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Eisenhower Administration

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President Dwight Eisenhower came into office in the years following World War II. The US had just entered an arms race with the Soviet Union, and America was frightened by the fear of communism and a potential nuclear war. The Civil Rights movement also heated up during the post-war years, as segregation and discrimination, especially in the south, got worse and worse. The Eisenhower administration made numerous efforts to heal and save a disheartened country. While the effort to be on level with the Soviet Union only worsened US-Soviet relations, the improvements of civil rights throughout the country exceeded and changed the country forever. US-Soviet relations took a steep fall during Eisenhower’s terms as President. There was an increase in security as a result of the Soviet Union detonating its own atomic bomb in 1949. The US entered an arms race with the Soviet Union. Not even a decade later did the “space race” begin. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite. This startled Americans. Many thought that if the USSR could launch something into space, they must be capable to do other things and that America must be in danger. In 1958 President Eisenhower signed off on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in an effort to be on equal footing with the Soviets. The US launched its first satellite, the Explorer I the same year. There was hope for progress between US-Soviet relations in 1959. Both Eisenhower and Khrushchev agreed to invite each other to their countries. However, in 1960, the progress came to a deadly halt. The USSR spotted a U-2 spy plane flying over the country. The plane was shot down. Khrushchev demanded that Eisenhower punish those responsible for the spy planes, but he did not. He did, however, stop future spy planes from entering the Soviet Union. Khrushchev took back Eisenhower’s invitation to the USSR.…...

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