies that would significantly increase the spying capabilities of the Soviets. Soviet scientists developed satellites equipped with excessive decision cameras able to collecting intelligence knowledge over international territories. Over the period of the cold method, Soviet satellites took hundreds of images of strategic significance particularly on US territory (Steinberg 1998).

Economic Context

Soviet investment in the competition within the area race contributed to the technological development within the nation. By the late Nineteen Sixties, the Soviet house program had expanded into an entire spectrum of house research geared in direction of the development of applications for commercial, scientific, and army use (Tarasenko 1994). The Soviet Space program stimulated technological growth that led to the attainment of scientific information that improved the effectivity of machines. NASA (2009) declares that space packages were able to act as catalysts for the development of new technology. Space engineering required components to have nice precision and reliability in order to avoid catastrophic failures. Developments in the Soviet area program therefore stimulated the event of reliable technologies that had each high precision and extreme reliability. The scientific information obtain from this was transferred to the mainstream industries. Improved manufacturing procedures were due to this fact developed due to the technical data obtained from the space program.

The Soviet funding in area led to the formation of recent corporations that sought to supply specialised providers to the sector or exploit the technical know-how developed by the space program. Tarasenko (1994) states that a number of the gear used by the house program was procured from native firms. The progress and improvement of the space trade due to this fact fuelled the development of those complementary firms. These companies enhanced the financial system of the nation by providing items and companies for the local and worldwide markets.

One direct financial good thing about the Soviet house program is that it created employment alternatives for the professionals who labored within the sector. As the space program expanded, extra expert employees and scientists were employed by the Soviet state. Considering the size of the Soviet house packages, the annual payroll was over four billion dollars by the mid Sixties Kay (1995). This money went again into the national financial system as workers spent their income on items and services in the USSR.

The Soviets had little financial motivation for embarking on their house packages. Even so, the house program had some financial impacts on the nation. The first impression what that these project led to the diversion of monumental resources to fund space know-how and missions. Strickland (1965) states that the Soviets did not spare assets in growing their area packages and cash for this system was supplied immediately from the highest Soviet leadership. Significant monetary costs had been incurred by the Soviet space program. While the general public confirmed little concern for these huge prices in gentle of the success of the program in the course of the late Fifties, the public notion begun to change from the 1960s. As the USSR suffered from an financial downturn that resulted in food shortages and inflation, the public turned dissatisfied with the exorbitant value of the space program.


The importance of the Soviet area program for the development of the communist state can be deduced from the large funding that the top Soviet leaders made to the program. This program was in a position to run with the complete help of the government as much as the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The area engineers and scientists had been extremely regarded members of the society and their work was a matter of national satisfaction. The nationalistic sentiments continued to be a major element of Soviet house innovation. The finish of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union marked the end of the Soviet area program. While the program continued to exist in some kind as the Russian space program, the dearth of funding and severe budget cuts decreased the program to a shadow of its earlier status.


The paper set out to present that the Soviet area program performed a significant position in the Soviet Union’s growth within the Cold War Era. It started by highlighting how the Cold War got here into existence and analysing how the competition between the two superpowers took form. The paper has revealed that the area race was attributable to preliminary success by the Soviet government in area exploration. Soviet leaders used the space program as a potent tool of propaganda. Individual leaders exploited the success of the house program for their own political ends with a lot of the Communist Leaders manipulating the symbolic significance of the program to attain their very own objectives.

The paper has demonstrated how the Soviet army benefited from navy expertise and acted as a significant end user of operation house methods. The State was in a position to use the technical information acquired from the space program for earthbound know-how thereby fostering technological advancement in the USSR. The paper has outlined the assorted quick term and long term consequences of the area race between the US and the USSR. From the discussions introduced on this paper, it is evident that whereas the area race resulted in navy and scientific benefits for the Soviets, the communist Leaders reaped the greatest advantages through their use of this system for propaganda purposes.


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Type Essay
Pages 17
Words 4589

Modern Warfare
Language 🇬🇧 English

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