Topic: The Space Race and Sputnik
Interview Subject: Meredith's uncle, Mike Jeffers


As we were debating our topics and possible people we could interview we all thought about how major events impacted people who didn't live in major cities such as New York. Meredith told us that her dad's family had lived in the country on a farm in Mellrose, WI. He and his siblings led normal, typical lives, playing games and entertaining themselves. Being a 4th grader at the time, having limited ways of recieving news, Mike Jeffers wasn't very aware of the cold war. Things changed when Sputnik was sent into space on October 4, 1957. All of the adults in the town were talking about the threat of nuclear weapons and how it could affect them. Mike said that America became very competitive to beat the Russians. Air raid drills and bomb shelters were common in towns after the launch. His town was inbetween Chicago and the Twin Cities, major nuclear bombing targets.

In a small city like Mellrose, it can be difficult to see how there can be an impact on the people living there. When something of this magnitude comes to the nation, everyone is impacted in some way. By interviewing Mike Jeffers we have learned that when Sputnik was launched everyone seemed to be scared including people who lived in small towns. The nation wanted to give extra effort and attention to the Russians to make sure we didn't get behind in the race anymore. When the US was threatened with nuclear weapons, cities had to be ready for whatever might happen by practicing bombing drills and making bomb shelters. We were all afraid of a nuclear war coming our way; no one wanted it to start. By conducting this interview we were able to discover the tensions and feelings ofthe US during this time.