The Space Race
John F. Kennedy delivers his Moon Speech in the context of the space race, which was a competition between the US and the Soviet Union related to the nation that would become a leader in space exploration. The competition between the two adversaries was also fueled by the nuclear arms race, which started after World War II.
The US believed that the Soviet Union was superior in terms of space technology, as it launched the Sputnik 1 satellite in October 1957, a few years before Kennedy’s presidency and also sent the first man in space in August 1961, a year before the speech was delivered. In his speech, Kennedy admits that the US needs to catch up in the race for space: “To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend ...