The Cold War was a period of competition, tension, and conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union that began after World War Two. The Cold War dominated international affairs for decades and the space race and the arms race developed because of this competition. By the end of the 1980's each side had spent trillions of dollars to possess nuclear weapons and the means of delivering these weapons on their enemies. Though many Americans opposed the use of nuclear weapons, because of the Cold War and the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union , many technological advances that we take for granted today were created.


You are to evaluate the Cold War's impact on science and technology. Why did the United States create NASA? What were some key technological advances during the Cold War? Do you think the technological advances were worth the threat of nuclear war and the cost of nuclear weapons? Should the United States have spent their money on other domestic programs and problems besides space and national defense? Defend your response.

Space Race

Article: History of NASA

Timeline: The Space Race

Article: Aerospace Power and the Cold War

Article: IEEE History Center : Electronic Technology for Space Rocket Launches


Timeline: Cold War Experience Technology

Article: Cold War Inventions May Help Save the Earth

Arms Race

President Kennedy's letter in Life magazine: “Preparing for Doomsday”

Article: The Cost of Cleaning Up Unexploded Ordnance

Article: Weapons of Mass Destruction: The U.S. Experience

Article: Planting Fields of ICBMS

Chart: United States Nuclear Stockpile

Life in America

Article: Living At Ground Zero

Image: Do It Yourself Bomb Shelter

Civil Defense Video: Duck and Cover

Article: “Jim Crow” Laws from various states 1880's – 1960's

Chart: Unemployment 1950s – 1970s

Speech; President Lyndon B. Johnson's “War on Poverty”, March 1964