The Impact Of The Space Race And Arms Race On The Cold War

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The Cold War lasted from 1947 to 1991 and was the outcome of political tension left over by World War Two (WWII). The war officially ended in 1991 with the collapse of communism, but the past forty-four years had brought major technological advances. These advances were made through the Arms Race and Space Race, which were both part of the United States and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR) intense rivalry. The steps that both countries took would be revered worldwide, and although they do not get a lot of attention, are important historical events. While historians have mixed opinions on the impact of the Space Race and Arms Race on the Cold War, it is undeniable that their legacy still impacts modern life.
The US and the USSR were the main to participants in the Arms Race that followed WWII. The US began the Arms Race already equipped with the technology to form atomic bombs, like they had demonstrated in WWII. However, they were surprised with how quickly the USSR caught up to them when they tested their first atomic bomb in 1949. Both sides were fearful that they would be caught in a “missiles gap,” meaning that they had less missiles or warheads than the other side. Therefore, both sides frantically constructed weapons to maintain an advantage, pouring out their money and damaging their economies. One step ahead, the US developed the hydrogen bomb first. This bomb was approximately 2500 times stronger than the bomb they had dropped on Hiroshima. Once this had
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