The Sputnik Challenge: Eisenhower's Response to the Soviet Satellite

When Sputnik went into orbit in 1957, America went into a panic. Only President Dwight Eisenhower retained his composure and understood that the United States was far superior to the Soviet Union in scientific research as well as in military firepower. Only Eisenhower realized that Nikita Khrushchev had done the United States a favor by setting a legal precedent for future reconnaissance satellites. Robert Divine, who has written extensively on the early Cold War, praises Eisenhower for his low-key, common-sense response to Sputnik, but faults him for failing to see the propaganda significance of the feat. He charges that by failing to convince the American people that they had nothing to fear, Eisenhower opened the way for a decade of arms races spurred by ignorance. Like all of Divine's work, well-researched, well-written, reliable.

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