Why the United States Joined the Space Race

In 1957 Russia set the bar in technological advances against the United States when for the time ever in history Russia sent a spacecraft into orbit. While the Cold War dwindled down and the space race took off the United States felt the pressure. The space race demonstrated the precedence for the United States to take charge against the communist Russia. So with this the United States joined the race to space with President Kennedy pushing is at full force. Kennedy sought out an inspirational goal that would surely motivate the country.
The fear that the Soviet Union could launch a missile from anywhere in the world gave Kennedy all the support he needed to join the race. Section I explains why the United States joined the space race using the realism theory; Section II details how the individual level of analysis brought America into space using the realism theory; Section III will qualify the decision making-progress; Section IV will provide a closing to why the United States joined the space race. Realist Theory on the Space Race The decision of the United States to join the space can be seen through the realist theory.The realism perspective views the nation-state as the most important actor on the world stage. Realist view world politics as an endless repetitive, struggle for power much like the relationship shared between the United States and Russia. After the failure at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba “Kennedy wanted to link his administration to the dream of reaching the stars. ”1 The United States feared that the communist Russia would soon be, if not already, advancing past America not only in technology but also in missilery.
Such advances brought “fear of domestic spying” which “became a powerful force in the American life in the postwar era. 2 These fears represent the realist perspective as America and Russia struggle for power in the desire to take the world stage. With both country’s uncertainty of the others intentions the race developed into a constant struggle for a lead as a new decade began. After the launch and safe return of Sputnik I “the Russians were hailed as leaders of world technology… the initiative had been snatched from America, and the for the first time U. S. leaders were shocked to learn the conquest of outer space was not to be a one-country affair. 3 As a result it became “increasily important for the United States to salvage whatever pride and prestige it could by placing a satellite into orbit as soon as possible.

”4 The realist perspective of the space race instilled a fearsome implication, “the nation that dominated space could dominate the Earth. ”5 Feeling the threat of Russian as they advanced in technology, missilery and international prestige the United States demonstrated the realist theory as they to developed as a nation in order to exceed Russia Individual Level of Analysis in the Space RaceAs the Soviet Union continued to hold the stage in the space race, President Kennedy developed a plan that would surely win the race. President Kennedy asked, “How can we catch up? There is nothing more important. ”6 With these questions in the air Kennedy sought out an inspirational goal to rally the country. On May 25, 1961 Kennedy announced “the nation’s intention to place a man on the moon before the end of the decade. ”7 His plans disagreed with scientist who felt that adding a human to the spacecraft “was foolish” as it “diverted money from more important scientific projects in order to carry out what they regarded as a public stunt. 8 Such behavior demonstrated by Kennedy represents the individual level of analysis.
The individual level of analysis refers to the personality traits, experiences, and behavior of those responsible for decision-making. President Kennedy felt it necessary to send a human to the moon in order for the “nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth. ”9 For such reason the individual level of analysis supports the realist theory to explain why the United States joined in the space race.Kennedy’s desire to implement the importance of his ideas on the country was done so in the hopes that the United States would be able to surpass Russia and take the led on the world stage once again. The individual level of analysis balances with the realist theory because Kennedy’s goal of a “manned lunar journey was a goal dramatic enough to capture the world’s attention” eventually leading the United States to end the race, because in July 20, 1961 the first manned mission to the moon was a success. 0 Qualifying the Decision Making-Progress The decision for the United States to join the space race can be seen through the individual level of analysis and the realist theory. The space race put the United States in “a aggressive position in the race with the Soviets for space dominance.
”11 The idea of the liberal theory and constructivist theory do not play a role in the race to space because both countries are not obtaining a mutual gain nor are there any outside organization playing a role in the race to space.It instead reflects the realist theory as the United States attempts to weaken Russian’s place on the work stage by obtaining a new worldwide prestige. The idea of state or systemic level of analysis both feature qualities not demonstrated in the space race. Although the space race can be represented by similar characteristics of the state level of analysis the influences of the Individual level weighs more on the outcome of decisions being made. President Kennedy was committed to supporting a more robust space program than his predecessor, thereby allowing him greater influence over the space mission. 2 His involvement and influential decisions makes the idea of individual level of analysis more favorable. Conclusion of the United States Decision to join the Space Race With Russia taking the lead on the world stage in missilery, technology, and prestige, the United States began to develop a new way to compete with the communist country.
While the Russians had the upper hand in the race to space President Kennedy came up with an idea that would surely inspire the country and gain back their place on the world stage.With this the United State now had the challenge to place a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The plan demonstrated to Russia that United States was still in the lead as superpower nation. The epic battle between the America and Soviet Union the brought about new fears and development in the use of missiles. By looking at the realist theory and the individual level of analysis the decision to join the space race developed through strong motivations by president Kennedy who wanted the nation to remain at the top of the world stage.Bibliography Cadbury, Deborah. Space Race: the Epic Battle between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space.
New York: HarperCollins, 2006. Print. Hardesty, Von, and Gene Eisman. Epic Rivalry: the inside Story of the Soviet and American Space Race. Washington, D. C. : National Geographic, 2007.
Print. Taylor, L. B. Lift Off! : the Story of America’s Spaceport. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1968.
Print. Watts, Franklin. U. S. and Soviet Space Program. USA: David E. Newton, 1988.
Print. “The Decision to Go to the Moon. ” Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). Web. 26 Oct. 2010. .

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