SAT Subject US History Practice Question 737: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 737

88. The U.S. government allocated massive sums of money to math and science the 1950s in response to which of the following?

A. The Soviet Union landing men on the moon
B. Fidel Castro coming to power in Cuba
C. The Soviet Union developing the world's first hydrogen bomb
D. The Soviet satellite Sputnik successfully orbiting the earth
E. The United States failing to produce a Nobel Prize winner in science

Correct Answer: D


The orbiting of Sputnik shook America's confidence in itself. Americans feared the Soviet Union was surpassing the United States in technology, leading to attempts to improve U.S. math and science education. The Soviets did not land men on the moon (A); the United States did in 1969. The Cuban Revolution influenced U.S. policy in the 1960s (B), but the shift in educational focus was a 1950s phenomenon. It was the United States that developed the first hydrogen bomb (C) in 1952. America has produced more than its share of Nobel Prize winners in science (E).

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