Launch of Sputnik, Cold War Escalation Featured in New ABC-CLIO 'History and the Headlines'

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Students Can Examine Landmark Historical Events With Free Collection of Multimedia, Primary Source Resources.

Fifty years ago the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, igniting the space race and changing the world forever. Now history educators can give students an in-depth look at the impact that the launch had on the United States and the Soviet Union, and how it helped to escalate the Cold War arms race with "History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War," the next featured topic in ABC-CLIO's series of free online history resources.

Developed in partnership with The History Channel and National History Day, the site includes primary sources, video clips, expert analysis and engaging activities to help students explore the conflict that held the world in its grip for nearly 50 years. The free collection will be available until Dec. 1, 2007.

"Many of today's high school students were born after the opening of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. They cannot remember a time when we weren't exploring space," said Becky Snyder, president, ABC-CLIO. "We worked with our partners, The History Channel and National History Day, to offer historians engaging multimedia and primary source resources that will give their students first-hand insight into the way the events that brought about the Cold War unfolded, allowing them to dissect and understand that information from a broader historical perspective."

Five engaging video clips from The History Channel offer students glimpses of major milestones of the space race, including Sputnik I, Gagarin's flight and the moon landing. Then students can explore the Cold War in detail with online access to ABC-CLIO's five-volume, "Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History," edited by Spencer C. Tucker, Ph.D., and Priscilla Mary Roberts, Ph.D. The encyclopedia includes detailed essays on the Cold War, nearly 1,300 reference entries and an extensive chronology, offering students a resource for examining these historic events from many different perspectives. In addition, more than 450 images, documents and maps provide insight into the people, places and events of the Cold War.

The site's "Point of View" section features essays from leading scholars discussing how both the United States and the Soviet Union reacted to the launch of Sputnik.

Jerome V. Martin, Ph.D., contributed numerous articles to ABC-CLIO's "Encyclopedia of the Cold War" and authored an essay that explains how the Soviet government showcased Sputnik I in its propaganda battles with the United States.

"The collection of resources in 'History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War' gives students a chance to explore the powerful impact that Sputnik had on the Cold War," said Martin, command historian for the U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. "With access to primary source materials and views from historians with expertise in this pivotal time in history, teachers can bring the beginning of the space race and the Cold War to life for students."

In addition, three classroom activities developed by National History Day will help history teachers guide their students as they use the primary sources available from "History and the Headlines" to think critically about these landmark events and how they changed the world. The classroom activities focus on the American reaction to the Sputnik launch and how the Soviet Union capitalized on the public relations value of being the first country to enter space.

To visit "History and the Headlines: Sputnik Escalates the Cold War," go to

Other topics that ABC-CLIO will feature in upcoming "History and the Headlines" include "American Indian Heritage Month: Commemoration vs. Exploitation" (available Oct. 25) and "Darfur Now," marking the release of the documentary of the same name, narrated by actor Don Cheadle (available Nov. 2). To sign up to receive information about future topics in "History and the Headlines," visit

About ABC-CLIO Schools:
ABC-CLIO Schools provides history teachers and students with authoritative reference information and teacher resources that help students hone the skills of history inquiry and inquiry-based discussion as they master historical content and develop a deeper understanding of history's major themes and lessons. The ABC-CLIO Schools award-winning subscription Web sites provide a comprehensive collection of references, curriculum and current events that together simplify historical research and help students make sense of world events as they unfold. ABC-CLIO Schools is a division of ABC-CLIO, a premier history publisher for more than 50 years based in Santa Barbara, Calif. For more information or a list of available titles, visit


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