“I see no God up here.” These are probably the most famous words Gagarin spoke while in space, words that obviously are quite striking but profound. To understand this first we must understand the man, A simple Russian citizen would would rise to height none had ever achieved. Yuri Gagarin: the first man in space. Gagarin become something much more than a man and more than a Cosmonaut, his trip (the first of its kind) made him a god. The likes of which had not been seen since Stalin but this was no artificial popular movement. Gagarin did something that then was profound, amazing, and some thought was impossible. Today we take this for granted but believe it or not people feared space, and wondered what was up there. Before he left our world here on the ground some that he would go mad once he left our atmosphere and many even thought he would see God. This man of humble beginnings who rose through the soviet system like a prophet would leave our world and become an idol to many. So much so that idol-like paintings were made of him leading the Soviet people, like the one above. (Take a look at some more here.)
A re-colored photo of Gagarin after his flight in his military uniform
The capsule that Gagarin returned to earth in on April 12, 1961
Gagarin became more than just the first man to enter space he became what the Soviet Union wanted to be. He was a man of humble beginnings who had survived the war and embodied the qualities of the perfect comrade. Statues were made of him like this one, his home town would even be re-named after him. Honestly while researching this topic I found myself amazed by this man, I cant quite express just how profound this was. This was genuine, real, Gagarin was and is a true hero, an explorer and pioneer no matter who you are. Please take the time and watch this video about this amazing man, and maybe you too will be in awe too.
This documentary by Russia Today (a state-run media for non-Russian speaking countries) captures the essence of what this man and the space program meant to the Soviet people. This moment in history embodied what the Soviet people wanted and needed, purpose and success. This moment in history and the years following captured the essence of Soviet power and pride, and Gagarin personified it.