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I agree we have to take the revisionism with a grain of salt.  Perhaps my sentence was clumsy, but that report (I give the AP source version) indicates that while the scientists involved intended Sputnik to be the first space satellite, they got the go-ahead to build and launch it to demonstrate the military potential of their missiles--and the U.S. got the message.

It all also has an eerie echo for me of N. Klein's "Shock Doctrine"--the idea that the U.S. could use the Sputnik shock to intensify the Cold War.  

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Fri Oct 5th, 2007 at 05:59:07 AM EST
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The Soviets made bigger impression than inteded, I still think. Krushchev was quite bemused with Western reaction. The inference of Sputnik launch for Soviet ballistic capabilities was clear - but the new impressive fact that R-7's were designed without a space purpose in mind but then were spontaneously used to get there nevertheless was presumably unknown.

The idea that the Sputnik shock was "manufactured" is not consistent with the interpretation that Soviets showed unexpected threat progress - it would mean that Americans did not took the Soviets and the whole Cold War seriously.

by das monde on Sun Oct 7th, 2007 at 02:16:15 AM EST
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