I began research for this blog with a preliminary look at Wikipedia’s page on the Space Race to orient myself to the competition between the US and USSR for spaceflight capability and supremacy. To go deeper into the subject, I chose to look at magazines from the time, focusing on publications from 1957-1963, to gain primary source insight into national feelings. Summons contains a plethora of writings on this subject from the time-period and I found a particularly interesting article from Nation’s Business Magazine. Nation’s Business was a publication by the United States Chamber of Commerce that ran from 1914-1999 and covered current events that pertained to business, industrial relations and economics.
In January of 1960 Nation’s Business published an article titled “Space Race Debate Grows: Congress will try to find out what’s needed to win.” The writing begins by explaining that the government will continue to fund and expand space projects. This was due to increased USSR space achievements, made more impressive due to setbacks in US efforts. The writer focuses on various government works that were involved with the space effort touching on the House Science and Astronautics Committee. The committee was scheduled to investigate the national space effort later in the month. The committee’s inquiry was important because of many questions over how the management and efficiency of the space program could be improved. A significant moment in the piece comes when the author directly addresses businessmen, the target audience of Nation’s Business, and explains several reasons why the space issue is important to them saying, “Space success –or failure –influences U.S. prestige in a world that is watching western competition with communism.” The writer continues by emphasizing the eventual value some space projects will have on the economy and industry. The article reports on other government efforts to improve space projects and pulls in the opinion of a few experts in the field. Four PhD.s give their recommendations and validate many of the statements made earlier in the article.
The article came during a tumultuous time at the peak of the Space Race. It is clear the article aims to address worries and qualms the business world may have with the lack of noticeable progress in US space projects and doubts that projects would lead to gains in the business/ economic sector. The magazine aims to address the feelings of businessmen so it takes a bent in order to appeal to this sector of the population. Businessmen of the time were more educated than most and had specific concerns and opinions of the Space Race. The author takes particular care to highlight monetary problems surrounding the issue and takes in the opinion of experts that may feel more trustworthy to the magazine’s readers. The writer also pulls in more common antics of the time by using phrases such as, “win the fight” and “military value” that create a sense of urgency in support the space effort. The article is concise while also providing more specific events going on in the government as the U.S. contended with Soviet pressure. The approach of the magazine, coming from a business perspective, gave me a very interesting look at the Space Race and helped expand my understanding through a lesser known viewpoint.
“WATCH THIS ISSUE Space Race Debate Grows.” 1960.Nation’s Business (Pre-1986), 01, 14. http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/docview/231652885?accountid=14826 Accessed 17 October 2017
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