Relations with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower believed that the best way to improve Soviet-American relations was through face-to-face meetings, or summit conferences. The first summit conference with the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France was held in Geneva in 1955. Although nothing substantive came out of the summit, there was a noticeable lessening of tensions between the countries that was attributed to the “spirit of Geneva.” That spirit quickly dissipated, however, when Russian tanks put down the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and after the USSR launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, in 1957, demonstrating that the Soviet Union could launch long-range nuclear missiles against the United States. Sputnik also triggered the “space race,” generated talk of a
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