. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – President Eisenhower Address: Science And National Security – November 7, 1957 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
As the Cold War intensified and the Space Race was roaring ahead full-speed, the biggest fear facing Capitol Hill was America falling behind the Soviet Union in modern weaponry and in Space exploration.
Bear in mind that, just weeks earlier in October of 1957 the Soviet Union stunned the world with news of the launch of Sputnik 1, the very first orbiting satellite. Needless to say, it was cause for much consternation around NASA. And so a National Pep talk was in order.
So President Eisenhower set out to allay fears of Soviet superiority in all things modern and technological by outlining what was going on with the U.S.
Eisenhower pointed out that, even though the Soviets had launched an earth satellite, and were planning on launching more in the near future with additional improvements and advances, the satellites themselves posed no threat to our national security, but they did pose a potential threat for military use.
Eisenhower continued to assure the American people that we were still ahead as far as armaments were concerned, but that we needed to step up our efforts in matching technological advances, not only in space but in weapons. It was Eisenhower’s view that the Soviet Union was engaged in all of these scientific projects as a way of keeping the fear factor high, and we were in no position to let our guard down.
This was one of three such addresses Eisenhower gave over the following several weeks. If it wasn’t necessarily considered to be an address regarding a fear of losing the Cold War, it certainly increased the anxiety that we had a lot to be fearful about.
Fearful times, those care-free and innocent 1950s. Here is that first address by President Eisenhower, given from the Oval Office on November 7, 1957.