Soviets in Space
The People of the USSR and the Race to the Moon
by The People of the USSR and the Race to the Moon
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2021
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword History
The victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, in which the Soviet Union played both the greatest part and suffered the greatest losses, found the country in a state of devastation. Military strength could not compensate for the damage wreaked by war, especially in the western areas of the USSR.
Within just over ten years, not only was Stalin dead and the relative freedoms of the Khrushchev 'Thaw' in progress, but the Soviet Union was ahead in the Space Race – beating the enormous wealth and resources of the USA, launching Soviet citizens from ordinary backgrounds quite literally into worlds beyond our own. The communist dream seemed alive and well.
The story of those years has rarely been told from a Soviet perspective: Cold War journalism and historical accounts written in the West tend to portray the space race in terms of ideological competition - with success and failure mirroring power and influence in a world divided between capitalism and communism. Whilst the military on both sides certainly benefited from the cutting edge technological advance of the space programmes, for the people of the USSR the prestige of their successes offered proof that 'real existing socialism' was moving mankind onto new levels of peaceful progress. Agriculture and railway building initiatives tried to involved ordinary people in other pioneering projects to build socialism before the dream shattered in the 1980s.
Extensively illustrated with images from the time, this book looks at the years of Soviet space success, their background, the personalities involved, and their impact on the ordinary people of the USSR.