Friday, June 8, 2012

Sputnik Mania

The SIFF film I saw for my final blog is called Sputnik Mania. Basically this film showed how the first satellite launched into space my Russia threatened America and spread paranoia about bomb threats and communism. Sputnik was a satellite launched to orbit earth by Russia in 1957. It was the very first satellite ever launched into space. The satellite really had no purpose, but America feared the Russian's growing technological power. The satellite was supposed to be for the sake of science, but America saw it as a demise of Russian bomb threats. Sputnik was actually found out to be large enough to hold a bomb. American's grew more fearful as sputnik circled around the globe, over the United States. Since America was seen as the most powerful and technological country in the late 1950's, this scientific breakthrough by another country proved America to be behind. President Eisenhower issued that America must launch its own satellite in order to level out with Russia. Russian communist at the time of Sputnik were also threatening world order and demolition of America and capitalism. Though these threats and Sputnik had nothing to do with one another, the two stirred panic in many American homes. American businesses, homes, and schools built bomb shelters and practiced bomb drills several times daily. President Eisenhower said in a speech that there must be a way America can build a satellite to trump Sputnik, but ideas at the time were few. Of course there were many satellites waiting to be launched by the US army but Eisenhower refused to do so. Eventually an inventor working in the army launched his satellite which successfully launched, after one try that failed. Along with the launching of the satellite came NASA, which proposed that space work be for the sake of education and not war. This made the inventor who created the American satellite mad, but eventually he himself became part of NASA. At the end of the film Eisenhower launched the first message into space on a recorder, which then can be heard by anyone around the world. The message promotes peace and a Christmas greeting.

This film can be tied into our film class in several ways. One being the issue of capitalism and communism. At this time, communists were seen as taboo and anything communist threatened America's power. America still lived by the American dream and needed to always be the top nation. When Russia proved to be more advanced than America, especially since they were communist as well, sounded trumpets in America and immediately provoked a comeback with no previous exploration or idea as to why Russian launched Sputnik in the first place.

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