Many feel that the Soviets in launching Sputnik 1 were making a veiled threat against the US as well as parading the technological achievement of launching an artificial satellite. The R-7 booster used was designed primarily as an ICBM, not a space launcher. That "beep-beep-beep" going overhead several times a day sent a message stronger than lofting a bomb down a test range.
The difference between the two is very small. You may get a large CEP if your math sucks or your booster isn't all that, but we're talking nukes here.