Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


While the Space Race is often discussed in terms of international competition and Cold War tension, the fact that both Soviet and American forays into space remained peaceful and scientifically driven throughout the 1950s and 1960s points to a more complicated reality that indicates a significant amount of international cooperation during the Space Race. The International Geophysical Year (IGY), which was a collaborative effort among scientists from around the world, served as a catalyst for beginning the Space Race in the late 1950s, and the importance of scientific cooperation emphasized by the IGY remained central to space exploration throughout the Space Race. Efforts within the United Nations (UN) also served to direct the Space Race away from potential war and toward peaceful collaboration. While Cold War tensions remained a major factor in the Space Race, cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union were a vital part in directing the Space Race toward peaceful ends. This paper examines the role that the IGY, the UN, and Cold War tensions played in the progression of the Space Race during the 1950s and 1960s. In the process it challenges the Historiographical assumption that the Space Race was solely competitive in nature as well as the traditional understandings about the nature of the Cold War.


Dr. Kim Perez

Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type



© 2010 Chris Dinkel


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