The Sputnik launch was a significant event in the Cold War. The Soviets sold Sputnik to the world as an example of socialist technological superiority. Soviet Union sent a message that their form of government, communism, was better than America's, democracy. The Americans were threatened and they criticized President Eisenhower for allowing the Soviets to surpass them. Meanwhile, Premier Kruschev was celebrating the launch, as depicted in the political cartoon.
“Sputnik was more than 50 times larger than the tiny 3.5 pound Vanguard satellite that America was planning to launch. The implications were obvious. Soviet missles poweful enough to launch Sputnik could also launch nuclear weapons.” (The Cold War: Space Race) The size of the Vanguard satellite compared to the Sputnik satellite was embarrassing. USA's Vanguard satellite weighed 2.6 pounds, while Sputnik weighed 184 pounds. Since the Soviet satellite was so large, it was believed to have spying capabilities. It was a time of complete chaos and fear in the United States.