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U.S. History/U.S space race and how it affected America



I am writing a film analysis on the movie Apollo 13 and had a few questions about it. First off, how would the United States be different today if the Soviets had beat us to the moon? Also, if the main goal of the space race was to beat the Soviets to the moon, why did the U.S continue to fly to the moon after they had already beat the Soviets? Was it really because they were that interested in space exploration?

Thank you so much, I will be sure to properly cite you in my paper.


1.  I don't believe the U.S. would be ANY different if the Soviets had beaten us to the moon.  The Cold War didn't end in 1989 because we had landed on the moon in fact the end of the Cold War had virtually NOTHING to do with America landing on the moon first.  So right out of the box I don't believe there would be any difference today had they beat us.

2.  Your assumption that the purpose of the space race was to beat the Russians to the moon is only partially correct.  When the space race began in the late 1950s there was fear that space travel and space ships could be used at a future time to launch attacks on other countries but that never came to fruition.  Of course beating the Russians to the moon was a matter of pride for the United States just as defeating the Russians every four years in the Olympics was but it didn't really contribute to the actual fall of the Soviet Union in any appreciable way.

Hope this helps.

S. Anderson

U.S. History

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Steve Anderson, MA


Any area of American History, EXCEPT military history or economic history, these are not strong points of mine. Areas of particular expertise include the assassination of John F. Kennedy, 19th century women's history, 1950s-1960s popular culture, 1920s, Colonial America, Jacksonian Era, migration west, immigration, ethnic history, presidential decisions, treaties, tariffs, causes and results of wars, and entertainment history since World War II (television, movies, and music.)


Twenty-five years of teaching Advanced Placement American History, Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in American History, thirty post-graduate hours in American History

Member of Phi Alpha Theta--The History Honor Society (November 2001), California Teacher's Association

American History Teaching Credential, Recognized by the University of Chicago as an Outstanding Educator

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