The Race That Transformed America Essay

1348 words - 6 pages

The Cold War was a period where there was a lot of tension between the U.S. and Russia, with both sides harboring feelings of suspicion and even disgust for the other. However, terrible Russian-American relations and the possible catastrophic destruction of nuclear war was not the only thing the Cold War promoted. One of the effects of the Cold War was fierce competition in a lot of areas, such as maintaining influence in third world countries and, of course, the Space Race. As a result of this rivalry between Russia and the United States in supremacy in spaceflight capability, the American culture was dramatically changed in several ways such as the fact that Americans now perceive themselves to be the world’s leading super power. They also developed a sudden newfound respect for science and technology as well as developing a new portrayal of space, which is shown in several books and movies. These effects would prove to have a lasting effect even in present-day America, as well as the every-day American.
The most important event of the Space Race, which would forever alter how American’s thought of themselves as well as other countries, was the landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. For the world, this was a historic day where what seemed to be impossible for thousands of years was finally accomplished. And that accomplishment was America’s and America’s alone. As former ABC anchor Frank Reynolds stated, this event would forever leave its mark in history. “With me is our Science Editor Jules Bergman, and we will be here, from now on for what will be truly a historic time in the life of our country and the existence of mankind” (ABC News' Coverage of Apollo 11 Moon Landing). The Americans defeated the Russians on the competition that would make history, and that alone was enough to heighten the status of America throughout the world. Naturally, the Americans always knew that they were the leaders of the world, but the moment Apollo 11 landed on the moon was the moment that they had proof of their superiority over every other country in the world and even mankind.
Even Neil Armstrong himself realized the magnitude of what was accomplished. On the same day he landed on the moon, Armstrong received a call from President Nixon who congratulated him and told him how proud America was at the feat that was just accomplished. And in his own words to the President, Armstrong summarized everything that was accomplished by putting an American on the moon. “It's a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations, men with interests and a curiosity and men with a vision for the future" (Wilford 1). As he said, the moment he stepped on the moon was the moment he represented many things that would affect how others across the world would perceive America. This would pave the way and eventually result in America’s position as the world’s number one super power.
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