Novels Upper-intermediate

The Story of the Internet by Stephen Bryant

As we know the Internet appeared only a few decades ago. But the idea of connecting several computers together appeared much earlier. Strangely enough, the Cold War played an important part in this process. In 1957 the Soviet Union sent the first artificial Earth satellite in the history into space. It shocked Americans and made them pay more attention to the technological progress in their own country. Many great minds were involved in the creation of what we now call the Internet. They did a lot of work and faced numerous challenges. This book shows a wonderful journey in time. The readers can follow the history of the Internet from the idea of its creation to the present days. They can even speculate what kind of future might wait for this undoubtedly great invention.

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The Story of the Internet by Stephen Bryant

Until the evening of 4 October 1957, the US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was confident that he led the world’s greatest nation. In the USA, the early 1950s are known as the Eisenhower years. Many Americans remember these years as a time of wealth and happiness. The USA was the richest nation in the world and it was growing richer all the time. Almost every American could hope to own a house and a car. As a general, Eisenhower had led US armed forces to victory in the Second World War and, until that evening in 1957, it seemed that no other nation could threaten the USA.

But then some news arrived that shook America’s belief in itself; ‘The Russians are in space! The Russians are in space!’ Until this moment Americans believed that their nation was the most powerful on Earth. But now the Soviet Union had gone beyond the Earth.

Millions of radios all over the world could hear a new broadcast: ‘Beep… beep… beep…’ This electronic noise was the sound of the satellite Sputnik 1, the first object placed in space by humans. It was a Russian achievement and it shocked Americans.

The Story of the Internet by Stephen Bryant

This was the tune of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was America’s great enemy, and soldiers from both sides stood ready to fight in almost every part of the world. The risk of real fighting – a ‘hot’ war – was always present. But the Cold War was not just about armies and weapons. It was also a war of technology and ideas. Each side presented its successes in science and technology as proof that its political system was better.

So when the Soviet Union sent its little silver satellite up into the cold night sky of the Kazakh Republic, it was more then just an interesting scientific test. It was an act that showed the world that the Soviet Union was winning the war of ideas Sputnik measured just fifty-eight centimeters across. But every ninety six minutes it crossed the skies of the USA like a new moon a Russian moon.

Americans were worried. If the Russians could put a satellite into space, what else could they do? Soon they might send platforms into space as well, and drop bombs from them, right into the heart of the nation. Newspapers were soon filled with wild stories about the new dangers in space. Many Americans believed them.

‘What are we going to do about this?’ President Eisenhower asked his Secretary of Defense, Neil McElroy….

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