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Encyclopedia > Missile gap

The missile gap was the perceived discrepancy between the number and power of the weapons in the USSR and U.S. ballistic missile arsenals during the Cold War due to exaggerated estimates by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and United States Air Force (USAF) in the early 1960's. Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Diagram of V-2, the first ballistic missile. ... View of the Entrance to the Arsenal, by Canaletto, 1732. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. ...


The Soviet launch of Sputnik 1 on the 4 October 1957 highlighted the technological achievements of the Soviets and sparked some worrying questions for politicians and the general public. Not only did it start the space race but also an arms race. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the first use of the term in 14 August 1958 by John F. Kennedy: "Our Nation could have afforded, and can afford now, the steps necessary to close the missile gap." The problem with the term is shown in the dictionary's next quote, merely four years later, from The Listener, 19 April 1962: "The passages on the 'missile gap' are a little dated, since Mr Kennedy has now told us that it scarcely ever existed." Sputnik 1 (Russian: , Satellite 1) was the first artificial satellite to be put into orbit, on October 4, 1957. ... October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For a list of key events, see Timeline of space exploration. ... The term arms race in its original usage describes a competition between two or more parties for military supremacy. ... The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is generally regarded as the most comprehensive and scholarly dictionary of the English language. ... August 14 is the 226th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (227th in leap years), with 139 days remaining. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC under Lord Reith in January 1929. ... April 19 is the 109th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (110th in leap years). ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ...

Kennedy was particularly connected to the phrase as he used it frequently during the 1960 American presidential election campaign to attack the Republicans for their supposed complacency on the subject of Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Both countries had been developing missile technologies since World War II often with the assistance of German scientists gained as a result of initiatives such as Operation Paperclip. The Russian launch of Sputnik 1 was simply the most obvious use of the missile technology compared to the stocks of military missiles both sides already had. The Russians also had concentrated mainly on larger, long distance ICBMs more suited for deployment to space whereas the Americans possessed many more smaller, short-range IRBMs. These were often deployed in Europe closer to Russia than the Russians could manage to get to the continental United States. The New York Times front page from two days after the election: November 10, 1960. ... A Minuteman III ICBM test launch from Vandenberg AFB, California, United States. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Operation Paperclip scientists pose together. ... Sputnik 1 (Russian: , Satellite 1) was the first artificial satellite to be put into orbit, on October 4, 1957. ... An intermediate-range ballistic missile, or IRBM, is a ballistic missile with a range of 2750-5500 km or 1719-3437 miles. ...

Beginning with the collection of photo-intelligence by U-2 overflights of the Soviet Union in 1956, the Eisenhower administration had increasing hard evidence that claims of a missile gap favoring the Soviet Union were false. However, fearing that public disclosure of this evidence would jeopardize the secret U-2 flights, Eisenhower elected not to directly refute the missile gap claims by opponents, including Kennedy during the 1960 campaign, by publicly citing the evidence from the U-2 overflights. The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... Dwight David Ike Eisenhower, born David Dwight Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 - March 28, 1969) was an American soldier and politician, who served as the thirty-fourth President of the United States (1953-1961). ...

Moreover, Eisenhower was concerned that any direct public proof that the United States held vast superiority in numbers of missiles over the Soviets would publicly humiliate the Soviets by emphasizing their weakness and thus provoke them to behave more aggressively. Consequently, Eisenhower was frustrated by what he conclusively knew to be Kennedy's erroneous claims that the United States was behind the Soviet Union in number of missiles. But knowing the truth that America was substantially ahead in missiles, and confident that Americans would not believe that a professional soldier like him would ever leave America vulnerable to an enemy, Eisenhower chose not to publicly refute Kennedy.

Later evidence has emerged that one consequence of Kennedy pushing the false idea that America was behind the Soviets in a missile gap was that Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev and senior Soviet military figures began to believe that Kennedy was a dangerous extremist who, with the American military, was seeking to plant the idea of a Soviet first-strike capability to justify a pre-emptive American attack. This belief about Kennedy as a militarist was reinforced in Soviet minds by the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and led to the Soviets placing nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962. Nikita Khrushchev in 1962 Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: Ники́та Серге́евич Хрущёв) (nih-KEE-tah khroo-SHCHYOFF) (April 17, 1894 – September 11, 1971) was the leader of the Soviet Union... Combatants Cubans trained by Soviet advisers Cuban exiles trained by the United States Commanders Fidel Castro José Ramón Fernández Francisco Ciutat de Miguel Grayston Lynch Pepe San Roman Erneido Oliva Strength 51,000 1,500 Casualties various estimates; over 1,600 dead (Triay p. ... Small TextThe Cuban Missile Crisis was a bitch ass confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States in Cuba. ...

Warnings and calls to address imbalances between the fighting capabilities of two forces were not new, a "bomber gap" had exercised political concerns a few years previously. What was different about the missile gap was the fear that a distant country could strike without warning from far away with little damage to themselves. Concerns about missile gaps and similar fears, such as nuclear proliferation, continue, with most recently the aggressive missile testing between India and Pakistan. World map with nuclear weapons development status represented by color. ...

Popular culture

The whole idea of a missile gap was parodied in the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in which a Doomsday Machine is built by the Soviets because they had read in The New York Times that the U.S. was working along similar lines and wanted to avoid a "Doomsday Gap". Also in the movie, the President of the United States is warned against allowing a "mine shaft gap" to develop. For the hit 1987 single by Depeche Mode, see the album Music for the Masses Film poster for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 satirical film directed by Stanley Kubrick. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. ...

Missile Gap is also the title of the science fiction book by Charles Stross, which depict alternate resolution to the missile gap situation and subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Charles David George Charlie Stross (born Leeds, October 18, 1964) is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... Alternative history or alternate history can be: A History told from an alternative viewpoint, rather than from the view of imperialist, conqueror, or explorer. ... Small TextThe Cuban Missile Crisis was a bitch ass confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States in Cuba. ...



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