First Man in Space: Vintage Soviet Propaganda Glorifying Yuri Gagarin

Rykoff Collection
Rykoff Collection
Drawn from a set exploring the young cosmonaut's origins, the photo claims to show the young man not long after he finished trade school.

Excerpts from a collection of postcards commemorating the Soviet cosmonaut’s historic journey into outer space fifty years ago.

On April 12, 1961, a young Soviet pilot named Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth. The trip lasted a little less than two hours, but its success had extraordinary significance for the Soviet Union, which at the time was engaged in the heated “space race” with the United States.

The cosmonaut’s heroic act was the cause of great celebration in the USSR, as the country’s state-controlled media churned out countless mementos celebrating his achievement. Not only handsome, Gagarin came complete with peasant origins, making him the ideal subject for a Soviet propaganda campaign.

Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

President Barack Obama Meets with Dallas Nurse Nina Pham

Pictures of the Week: Oct. 17 – Oct. 24

From the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius and a fatal shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, to a pair of white lion cubs in Serbia and Darth Vader on the campaign trail, TIME presents the best pictures of the week

Read More
Namsa Leuba

A Fresh Look at Africa through Nigeria’s Largest Photo Festival

A North Korean woman walks on the peak of Mt. Paektu in North Korea's Ryanggang province, June 18, 2014 .

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 24, 2013

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,711 other followers