International prestige and the American space programme
This thesis considers the role of prestige in international relations through a case study of the early years of the American space programme. After discussing the dearth of literature on the place of prestige in international relations, it examines the effect of prestige considerations on the space policy of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations. Although urged to pursue a spectacular space programme for the sake of American prestige, Eisenhower believed that international prestige was not a matter requiring government intervention. Consequently, he favoured a small civilian space programmme structured according to scientific rather than political criteria. The opposite was the case for President Kennedy. It is shown how his experience in Congress, followed by his 1960 election campaign, gave him a different perspective on the political importance and utility of international prestige. This was appreciated by advocates of a manned lunar landing, who were able to present the Apollo project to him in terms of its international prestige value. Finally, after noting the changing attitude towards the space programme between 1961 and 1963, as well as the diminished American interest in international prestige by 1969, the thesis compares the experiences of the two administrations to draw some conclusions about the factors necessary for prestige to play an important role in international policy.