With east-west relations now better than ever, we are finding out more and more about what really went on during the cold war. We are finding that money spent on weapons technology could have been spent on food and education. This also applies to audio-visual technical advances as well. In 1954 the U.S.S.R. was very close to making space travel a possibility. Scientists worked in 12 hour shifts trying to beat the U.S.A. in getting to space. During the long hot summer of 1954 a strange thing happened: Stalin gave orders to stop space research and testing. It was announced that funds set aside for continuing space research would be diverted into audio-visual research.

What caused one of the world's greatest superpowers to halt work on one of the most monumental tasks man has ever undertaken, and to place vasts amounts of time, manpower and money into audio visual technology: a field of research many people would say is the backwater of modern technical study?
The Chetnic was a prototype that was never manufactured. If it was it would have been the largest projector ever made. It was to be capable of projecting onto the moon. It would have been a very different world if the hammer and sickle was flashed up on the moon every night!


To find an answer to why such a change in direction of policy, funding and effort was taken by Moscow, we have to examine Stalin's motives. Stalin had been on a fact-finding tour of Prague in April of 1954. After handing out tractor production medals to Communist Party factory workers, he was invited to open the first Audio-Visual Trade Expo athe the Prague Trade and Agricultural Convention Centre. Stalin was impressed and envious of the West's selection of audio-visual aids. He was visibly dismayed with the clunky and awkward Eastern Bloc entries. He vowed to put the Soviet Union on the road to audio visual domination of the world.

He was like a mad man, "Bigger, Bigger!!"
he would cry out when shown the plans
.

<<back home