The history of humankind has seen an enormous set of discoveries, breakthroughs and drastic changes that made the line of human development change its direction and move in a completely different way. Surely, it goes without saying that in case there were no genius people who shook the cognition of the whole humanity and changed our perception of many things taking place in the world, there would be no evolution and people would still be living in caves warming themselves up with the fire made of wood. However, the striving for development lies within the human genes and makes people aspire for new discoveries, improvement and enhancement every day of their lives.
All countries of the world have given birth to outstanding people who glorified them further on and remained in the memory of predecessors forever. One can be hardly found any stage of history when there were no researchers, scientists and investigators who questioned the real state of affairs and tried to find out the unique truth the nature was concealing.
Together with the processing evolution people have revealed the secrets of nature and managed to go far beyond their physical and mental abilities, which should be made a credit for the human curiosity and restlessness. No political or social affair can be compared by significance to a scientific discovery or breakthrough that changed people’s understanding of the world they lived in and affected their feelings about their place and role in the universe that still remains a secret for humans. Thus, a slightest step towards the truth may be considered an incomparable treasure that should be nurtured and preserved with all human effort possible.
Speaking about such breakthroughs in the context of discussing the US history of the second half of the 20th century, it is essential to recollect the events of 1969 that shuttered the overall humanity and influenced the whole development of events further on in the course of the 20th century. It is surely the event that marked the beginning of a new stage of the human history not only of the previous century, but in the whole course of history:
“The Moon landing marked the pinnacle of the space race and American investment in the space programme declined accordingly. A further 10 astronauts travelled to the Moon in another six missions with the final manned lunar landing, Apollo 17, completed in December 1972” (1969: Man takes first steps on the Moon, 2009).
Human landing on the Moon could not be compared to any other event of the past century, even taking into consideration two world wars that were a dramatic shock to the humankind and re-shaped the political, social and cultural profile of the world completely. Space exploration has always been the issue of agile interest of scientists and ordinary people who did not even hope to reach such exquisite knowledge that used to be considered the privilege of the chosen.
This is why the event chosen for analysis in the present work is the Moon landing conducted by Neil Armstrong and his crew in 1969 at the spacecraft Apollo 11. This is an undoubtedly grand event that is worth active attention and thorough analysis, especially taking into consideration the historical context in which it took place and how it affected the position of the USA. After the event it took a much more stable place in the world power distribution and influence in the period of the Cold War with the USSR.
The launch of Apollo 11 took place in a very complicated and delicate period of the world history – the period of the Cold War that began after the end of the Second World War. The USSR as a winner of the WW II took over the major spheres of influence in the world and began to disseminate totalitarianism in the most significant, developing countries that had no power to resist its impact and did not want to unleash the war action for the third time within one century. Consequently, the situation in the international relations at the middle of the 20th century was a highly tense one, with some countries of Europe and Asia, as well as Latin America, subduing to the strict regime of the USSR and following its model of conducting inner political affairs of deprivation and terror for citizens.
As a result of such moods dominating the majority of countries the USA turned out to be the main rival and enemy of the USSR due to its prospering liberties and freedoms for the nation the USA nurtured, propagated and protected by all possible means. Surely such situation did not satisfy the Soviet government because of their ideology being completely opposite to that of the USA.