Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Julius & Ethel Rosenberg are Executed - 1953
After a few days of much needed rest...the blog is BACK!!!
On this date in 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were
They had been convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic
secrets to the Soviets. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed
their innocence right up to the time of their executions. The Rosenberg’s were
the first U.S. citizens to be convicted and executed for espionage during
peacetime and their case remains controversial to this day.
Julius Rosenberg was an engineer for the U.S. Army Signal
Corps who was born in New York on May 12, 1918. His wife, born Ethel
Greenglass, also in New York, on September 28, 1915, worked as a secretary. The
couple met as members of the Young Communist League, married in 1939 and had
two sons. Julius Rosenberg was arrested on suspicion of espionage on June 17,
1950, and accused of heading a spy ring that passed top-secret information
concerning the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Ethel was arrested two months
later. The Rosenberg’s were implicated by David Greenglass, Ethel's younger
brother and a former army sergeant and machinist at Los Alamos, the secret
atomic bomb lab in New Mexico. Greenglass, who himself had confessed to
providing nuclear secrets to the Soviets through an intermediary, testified
against his sister and brother-in-law in court. He later served 10 years in
The Rosenberg’s vigorously protested their innocence, but
after a brief trial that began on March 6, 1951, and attracted much media
attention, the couple was convicted. On April 5, 1951, a judge sentenced them
to death and the pair was taken to Sing Sing to await execution. During the
next two years, the couple became the subject of both national and
international debate. Some people believed that the Rosenberg’s were the
victims of a surge of hysterical anti-communist feeling in the United States, and
protested that the death sentence handed down was cruel and unusual punishment.
Many Americans, however, believed that the Rosenberg’s had been dealt with
justly. They agreed with President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he issued a
statement declining to invoke executive clemency for the pair. He stated,
"I can only say that, by immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic
war, the Rosenberg’s may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent
people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter.
But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be
directly attributable to what these spies have done."