As this paper will detail, US government elites, from Johnson to foreign affairs officers to astronauts, utilized Project Apollo to assert the United States' role as a global steward in the postwar era. After the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik established outer space as the arena where the Cold War competition for political alignment would play out, the United States invested immense resources in human space exploration. These resources not only launched humans to the moon, they also funded the largest information campaign in history. The United States' promotion of Project Apollo abroad, especially the first lunar landing, engaged over half of the world’s population, yet historians have not investigated the implications of this global-scale diplomacy undertaking.
Through a comparative analysis of how the United States' employed Project Apollo to support its foreign relations interests in different national contexts, this presentation shows how lunar exploration was part of a broader political strategy to build a global coalition aligned with US Cold War interests.
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