Sputnik, Eisenhower, Cold War, Satellites, Missiles, Space, NASA
On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, and the Space Age had arrived. While not an American achievement, Sputnik stands as a significant juncture in United States history. This thesis explores the resulting American political crisis, its development in the final three months of 1957, and the impact Sputnik had on American life. The thesis also examines the social and political context of the Sputnik crisis and will challenge some long-standing analysis of how America's reaction to the Soviet satellite developed. To accomplish this task, it was necessary to consult both primary and secondary sources. Important primary sources include government documents from both the Legislative and Executive Branches of the United States Government, attained from both printed volumes and online archives. The memoirs of key individuals also shed light on the mindset of prominent politicians and policymakers of the period. Newspapers and magazines from the era were examined to explore the media and public reaction to the Sputnik Crisis and related events. Secondary sources are used as both avenues of information and theory regarding the events, and also for the purposes of examining the consensus of others who have explored this topic. The topics covered in the thesis include the flow of events before, during, and after the Sputnik Crisis of 1957; analysis of contextual issues such as missile and satellite development and American culture of the period; and analysis of how the Sputnik Crisis unfolded and how this impacted American culture and national policy.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Kennedy, Ian, "The Sputnik Crisis And America's Response" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 579.