Tag Archives: cold war

Setting Course for the Red Planet: Early Flyby Missions to Mars


Robotic exploration of Mars has been one of the persistent efforts of the space age. It began, just as lunar exploration had, in a race between the United States and the Soviet ­Unionto see who would be the first to … Continue reading

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The Cold War Origins of Space Access


It is almost a truism that the primary U.S. space launch capabilities were created only because of the challenge of an exceptionally desperate Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the development and deployment of ballistic missiles, space-based intelligence-gathering … Continue reading

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Is there such a Thing as American Exceptionalism?


I was struck by the discussion of American exceptionalism that became a running sub-theme of the recent American Historical Association annual meeting in Atlanta. It seems there is no way to square the perspections of exceptionalism presented everywhere with the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Books Review: “The National Labs”


The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974. By Peter J. Westwick. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003, xii, 403 pp. $49.95, ISBN 0-674-00948-7..06 To help win the cold war the United States created a set of research institutions throughout … Continue reading

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Remembering a Great Adventure: The First Circumlunar Mission


After a piloted orbital mission to test the Apollo equipment in October 1968, on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 took off atop a Saturn V booster from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts aboard—Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., … Continue reading

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What Do You Do for an Encore after You’ve Been to the Moon?


As early as January 1964 NASA administrator, James E. Webb, had been asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson for a well-developed proposal of future space objectives after the Apollo Moon landings. Webb did not want to respond; instead he tried … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Selling War in a Media Age”


Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century. Edited by Kenneth Osgood and Andrew K. Frank. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010. Collected works are always problematic. There is always the challenge of … Continue reading

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Sputnik and Free Overflight in Space


It came like a shock to the system on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched a beach ball-sized orbital satellite to usher in the “Space Age.” The act in itself proved neither particularly shocking nor threatening but what it … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “WarStars”


WarStars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination. By H. Bruce Franklin. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008. Revised and Expanded Edition. Americans have long viewed as necessary to the survival of the United States an absolute protection from foreign attack. … Continue reading

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A Typology of Empires throughout History


I have been studying quite a lot about empires of late; their commonalities, differences, and circumstances. They may all look different, but a remarkably similar in perception. Merriam-Webster defines an empire as: a (1): a major political unit having a territory of … Continue reading

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