This six-minute video explores how the Cold War fueled the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and how early Soviet advances left many fearing that the United States would be left behind. That fear alone wasn’t enough to convince everyone that the monumental cost of the space program was worth it – the dramatic race to the moon was accompanied by an equally successful marketing campaign designed to sell the vision of the U.S. space program to the public. Focusing on the space program’s links to American foreign policy goals in the 1960s, the video contrasts American and Soviet approaches to Cold War public relations. Useful as a way of teaching about the moon landing within the context of the Cold War, the video can be used to introduce a discussion of challenges faced by Cold War leaders and the importance of “soft power” in the nation’s rise to superpower status.
This video was featured in an online class on The Cold War in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s History School and Joe Welch, a 2018 Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year and Master Teacher.