APUSH Period 5
13 April, 2014
The War between Communism and Democracy for Dominance of Space
The Space Race was a war of firsts between the United States of America and the Union Soviet Socialist Republics. But it was also the culmination of the dreams of man for many millennia and the team who worked on the space programs was able to discover what so many of the people that came before and after them could only dream of. It was an endeavor that all of humanity was invested in at the time. It was a testament to the power of the human spirit and it showed how nothing was impossible if we persevered and strived to be better.
The space race did not start as one ...view middle of the document...
The Germans at Peenemünde were preparing for Germany's inevitable defeat in the war by creating an escape plan. Von Braun the leader of the scientists had discussed with the other chief designers about the possibility of surrendering to the Americans. Cadbury states that the German scientists decided that the best solution would be to go to the Americans because they had the capabilities of creating a functional space program (14). In order to achieve this they would have to be very careful not to get caught because if they were it would be considered treason and they would be executed by the government. A few months before the war ended the entire V2 experimental team and their research made the move from Peenemünde to Mittelwerk which was the production base of the V2 missile which was made with slave labor. At Mittelwerk the German scientists were “guarded” by the SS who had orders to shoot them rather than let them fall into enemy hands. The German scientists, meanwhile made plans for their getaway by buying an abandoned mine in order to store the years of research that they had gained and also turned their guards away from their mission and had them become regular soldiers and surrender to the Americans alongside them. The U.S army and the Soviet intelligence agency NKVD had been tracking the rocketeers and had been trying to recruit them. On the second of May the German scientists finally encountered the Americans and they were all taken by the American Army into custody. One of the German scientists, Helmut Gröttrup believed that he wouldn’t be better off with the American’s so he ran away from the SS to be reunited with his family. He would later go with the Soviets with a small group of German engineers to assist them with their rocket program for a short while. Von Braun’s team was a part of the American operation overcast which was changed to operation paperclip in reference to the scientists’ new cleared backgrounds and identities which were held together by a paperclip. This was done so that the scientists who had been members of the Nazi party who were crucial to many military programs could immigrate to the United States with the German’s came the years of research that they had hidden in an abandoned mine which was also discovered by the Americans with help from the Germans. The Soviets were left to salvage what they could from what the Germans and Americans had left behind, however this was plenty enough for the Soviets to begin building a rocket program.
The man to lead this enterprise would soon be found in the Soviets own backyard in a Siberian gulag or work camp. Sergei Korolev was a talented rocket engineer who had worked for the red army before being accused of treason and working to circumvent the efforts of the military to create new weapons, this was his well-known dream of space travel and the man who had wasted away for ten years in the Soviet gulag was recalled to serve the motherland by recreating the V2...