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The President Who Made Apollo: John F. Kennedy and The U.S. Soviet Moon Race, From His Speeches, Letters, and Memos

Mo Liu, VI Form

 

The President Who Made Apollo: John F. Kennedy and The U.S. Soviet Moon Race, From His Speeches, Letters, and Memos

Editors’ Note:  Mo Liu conducted her History Fellowship research on J.F. Kennedy and his decision to go to the Moon. Below is the introduction and you can click here for the full paper:

Introduction

Soviets, Space, and Sputnik

As the gunpowder smoke of the Second World War slowly faded away, the United States and the Soviet Union were the only two superpowers remaining, and the formal allies soon turned into bitter rivals.[1]The United States believed it stood supreme in ideals, leadership, and influence, while the Soviet Union was determined to contest that claim and “by any means necessary” secure its position at the top.[2]Given the intense differences between their ideologies, cultures, and government structures, conflicts were inevitable. The Cold War, the longest war in modern history, began quietly without a shot of cannon.

Towards the end of WWII, the United States and the Soviet Union were competing for German rocketry technology as well as scientists working on the rocket development project. Rockets received attention primarily due to their potential as a military weapon; the sole function of rockets was thought to be as carriers of atomic warheads. The United States and the Soviet Union’s desperation to gain the secrets to German rocketry was, therefore, a result of their desire to strengthen each nation’s military arsenal. The rocketry competition rose to new heights on October 4, 1957, when the Soviets launched the first satellite into orbit.[3]The Soviet Union accomplished this great feat without making any previous announcement, so, when amateur space enthusiasts in the United States picked up Sputnik’s radio signals as it flew across the American sky, the entire nation reacted with amazement and disbelief. In an open letter to The New York Herald Tribune, economist Bernard Baruch described America’s reaction to Sputnik: “Suddenly, rudely, we are awakened to the fact that the Russians have outdistanced us in a race which we thought we were winning. It is Russia, not the United States, who has had the imagination to hitch its wagon to the stars and the skill to reach for the Moon and all but grasp it.”[4]The space race, as people would later call it, had officially begun. (more…)

Baseball: A Diplomatic Tool Between the U.S. and Cuba

By Matt Walsh, IV Form

Baseball: A Diplomatic Tool Between the U.S. and Cuba

When Mr. Calagione, our varsity baseball coach, first mentioned the prospect of visiting Cuba in the spring of 2017, I was dubious. Although President Obama had shown signs of improving diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2014, I had believed that American travel to Cuba would have to wait several years. The opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of Cuba, a country impoverished by many regimes of cruel dictators and gripped by the historical intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union, intrigued me. I never considered Mr. Calagione’s idea to visit Cuba as a realistic proposal. It was not until he gathered all members of the baseball team in October that the prospect of visiting Cuba became legitimate. The appearance of the word “Cuba” on that piece of paper immediately enlivened me. While I looked forward to playing baseball, enjoying the warm weather, and interacting with locals using my Spanish, the learning aspect of the trip was what excited me the most. The historical context of Cuba from colonialism to the revolution created a unique social, cultural, and political landscape that I was excited to learn about. My eagerness to learn about the livelihoods of those with different social and cultural backgrounds often drove me to engage in what I call “research frenzies”: the hectic act of researching a topic of interest by delving into articles, videos, and photos on the internet using more than thirty tabs. This was often a time consuming (and battery consuming) endeavor that acted in place of actual traveling, and it fulfilled my desire to learn about other cultures. I would always choose travel over feverishly scouring the internet, so the opportunity to visit Cuba for a week energized me. (more…)

On Defining a Nation in The Global Seminar

By Laura Sabino, III Form

On Defining a Nation in The Global Seminar

A nation does not need to have a large number of members or consist of one piece of land. A nation is a group of people that are connected to each other because there is something that unites them, such as a common leader or government.

Different nations can be defined by politics. Politically, a nation is a group of people that live in the same certain country, follow the government of said country, and live together as a community. In politics, a nation is a country’s land and all that is in it. However, different types of nations can share something in common that is unrelated to politics. This is like a music artist who has a nation of fans because those fans are brought together by something they all have in common: a love for the performer. (more…)

Anarchism 101

By Claudia Chung, VI Form

Anarchism 101

First and foremost, I feel the need to clarify the definition and etymology of the word Anarchism. Etymology traces the word back to its Greek roots of an (without) and arkhos (leader, chief). From the two parts, comes the words anarkhia and anarkhos and, eventually, anarchy and anarchism. All the words have one identical meaning: without rulers. It is due to the common misuse of the word in literature and entertainment media that anarchy has now become synonymous with anomie. Anomie, despite also having its roots in Greek, comes from the word anomia and carries the definition of “lawless.” Now that we have differentiated between anarchy and anomie, we can move on to the true meaning of anarchism. (more…)

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Are We Doing Anything?

By Desmond Goodwin, VI Form

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Are We Doing Anything?

SyriaFor centuries, the United States of America has promised hope for millions of people seeking freedom and safety. Our country’s rich history began with families facing perilous journeys in order to escape from religious persecution. Right now, as the United States faces the disastrous effects of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, remembering our history has never been more important. As thousands of people flee from their war torn homes, they desperately search for shelter. For refuge. Is the United States one of those places? (more…)

Literature Review: Creating Value in US Health Care Industry

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By David Baek, VI Form

Literature Review: Creating Value in US Health Care Industry

Redefining Health Care, by Michael Porter, and Fixing Health Care From Inside & Out, by several Harvard Business School professors, will be the foundation upon which this review will be built. The two books differ in that the former centers its content on a general, abstract principle that can be applied to the whole industry while the latter provides practical business solutions to problems occurring inside each component of the industry. Many health care leaders today are provided with far too many solutions, such as these two, to decide which one is the best option. This review serves to combine the two seemingly complementary solutions to better the health care leaders’ vision for moving US health care forward.

The status quo of the health care industry is looking very dim. There have been reports of unhelpful pharmaceutical mergers, doctors charging patients unnecessary amounts, a decline in employer-based (more…)