The end of the Cold War brings massive layoffs, but tech billionaires choose Southern California to launch their space companies, injecting new vigor to the industry in the region. Though committed to the “democratization” of space, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit include the Pentagon as a major customer.
The triumphant and tragic Space Race unfolds in the first-hand accounts of those who pioneered the technology and built the hardware that made possible mankind’s greatest achievement: landing on the moon. Meantime, the military-industrial-complex expands unchecked.
This episode traces how the Cold War and Pentagon dollars fund the explosive growth of modern Los Angeles and create the military-industrial-complex. Entire suburbs such as Lakewood are built in record time to house defense industry workers, while also restricting non-white races from living there. Fear of nuclear annihilation spawns the science-fiction genre for Hollywood.
“Wings” establishes Southern California as the undisputed aviation capital of the world, tracing its growth from the 1910 Los Angeles Air Meet to becoming America’s “arsenal of democracy” during World War II, led by Jack Northrop, Glenn Martin and Donald Douglas. Critics see an unhealthy alliance developing between the federal government and aircraft manufacturers.