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Title: Eisenhower’s parallel track reassessing President Eisenhower’s activism through an analysis of the development of the first US space policy
Authors: Shanahan, Mark
Keywords: US political history;Space policy;Cold War;Revisionism;Helping hands
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Abstract: Historians of the early space age have established a norm whereby President Eisenhower's actions are judged solely as a response to the launch of the Sputnik satellite, and are indicative of a passive, negative presidency. His low-key actions are seen merely as a prelude to the US triumph in space in the 1960s. This study presents an alternative view showing that Eisenhower’s space policy was not a reaction to the heavily-propagandised Soviet satellite launches, or even the effect they caused in the US political and military elites, but the continuation of a strategic track. In so doing, it also contributes to the reassessment of the wider Eisenhower presidency. Having assessed the development of three intersecting discourses: Eisenhower as president; the genesis of the US space programme; and developments in Cold War US reconnaissance, this thesis charts Eisenhower’s influence both on the ICBM and reconnaissance programmes and his support for a non-military approach to the International Geophysical Year. These actions provided the basis for his space policy for the remainder of his presidency. The following chapters show that Sputnik had no impact on the policies already in place and highlight Eisenhower’s pragmatic activism in enabling the implementation of these policies by a carefully-chosen group of expert ‘helping hands’. This study delivers a new interpretation of Eisenhower’s actions. It argues that he was operating on a parallel track that started with the Castle H-bomb tests; developed through the CIA's reconnaissance efforts and was distilled in the Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. This set a policy for US involvement in outer space that matched Eisenhower’s desire for a balanced budget and fundamental belief in maintaining peace. By challenging the orthodox view, this paper shows that President Eisenhower’s space policy actions were strategic steps that provided a logical next step for both civilian and military space programmes at the completion of the International Geophysical Year
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:History
Dept of Politics, History and Law Theses

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