For a British professor with more than a passing interest in US foreign policy and the role of the United States in ending the Cold War, it is indeed fascinating to observe how deeply divided opinion still...
George Kennan, a US diplomat serving in Moscow, sent his “Long Telegram” to Washington. In it, Kennan proposed a policy of containment for handling diplomatic matters with the Soviet Union. Kennan’s ideas about containment and the Soviet Union shaped US foreign policy throughout the Cold War.
The National Defense Education Act of 1958 was passed as a response to the successful launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellites. The act approved grants for American schools that focused on language, mathematics, and science, and appropriated $295 million for college student loans. The act’s measures were intended to strengthen American education and position the nation as a leader in technology, defense, and security.
The United States began a voluntary nuclear test moratorium in hopes that the USSR would agree to do the same. The Soviets resisted at first, completing tests on November 1 and 3, before beginning a self-imposed twelve-month ban.
In summer 1950, Julius Rosenberg and his wife, Ethel, were arrested on charges of espionage. The pair were accused of sharing secret American intelligence with the Soviets. They were ultimately found guilty and executed in 1953. Though evidence later showed that Julius did in fact spy for the Soviets, Ethel was likely unaware of her husband’s activities.
Created by the Soviet Union, Sputnik I became the first satellite launched into space in October 1957. It was followed by Sputnik II a month later. The launch of the two satellites marked the beginning of the space race as a high stakes competition with national security implications between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets’ success in launching the satellites also prompted the US to increase federal spending on education and technology advances.