Many of us learned about the Soviet Union through heavily propagandistic Hollywood films (a la Rambo III and Rocky IV), where the Soviets were portrayed as evil, mechanical robots with no human feelings whatsoever. However, the truth about America’s greatest rivalry was vastly different. Being one of the world’s two superpowers for most of the second half of the twentieth century, the USSR went head-to-head with the United States in a series of fields from technology to science, military power to sports, and politics to culture. By the mid-1950s, the Cold War had worked its way into the fabric of everyday life in both countries, fueled by the arms race and the growing threat of nuclear war, wide-ranging espionage, the Space Race, the Korean War, and the clash between two different governing and socioeconomic systems. The Soviet Union became the first country to send a satellite (Sputnik), an animal (Laika), a man (Yuri Gagarin), and a woman (Valentina Tereshkova) into space, taking an early lead in the Space Race, but the United States finished stronger by putting a man on the moon (Neil Armstrong). These are 25 Perplexing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The USSR.