COLD WAR: The Beeper's Message

As Sputnik whirled serenely overhead, a startled world looked at Russia with new respect.

Part of the reaction was based on the presumption that if the Soviets could launch Sputnik, they had an intercontinental missile, or at least were ahead in the development of one. That presumption was far from an established fact. "Five hundred and sixty miles is only the distance from Bonn to Vienna," growled West Germany's Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. "It does not prove they can fire anything parallel to the earth over a distance of many thousand miles." And even if Sputnik did imply Russian possession of...

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