The Cold War was a surrealist conflict of the mind. Two antagonist, Capitalist-Democracy and Soviet-Communism, played mind games on the World's stage. Neither one wanted to be inferior to the other. Neither one wanted to be 'left behind' in technology and achievement. The Unites States of America played for the Capitalist-Democracy team against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This war would not see a direct clash between armies. This war was fought in proxy wars, such as the Vietnam War: 1962 - 1975. Although the Vietnam War is symbolic of the cultural change of the 1960s, where 10s of thousands of people lost their lives, it was a show put on by the two teams so they could engage in a far more important game - The Space Race.
The Space Race was a battle to see which team could build and deliver a sound and functional nuclear warhead missile system. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs, were the primary reason for engaging in the misdirection of a space race. It was of paramount importance for both sides to win, win, win at any cost.
When John. F. Kennedy told the world that the US would have a man on the Moon and return him safely by the end of the decade (1960s), he placed a millstone around the collective necks of NASA personnel. There was no escaping that fact that their President's demand must be met. If they failed the Soviets would become more confident of their own superiority. Many NASA people believed it was too tall an order and that they would not be ready for a manned moon landing attempt until the end of the 70s - 18 years not 8. Lives were lost, astronauts were blamed for events that were beyond their control. The Space Race effectively ended with the return moon mission astronauts splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 1969.
The Cold War continued until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The two nations, USA and Russia, now work together in space programs, a far cry from the fears of the 1960s - 1970s when people all over the world half expected their lives to be cut short by a nuclear holocaust. It is not difficult to understand why the Apollo program was faked. No-one likes a loser. Everyone loves a winner. The 'landings' put the American people at ease and they saw their government as the superior power. And if they were capable of landing astronauts on the Moon then they could easily protect their citizens against Soviet aggression. It really is easily understood if you put your mind into a 1960's context and view the world as it was then.