See these casahistoria sites for further background:
Allied Capture & use of V2 weapons
Operation Backfire Operation Backfire, organized by the
British authorities immediately after the end of hostilities
in Europe, was designed to completely evaluate the entire
V-2 assembly, interrogate German personnel specialized in
all phases of it, and then launch several missiles across
the North Sea. Very thorough site. many images, maps.
Cuxhaven More basic account of the Cuxhaven test site
and British tests. See also the article on
Gerhard Zucker who first used Cuxhaven for rocket tests
in the 1930's.
The forgotten rocket tests at Cuxhaven German site, can
be google translated, but has many detailed archive maps
from the tests
- The Zarya Web Site
Worthwhile site produced by UK astronomers with images,
accounts, diaries and fact sheets on the Soviet space. (use the
links in the side margine to find information). Includes space
programmes and space research undertaken by the Soviet Union
starting with Korolyov's R-7 rocket and Sputnik earth
satellites. ("Zarya" (Sunrise) was the radio call sign for the
Baikonur-based mission control when Yuri Gagarin went into
Soviet Space Good clear Powerpoint introduction of
Soviet Space success up to the mid 1960's. useful place to
- Sergei P. Korolev (1906-1966) Three bios of the man behind
the early Soviet space programme:
NASA's 50th Anniversary of the Space Age & Sputnik
most detailed site, but very lushly produced with basic bios,
good interactive content, images and some video.
Sputnik: 50 Years Ago
Basic layout, but good technical descriptions and images. Also
has audio of the famous Sputnik message (at the bottom of the
Sputnik Program Page Outline of Sputnik I mission from NASA.
Launch of Sputnik, October 4, 1957 Intriguing video
containing the original melodramatic soundtrack of launch scene
from the 1970's Soviet propaganda video
Sputnik 1 A small Soviet satellite starts the Space race.
Watch and listen to useful clips
from past BBC programmes
- Sputnik’s blastoff: the terrifying view from the launch site
James Oberg, 22-year veteran of
NASA mission control tells of what the Sputnik launch was like
from descriptions given to him by Soviet engineers present at
1957: Sputnik satellite blasts into space Concise BBC "On
this Day" item
Russia launches world's first satellite Interesting
presentation of original news articles, easy to read and use,
from the Times with images and context pieces set out in the
form of a newspaper front page. (At the moment this is free
access but could change...). Sections of images, maps items on:
Sputnik; The Space Race and a picture
Documents related to Sputnik and the Space Race, Dwight D.
Eisenhower Presidential Library full list of documents
revealing how the US govt reacted and struggled to come to grips
with the soviet success.
- Diary of the Sputnik Programme From Zarya. Includes detailed
table setting out all the key Sputnik series launches.
US Reaction to
- Sputnik and the Origins of the Space Age A basic NASA
account of how Sputnik led to the setting up of NASA, 1957-8. By
Roger D. Launius who also reveals
that the Soviets timed the launch to coincide with a party at
the end of an international scientific conference for maximum
A Blow to the Nation Detailed & useful
item examining the reaction of the US and arguing that National insecurity, wounded national pride, infighting,
political grandstanding, clandestine plots, and ruthless media
frenzy were but a few of the things the United States had to
overcome to bounce back from the blow dealt by SputniK.
Excerpted by PBS from the book Sputnik: The Shock of the Century
by Paul Dickson
David Hoffman shares his Sputnik mania
Filmmaker David Hoffman shares
footage from his feature-length documentary Sputnik Mania, which
shows how the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to
both the space race and the arms race -- and jump-started
science and math education around the world. The audio
commentary is very clear about the impact of Sputnik on the Cold
War. For once, the "comment" section is also useful concerning
the impact on people at the time.
Sputnik Stunned the World, and Its Rocket Scared the Pentagon
Article from Wired which links in the launch of Sputnik with US
fears of Soviet advance. Good animation video of Sputnik.
By Robert Lemos of US Centennial of
Sputnik and the Crisis That Followed Well sourced piece by
Roger Guillemette reveals how the
Soviets deliberately prepared world attention before the launch
for maximum impact on the US
Dogs in Space
Luna 1 (Mechta) 1959: First spacecraft to reach the Moon,
and the first of a series of Soviet automatic interplanetary
stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon.
Clear NASA outline. See also:
Luna 2 1959: Second of a series of spacecraft launched in
the direction of the Moon. This was the first spacecraft to
land on the Moon. Nasa. See also:
Luna E-1A from Encyclopedia Astronautica
Luna 2 The Soviets crash a probe into the Moon.
Watch and listen to useful
clips from past BBC programmes
Luna 3 1959: Third spacecraft successfully launched to the
Moon and the first to return images of the far side of the moon.
Sputnik (1957-1963) listing and outline details of the
entire Sputnik series
2 Clear outline account (for an even briefer survey go to
the foot of the page)
- Sputnik-2 Detailed (and technical) account of the flight
that carried Laika, the dog into space. Well illustrated.
1957: Russians launch dog into space BBC 'On this Day' item
Russian dogs in space Page of details on the Soviet dogs
sent to space (Lower down the page for space chimps - US flights
and lesser known space cats, France, and other creatures sent
The Soviet Union’s first space survivors Russian TV news
item (2010) on Belka and Strelka - the two dogs who were onboard
the Sputnik-5 spacecraft when it broke into orbit on August 19,
1960, circled the Earth 17 times and returned home. Both
survived and the report tells how Mr K gave the daughter of the
US Mr K one as a gift.... Good footage and background
Message from the First Dog in Space Received 45 Years Too Late
2002 Article from Scoop News (!) that breaks the news that Laika
died of fright during launch. (See also the BBC
report about this) A well detailed page with images, NY
Times report of the time and slightly off-centre facts about the
Manned Soviet Space flight
Biographies of Gagarin
Flight of Vostok 1
First man in space
Interesting presentation of original
news articles, easy to read and use, from the Times with images
and context pieces set out in the form of a newspaper front
page. (At the moment this is free access but could change...).
Sections of images, maps items on: Yuri Gagarin - the first man
in space; Propaganda Coup; An Instant
Hero and a Picture gallery: Yuri Gagarin
Manned Space "Firsts"
Vostok-1 Very useful site from russianspace.web giving
extensive detail about the flight & its background. Especially
strong on technical aspects. Good links in sidebars to further
info, images and documents. Well worthwhile visiting.
What it feels like in space Guardian item from April 1961
based on Gagarin description of his space voyage.
Roads In Space Notes of Soviet cosmonaut This is supposedly
Gagarin's own concise memoir published 1961 with sections on his
youth and the first space flight. In Russian but translates
easily and clearly using Google.
Vostok Wins the First Lap Clear account of the flight from
Nasa. Looks at the technicalities and draws comparisons with the
US Mercury programme. Diagram of orbital flight.
Medical Implications Of The Cosmonaut Fights NASA item on
the release of medical data on the flight by the Embassy of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Washington, D.C
of Gagarin launch. Unlike many on YouTube this has no
obtrusive background music!!
Finally on the early
- 1962, Vostok 4 First joint mission
- 1963, Vostok 6 First female in space (Tereshkova)
- 1964, Voskhod 1 First multiple crew
1965, Voskhod 2 First Walk in Space (Leonov)
3. The US Response
US Response Go to Part 2 of the casahistoria Space Race
Sites on the Space Race
Sites on the Cold War
War Basic outlines of key events from Spartacus Educational.
Good place to make a start and
War Figures -
biographies of major figures from this time period.
War Excellent school
resource for students beginning to look at the Cold War
- The Cold War
International History Project (CWIHP) Useful site presenting
new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War,
in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources
from the former Communist world.
Vint Hill Cold War
MuseumUseful online museum that is easy to use
with links to virtual exhibits, overview articles, photo
galleries, documents, newsletters and many other collections of
cold war related material set out clearly by decade.
History: Cold War a series of articles on key aspects of the
Cold War from the BBC educational site.
The Cold War Files Very good site produced by Wilson Center
for Peace for interpreting history of the Cold War through
Documents. Includes clear overview items on events and bios on
European Navigator Useful
topic documents (speeches/actual agreements/ newspaper articles
& images on the post 1945 period from a west European
perspective. Use the " historical events" folder on the
left to find your area of study. Well produced by the European
Avalon Project at Yale Excellent range of documents from the
20th Century Documents : 1900 - 1999 list
The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers This thorough collection
of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids,
designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO
series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the
mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese
internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. The documents
reflect the views of seasoned analysts who had followed closely
their special areas of research and whose views were shaped in
often heated debate.
the casahistoria Cold War sites:
Origins of the Cold War
Divided Germany, 1945-49
Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis
and Collapse (planned for the future)