Download The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space by Walter A. McDougall PDF

By Walter A. McDougall

This hugely acclaimed research methods the gap race as an issue in comparative public coverage. Drawing on released literature, archival assets in either the us and Europe, interviews with a few of the key members, and significant declassified fabric, comparable to the nationwide protection Council's first coverage paper on house, McDougall examines united states, ecu, and Soviet house courses and their politics. starting with a quick account of Nikolai Kibalchich, a past due nineteenth-century Russian rocketry theoretician, McDougall argues that the Soviet Union made its means into house first since it was once the world's first "technocracy"―which he defines as "the institutionalization of technological swap for kingdom purpose." He additionally explores the expansion of a political financial system of know-how in either the Soviet Union and the United States.

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By 1911 he claimed to "glimpse the infinite potentialities of man," 6 and when he died in 1935 the USSR celebrated him as the father of cosmonautics, and was itself at work to become its fatherland. Modem rocketry and social revolution grew up together in tsarist Russia. There is no anomaly in the fact that the most "backward" of the Great Powers before World War I was the one that fostered violent rebellion against the chains of human authority and the chains of nature. Whether expressed in Kibalchich's chemi::;try or Tsiolkovsky's dream that spaceflight would bring equality and "the perfection of mankind and its individual members," the will to power over natural constraints and the will to revolution knew no contradiction.

From the moment of se1zmg power the Soviet leadership fell into debate over the proper role of science and technology, and especially scientists and engineers, in the building of Communist society. No previous government in history was so openly and energetically in favor of science, but neither had any modern government been so ideologically opposed to the free exchange of ideas, a presumed prerequisite of scientific progress. No government in history was so committed to material growth as the goal of science and the measure of political legitimacy, yet no modern government had so anathematized "bourgeois" intellectuals and entrepreneurs, the sources of material progress.

The future belonged to it, at least for the foreseeable American Century. 6 Sputnik seemed to belie both premises. Not only did the USSR herald its imminent strategic parity through intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), but this scientific feat of revolutionary implications suggested to a half-informed world that American reliance on the marketplace and the discoordinated efforts of the private sector, corrupted by consumerism, was anachronistic in an age of explosive technological advance.

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