Following an armistice in 1953, the fighting in the Korean War came to an end. However, just two years later, the outbreak of the Vietnam War meant that the U.S. and the USSR had a new arena in which to continue their proxy conflict. This war in fact dragged on for two decades – until North Vietnamese troops finally took hold of the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, in 1975.
However, supporting the wars in Korea and Vietnam wasn’t the only way in which the United States and the Soviet Union came head to head. You see, during the 1950s and ’60s both powers competed in the Space Race – a rivalry that began with the development of long-range ballistic missiles. And the determination to explore the new frontier of space gave both powers the opportunity to flaunt their technological and scientific might.
In 1957 the Space Race really got underway when the USSR beat the U.S. to launching the world’s first satellite into Earth’s orbit. This turn of events certainly came as a shock and a worry to many Americans. So as a result, the country upped the ante on its own space exploration efforts in a bid to catch up.