Did Sputnik Really Scare Americans That Much?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,478
San Antonio, Tx
#11
This is something I would like to see actual evidence of.

Do you have a link?
No, Dayton, I don't. I lived through it though and watched it happen. Rice University in Houston set up the country's first Space Science Dept in the early 60s (maybe late 50s) and I knew a couple of people who worked in it. NASA's HQ was located nearby in Clear Lake.
 
Apr 2016
134
Alabama
#14
No, Dayton, I don't. I lived through it though and watched it happen. Rice University in Houston set up the country's first Space Science Dept in the early 60s (maybe late 50s) and I knew a couple of people who worked in it. NASA's HQ was located nearby in Clear Lake.
Dayton Lavon Kitchens, look up the National Defence Education Acting of 1958. That act allowed more funding into Science and Technical courses(Engineering, Math ect). It helped to fund more money to Colleges and Universities. Rice University got a nice sum of the money which helped them becoming the prestigious Science and Engineering university in the country at the time. Very little of that money went to high schools, and the ones that got the funds were the ones with high marks, meaning they were already doing well compared to the rest of the nation.
1955 or 1956 were the years that started the road to funding of the schools in the nation by the government. As I said earlier, it was a scandal of a popular TV game show that really helped to push through more funding by the government into public schools.
 
#15
Dayton Lavon Kitchens, look up the National Defence Education Acting of 1958. That act allowed more funding into Science and Technical courses(Engineering, Math ect). It helped to fund more money to Colleges and Universities. Rice University got a nice sum of the money which helped them becoming the prestigious Science and Engineering university in the country at the time. Very little of that money went to high schools, and the ones that got the funds were the ones with high marks, meaning they were already doing well compared to the rest of the nation.
1955 or 1956 were the years that started the road to funding of the schools in the nation by the government. As I said earlier, it was a scandal of a popular TV game show that really helped to push through more funding by the government into public schools.
Why did the government put more funds into public schools due to a game show scandals? Thanks for the NDE of 1958 reference.
 
Apr 2016
134
Alabama
#16
Cause it was an embarrassment to the United States. It was looked upon as if the United States was not real smart nor was it teaching the students right. It was what led to the end of the school year tests, the ones that state and national have students do when they get to Junior High all the way to High School. The best students do, the more funding that School gets from the government, and teachers get a bonus pay. I am just surprised that Mississippi even qualify for those.

Back on Sputnik, it was a scare and a blow to American pride.
 
Oct 2011
7,654
MARE PACIFICVM
#17
My father was 6 years old at the time and still remembers having gone outside into the family hay field to watch it go over.

My late grandfather (a WWII vet), said that upon seeing Sputnik "pass over his house", he was more worried about the U.S.A.'s future than he had been at any time during 'the War'.
 
Jul 2012
4,379
Here
#18
The conventional wisdom is that the launch of Sputnik I by the Soviets in 1957 scared the crap out of the American people and that we poured money into the school systems to get more kids into math and science.
.
Is this actually true?

From what I've read in magazines at that time the "panic" was largely confined to the national media and decision makers in Washington D.C.
I asked my Mom about this. My mom was and is politically naïve She said her and the people she knew weren't afraid as much the American ego was bruised (my phrase, not hers) because the Russians got to space first. After all, it was the Americans who won WWII in Europe, though the Russians helped a little :eek:.

I would guess that the majority of Americans felt the same way as my Mom. They didn't really understand Communism but they knew Communists were Godless, so they had to be bad. :notrust: From the Mercury program to the moon landing America's confidence in its technology capabilities was restored but that had little effect on the U.S.S.R until it rotted away from the inside a couple decades later.

I'd tend to agree with the magazines. The real fear was in Washington and perpetrated simplistically by the media. Did anyone in Washington really believe that school children were protected from nuclear radiation by getting under their wooden desks? The policy makers knew what really was at stake, even though they gave too much credence to the Domino theory. And they knew just wanted they wanted the American public to know or not know.

I remember asking my dad why they had us get under our desks in school and he said something like "I don't know, boy, but do what your told. The president of the United States is always right." My dad was a Republican and this was during the Kennedy administration.

What a strange place the United States was back then. :)
 
#19
I asked my Mom about this. My mom was and is politically naïve She said her and the people she knew weren't afraid as much the American ego was bruised (my phrase, not hers) because the Russians got to space first. After all, it was the Americans who won WWII in Europe, though the Russians helped a little :eek:.

I would guess that the majority of Americans felt the same way as my Mom. They didn't really understand Communism but they knew Communists were Godless, so they had to be bad. :notrust: From the Mercury program to the moon landing America's confidence in its technology capabilities was restored but that had little effect on the U.S.S.R until it rotted away from the inside a couple decades later.

I'd tend to agree with the magazines. The real fear was in Washington and perpetrated simplistically by the media. Did anyone in Washington really believe that school children were protected from nuclear radiation by getting under their wooden desks? The policy makers knew what really was at stake, even though they gave too much credence to the Domino theory. And they knew just wanted they wanted the American public to know or not know.

I remember asking my dad why they had us get under our desks in school and he said something like "I don't know, boy, but do what your told. The president of the United States is always right." My dad was a Republican and this was during the Kennedy administration.

What a strange place the United States was back then. :)
Well technically getting under your desks during a nuclear attack had nothing to do with radiation and everything to do with avoiding flying debris from blasts.

The risk of radiation from nuclear attacks was always way oversold but authorities wanted to distinguish nuclear detonations from convention ones in a distinctive manner.

Remember, neither Hiroshima or Nagasaki, right at ground zero became irradiated or uninhabitable.
 
Feb 2016
5,049
Atlantic Ocean
#20
Well technically getting under your desks during a nuclear attack had nothing to do with radiation and everything to do with avoiding flying debris from blasts.

The risk of radiation from nuclear attacks was always way oversold but authorities wanted to distinguish nuclear detonations from convention ones in a distinctive manner.

Remember, neither Hiroshima or Nagasaki, right at ground zero became irradiated or uninhabitable.
and hiroshima only had a yield of around 15kt compared to the modern megaton or even multiple megaton munitions