The Space Race Essay

Submitted By trancer85
Words: 1580
Pages: 7

The Start of a Space Race

The Space Race was race for supremacy between the superpower nations of Soviet

Union and The United States, triggered during the cold war, and marked by high tensions

and paranoia. “The first man who puts his foot on the Moon or another planet, declared

von Braun, will be in much the same position as Columbus, when he discovered the New

World.” (Cadbury 107). Not only was victory attainable by claiming the moon, the

security of Americans was dependent upon the outcome of the Cold War. German

technology and the assistance of scientists became critical for either nation involved.

Korelev was the researcher that worked behind the scenes for the Soviet Union and

helped launch the first satellite and man into space with his ingenuity, while Von

Wernher Braun was the captured mastermind of the V-2 Rocket who worked for The

United States.

The Soviet Union launched its first Rocket Sputnik into space, taking the Americans

by surprise. Although America embarrassingly failed to launch their first rocket,

“Kaputnik” in 1957, the Explorer 1 eventually became its successor and America’s first

satellite launched around 1958. Establishing control and dominance over technology and

weapons were fundamental aspects of the cold war, resulting from the notion that the

ability to orbit the satellites flown into space meant dominance over earth. The Cold

War’s attention quickly shifted to the opposing nation’s political aspects of communism

in Russia versus the imperialistic America. These two opposing politics in the nation became an additional driving factor for the Cold War and escalated the urgency of either

nation’s push for the technological supremacy over space.

Meanwhile in Soviet Russia, Stalin was aware of his country’s lack of technology in

rocketry. In 1945 Stalin assigned George Malenkov the authority to instruct a group of

engineers to gather necessary information on the V-2. Meanwhile, Braun gained the

interests of other world leaders. Braun was a scientist associated with the Nazis in

Peenemunde. He was a vital character in the development of secret weapons for Adolph

Hitler in Germany. His favorite childhood pastime was experimenting with rockets at the

age of twelve. At the age of twenty, he was hired by the army to build rockets with

devastating capabilities. He designed his first rocket known as A-1, ready to be tested in

1933. Although he had many other rockets under construction, the army’s goal was to

build a rocket with the ability to travel 160 miles before detonation.

Braun was frequently under a lot of pressure while working for the Nazis, under a

rigid supervision of an infamous SS officer, Hans Krammler. When the Soviets

began infiltrating Prussia in January 1945, Krammler was indifferent for the safety of

Braun and other researchers. Things began to look grim when Krammler expected every

man to fight to his death while on their duties. Braun had mentioned a possibility of an

escape to his team, from the Nazi control. One day he finally managed to escape from the

SS soldiers by jumping off a train during a trip. While escaping from the control of the

Nazi, he faced extremities of danger and risks.

The United States 104th Army Infantry Division arrived at the concentration camp

located in Nordhausen premises, a site that used prisoners to build the V-2 Rockets.

Horrible stench filled the airs of the site the Nazis have been using to build their V-2

rockets. Dead corpses of starved prisoners were lying around everywhere and the ones

that were still alive appeared to be destined to fall into the same fate. Some of the

prisoners were victims of mass murders. In April 19 the United States forces witnessed a

barn that was lit on fire to exterminate all of the prisoners locked inside. Americans later

discovered 1,016 dead