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Encyclopedia > Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
The Rosenbergs
The Rosenbergs

Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 28, 1915June 19, 1953) and Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918June 19, 1953) were American citizens and CPUSA members who were thrust into the world spotlight when they were tried, convicted, and executed for spying for the Soviet Union. The accuracy of these charges remains controversial, though decades later, Soviet communications decrypted by the VENONA project became publicly available, which indicate that Julius Rosenberg was actively involved in espionage, although they provided no evidence that he performed the specific acts of espionage for which he was convicted or that Ethel Rosenberg was involved. Specifically, the couple was charged with conspiracy to commit espionage and were accused of passing nuclear weapons secrets to Russian agents. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg from ABC-CLIO CD-ROM, Resource Link: 20th-Century American History. ... September 28 is the 271st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (272nd in leap years). ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... June 19 is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 195 days remaining. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) is a common year starting on Thursday. ... May 12 is the 132nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (133rd in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... June 19 is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 195 days remaining. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) is a common year starting on Thursday. ... The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is one of several Marxist-Leninist groups in the United States. ... The VENONA project was a long-running and highly secret collaboration between United States intelligence agencies and the United Kingdoms MI5 and GCHQ that involved the cryptanalysis of messages sent by several Soviet intelligence agencies. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Look up Conspiracy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Conspiracy, as a legal term, is an agreement of two or more people either to commit a crime or to achieve a lawful end by unlawful means: see conspiracy (crime), and conspiracy (civil). ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ...

Contents


Background

Julius Rosenberg was born to a Jewish family on May 12, 1918 in New York. He graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in electrical engineering in 1939 and in 1940 joined the Army Signal Corps where he worked on radar equipment. He became a leader in the Young Communist League, where in 1936 he met Ethel, whom he married three years later. May 12 is the 132nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (133rd in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... The City College of The City University of New York (known more commonly as City College of New York or simply City College, CCNY, or colloquially as City) is a senior college of the City University of New York, in New York City. ... Electrical engineers design power systems. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... The U.S. Army Signal Corps was founded in 1861 by Major Albert J. Myer, a physician by training. ... M*A*S*H , see Corporal Walter (Radar) OReilly. ... The Young Communist League was or is the name used by the youth wing of various Communist parties around the world such as the Young Communist League in Britain and the Young Communist League, USA. In the Soviet Union the youth organization under control of the Communist Party of the... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Ethel Greenglass was born on September 25, 1915 in New York, also to a Jewish family. She was an aspiring actress and singer, but eventually took a secretary job at a shipping company. She became involved in labor disputes and joined the Young Communist League, where she first met Julius. The Rosenbergs had two sons. September 25 is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years). ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... The Young Communist League was or is the name used by the youth wing of various Communist parties around the world such as the Young Communist League in Britain and the Young Communist League, USA. In the Soviet Union the youth organization under control of the Communist Party of the...


Julius Rosenberg was originally recruited by the KGB on Labor Day 1942 by former KGB spymaster Semyon Semenov. Julius had been introduced to Semyonov by Bernard Schuster, a high ranking member of the CPUSA as well as Earl Browder's personal KGB liaison. After Semyonov was recalled to Moscow in 1944, his duties were taken over by his apprentice, Alexander Feklisov. According to Feklisov, Julius was his most dedicated and valuable asset, providing thousands of classified reports from Emerson Radio including a complete proximity fuze, the same design that was used to shoot down Francis Gary Powers's U-2 in 1960. Under Feklisov administration, Julius Rosenberg recruited sympathetic individuals to the KGB’s service. Joel Barr, Al Sarant, William Perl and Morton Sobell were all recruited by Julius. [1] Semyon Semenov, NY Rezidentura X-line, 1938 - 1944 Semyon Markovich Semenov, (1911–1986): graduated from the Moscow Textile Institute in 1936 with a specialty in power engineering. ... Earl Russell Browder (May 20, 1891–June 27, 1973) was an American socialist and leader of the Communist Party USA. // Early years Browder was born in Wichita, Kansas. ... Aleksandr Semyonovich Feklisov was the KGB Case Officer who recruited Julius Rosenberg and Klaus Fuchs, among others. ... Emerson Electric Company is ranked 144 on the Fortune 500. ... Look up Proximity fuze in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A proximity fuze (also called a VT fuze) is a fuze that is designed to detonate an explosive automatically when close enough to the target to destroy it. ... Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 - August 1, 1977) was the American pilot whose U-2 plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, thus causing the U-2 Crisis of 1960. ... The U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude Surveillance aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Joel Barr, also Iozef Veniaminovich Berg and Joseph Berg, attended City College of New York with Julius Rosenberg and later worked with Rosenberg and Al Sarant at the United States Army Signal Corps laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey during World War II. Barr and Sarant were recruited into espionage... Alfred Epaminondas Sarant, also Filipp Georgievich Staros and Philip Georgievich Staros, was a member of the Communist Political Association in New York City in 1944 and engineer who was part of the Rosenberg spy ring that reported to Soviet intelligence in New York City. ... William Perl, whose real name was William Mutterperl, was a student at the City College of New York. ... Morton Sobell was an engineer who worked for General Electric and Reeves Electronics on military and government contracts. ...


Under Julius Rosenberg’s direction Perl supplied Feklisov with thousands of documents from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics including a complete set of design and production drawings for the Lockheed's P-80 Shooting Star. Feklisov learned through Julius that his brother-in-law David Greenglass was working on the top secret Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and used Julius to recruit him. [2] The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Force. ... Los Alamos National Laboratory, aerial view from 1995. ...


During World War II, the USSR and the USA became allies in war, but the USA was highly suspicious of Joseph Stalin's intentions. As such, the Americans did not share information or seek assistance from the Soviet Union for the Manhattan Project. The Soviets were aware of the project as a result of espionage penetration of the US government, however, and had made a number of attempts to infiltrate its operations at the University of California, Berkeley. A number of project members — some high-profile, others lower in rank — did voluntarily give secret information to Russian agents, many because they were sympathetic to communism (or the Soviet Union's role in the war) and did not feel that the USA should have a monopoly on atomic weapons. Combatants Allies: • Soviet Union, • UK & Commonwealth, • USA, • France/Free France, • China, • Poland, • ...and others Axis: • Germany, • Japan, • Italy, • ...and others Casualties Military dead: 18 million Civilian dead: 33 million Full list Military dead: 7 million Civilian dead: 4 million Full list World War II, also known as the Second World... (help· info), in full: Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), born Dzhugashvili (Джугашвили), Georgian: Ioseb Jughashvili (იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი); (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878 – March 5, 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s to his death in 1953. ... Control panels and operators for calutrons at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ... University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (also known as California, Cal, UCB, UC Berkeley, The University of California, or simply Berkeley) is a public, coeducational university situated east of the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley, California, overlooking the Golden Gate. ...


After the war, the US resisted efforts to share nuclear secrets, but the Soviet Union was able to produce its own atomic weapons by 1949. Their first nuclear test, "Joe 1", shocked the West in the speed it was produced. It was discovered in January 1950 that Klaus Fuchs, a German refugee theoretical physicist working for the British mission in the Manhattan Project, had given key documents to the Russians throughout the war. Through Fuchs' confession, US and UK intelligence agents were able to find his "courier", Harry Gold, who was arrested on May 23, 1950. A former machinist at the top-secret Los Alamos laboratory, Sgt. David Greenglass, confessed to having passed secret information on to the USSR through Gold as well. He testified that his sister, Ethel Rosenberg, and her husband, Julius, had also passed secrets. Another accused conspirator, Morton Sobell, fled to Mexico City, but was later deported to the United States for trial. 1949 (MCMXLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday. ... A nuclear test explosion is an experiment involving the detonation of a nuclear weapon. ... External links http://gawain. ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Klaus Fuchs ID badge photo from Los Alamos. ... Harry Gold born 12 December 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsyvania. ... May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Los Alamos National Laboratory, aerial view from 1995. ... David Greenglass David Greenglass (b. ... Morton Sobell was an engineer who worked for General Electric and Reeves Electronics on military and government contracts. ... Mexico City (Spanish: Ciudad de México) is the name of a megacity located in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus (altiplano) in the South of Mexico, about 2,240 meters (7,349 feet) above sea-level, surrounded on most sides...


Trial and conviction

The case against the Rosenbergs and Sobell began on March 6, 1951. The prosecution's primary witness, David Greenglass, stated that his sister Ethel, working as a "probationer” or "agent", as defined by the VENONA Historical Monographs which accompanied the NSA's release of Venona materials[3], typed notes containing US nuclear secrets. These were later turned over to Harry Gold, who would then turn them over to Anatoly A. Yakovlev of the KGB X-line in New York City. March 6 is the 65th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (66th in Leap years). ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... NSA can stand for: National Security Agency of the USA The British Librarys National Sound Archive This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Anatoliy Yatskov NY Rezidentura X-line, 1941 - 1946 Anatoli A. Yakovlev (Anatoliy Antonovich Yatskov) (31 May 1913 - March 1993) was General Consul of the Soviet Unions legation in New York City in the 1940s. ... Nickname: The Big Apple Motto: Official website: City of New York Location [[Image:|250px|250px|Location of City of New York, New York]] Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R...


From the beginning, the trial attracted a high amount of media attention, and like the trial of Alger Hiss, generated a largely polarized response from observers, some of whom believed the Rosenbergs to be clearly guilty, and others who asserted their innocence. Alger Hiss Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was a U.S. State Department official and Secretary General to the founding charter conference of the United Nations. ...


Although the notes typed by Ethel apparently contained little that was relevant to the Soviet atomic bomb project, this was sufficient evidence for the grand jury to indict Ethel and enough for the jury to convict on the conspiracy to commit espionage charge. Supporters felt that a capital charge of conspiracy to commit espionage was not only far too severe, but was not supported by the available evidence. Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime, often called a capital offense or a capital crime. ...


It is believed that part of the reason Ethel was indicted in addition to Julius was so that the prosecution could use her as a 'lever' to pressure Julius into giving up the names of others who were involved. If that was the case, it did not work. On the witness stand Julius asserted his right under the Fifth Amendment to not incriminate himself whenever asked about his involvement in the Communist Party or with its members. Ethel did similarly. Neither defendant was viewed sympathetically by the jury. Amendment V (the Fifth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure. ... In modern usage, a communist party is a political party which promotes communism, the sociopolitical philosophy based on Marxism. ...


Investigations into the couple's history revealed conflicting evidence that Julius Rosenberg had many dealings with an NKVD agent. Since the end of the Cold War, the Russian government has released documentation that shows Julius Rosenberg was providing information to the NKVD. Alexander Feklisov has stated in a memoir and in many interviews that he was Julius Rosenberg's control agent, and met Julius on over 50 occasions over a three year period beginning in 1943. Mr. Feklisov said that, though Julius had provided military secrets, he was never able to provide any information of substance concerning the atomic bomb. The NKVD (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (help· info))(Russian: НКВД, Народный комиссариат внутренних дел) or Peoples Commisariat for Internal Affairs was a government department which handled a number of the Soviet Unions affairs of state. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ...


The role played by Assistant United States Attorney Roy Cohn, the prosecutor in the case, is controversial, since Cohn stated in his autobiography that he influenced the selection of the judge, and pushed him to impose the death penalty on both Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Cohn, four months before he died from complications which were brought on by AIDS. Roy Marcus Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) was an American lawyer who came to prominence during the investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy into Communism in the government and especially during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. ...


Execution

The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, and sentenced to death under section 2 of the Espionage Act, 50 U.S. Code 32 (now 18 U.S. Code 794), which prohibits transmitting or attempting to transmit to a foreign government information "relating to the national defense", by judge Irving Kaufman on April 5. The conviction helped to fuel Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations into "anti-American activities" by US citizens. While their devotion to the Communist cause was well documented, they denied the spying charges even as they faced the electric chair. March 29 is the 88th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (89th in Leap years). ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... The Espionage Act was passed by the 65th United States Congress on June 15, 1917, during World War I. This act made it a crime, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 20 years in jail, for a person to convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere... The United States Code (U.S.C.) is the general and permanent federal Law of the United States. ... Irving Robert Kaufman (June 24, 1910 - February 1, 1992) was the judge who presided over the trial of Ethel Rosenberg. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... Joseph Raymond McCarthy Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was a Republican Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 to 1957. ... The term electric-chair is sometimes used in publications by organizations of people with disabilities to mean electric-powered wheelchair. The first electric chair, which was used to execute William Kemmler in 1890 The electric chair is a device used in some states in the United States for execution of...


The couple were the only two American civilians to be executed for espionage-related activity during the Cold War. In imposing the death penalty, Judge Kaufman noted that he held them responsible not only for espionage but also for the deaths of the Korean War: The Cold War was the protracted geostrategic, economic, and ideological struggle that emerged after World War II between the global superpowers of the Soviet Union and the United States, supported by their respective and emerging alliance partners. ... Overview map of the Korean War The Korean War, from June 25, 1950 to cease-fire on July 27, 1953 (the war has not ended officially), was a conflict between North Korea and South Korea. ...

I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb [...] has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason.

Their case has been at the center of the controversy over communism in the United States ever since, with supporters steadfastly maintaining that their conviction was an egregious example of persecution typical of the "hysteria" of those times (see Red Scare, McCarthyism) and likening it to the witch hunts that marred Salem and medieval Europe (a comparison that provided the inspiration for Arthur Miller's critically acclaimed play, The Crucible). Political cartoon of the era depicting an anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty. ... McCarthyism took place during a period of intense suspicion in the United States primarily from 1950 to 1954, when the U.S. government was actively countering American Communist Party subversion, its leadership, and others suspected of being Communists or Communist sympathizers. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Arthur Miller in his later years Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright, essayist and author. ... Cover to the 1953 book The Crucible is a play that was written by Arthur Miller in 1952. ...


At the time, some Americans believed both Rosenbergs were innocent or received too harsh a punishment, and a grass-roots campaign was started to try to stop the couple's execution. Other Americans felt that the couple got what they deserved. Pope Pius XII appealed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower to spare the couple, but he refused on February 11, 1953, and all other appeals were also unsuccessful. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dwight David Ike Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American soldier and politician. ... February 11 is the 42nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...


The couple were executed in the electric chair on June 19, 1953. Reports of the execution state that Julius died after the first application of electricity, but Ethel did not succumb immediately, and was subjected to two more electrical charges before being pronounced dead. The chair was designed for a man, and Ethel Rosenberg was a petite woman; this discrepancy resulted, it is claimed, in the electrodes fitting poorly. Eyewitness testimony describes smoke rising from her head. The term electric-chair is sometimes used in publications by organizations of people with disabilities to mean electric-powered wheelchair. The first electric chair, which was used to execute William Kemmler in 1890 The electric chair is a device used in some states in the United States for execution of... June 19 is the 170th day of the year (171st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 195 days remaining. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Posthumous revelations

In 1995, the National Security Agency publicly released documents from the VENONA project, an effort to decrypt intercepted communications between Soviet agents and the NKVD/KGB. A 1944 cable from New York to Moscow makes it clear that Julius Rosenberg was engaged in espionage, though the importance of his effort is not clear, particularly considering that the Soviets were receiving information on the Atomic bomb from Klaus Fuchs and Donald Maclean. Ethel's involvement is not clear from the VENONA transcripts. A document from November 27, 1944 [1] specifically about Ethel lists her as a "fellowcountryman" and claims that she was aware of Julius' work. Ethel was apparently never assigned a code name — Julius was always referred to as "ANTENNA" or "LIBERAL" — which has cast doubt onto her significance and involvement. 1995 (MCMXCV in Roman) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... NSA seal The National Security Agency / Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is believed to be the largest United States government intelligence agency. ... The VENONA project was a long-running and highly secret collaboration between United States intelligence agencies and the United Kingdoms MI5 and GCHQ that involved the cryptanalysis of messages sent by several Soviet intelligence agencies. ... The NKVD (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (help· info))(Russian: НКВД, Народный комиссариат внутренних дел) or Peoples Commisariat for Internal Affairs was a government department which handled a number of the Soviet Unions affairs of state. ... The KGB emblem and motto: The sword and the shield KGB (transliteration of КГБ) is the Russian-language abbreviation for State Security Committee, (Russian: (help· info); Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Klaus Fuchs ID badge photo from Los Alamos. ... Donald Duart Maclean Soviet Spy Donald Duart Maclean (May 25, 1913- 6 March 1983) was one of the Cambridge Five, members of MI5 and MI6 who acted as spies for the Soviet Union in the Second World War. ... November 27 is the 331st day (332nd on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In his memoirs, published posthumously in 1990, Nikita Khrushchev praised the pair for their "very significant help in accelerating the production of our atomic bomb." Whether this was in fact the case, however, has been disputed. [2] The quality of the information given to the Soviets, as reported by Greenglass, was also quite poor in comparison to the information given by Fuchs, who had a much more intimate understanding of the research being done, as revealed by records of Fuchs' detailed transmissions in the now-opened Soviet archives. A memoir, as a literary genre, forms a sub-class of autobiography. ... This article is about the year. ... (help· info) (Ники́та Серге́евич Хрущёв) IPA: , April 17, 1894 â€“ September 11, 1971, was the leader of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ...


David Greenglass was spared execution in exchange for his testimony. He spent 10 years in prison and was released in 1960, and has lived under an assumed name since his release. Decades later, in late 2000, Greenglass claimed that he had committed perjury and falsely implicated his sister Ethel. Greenglass said he chose to turn in his sister in order to protect his wife and children. David Greenglass David Greenglass (b. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article is about the year 2000. ... Perjury is lying or making verifiably false statements under oath in a court of law. ...


Controversy

From the beginning of their trial through the present, the Rosenberg case has been a controversial issue, with individual opinions falling roughly among ideological lines. There are a number of points of contention which still hold, even after the revelation of many hundreds of pages of previously secret evidence.

  • To what extent was Ethel involved? As noted above, there seem to be reasons to believe that while Julius was likely involved in some form of espionage, his wife Ethel may have not been, or not to the extent to which she was convicted. The VENONA transcripts are ambiguous as to Ethel's involvement, and the government case against her seems to have rested only on the testimony of her brother, David Greenglass, who later apparently told reporters that he had perjured himself in order to lessen his own sentence and to help his wife avoid jail time. [3]
  • Were they given a fair trial? There are many critics who have alleged that the political climate of the time, and the seemingly a priori conviction by Judge Kaufman of the pair's guilt, would have made it impossible for the Rosenbergs to have had a fair trial by an impartial jury. The Rosenberg lawyer, Emanuel Bloch, also made a number of massive legal blunders (such as not cross-examining Harry Gold, who in later trials was found to be highly unreliable) suggesting either his incompetence or inability to cope with such a high-profile trial.
  • Was their sentence fair? The imposition of the death sentence upon the Rosenbergs has been the most controversial aspect of the case, as they were sentenced far more harshly than any other "atomic spies," primarily because they refused to confess to their alleged crimes. Klaus Fuchs, who spied for many more years than the Rosenbergs were alleged to and gave far more sensitive information to the Soviet Union, was only sentenced to 14 years in jail by comparison, in part because he cooperated with authorities and because the Soviet Union was an ally of the United States and the United Kingdom at the time he passed on information. This latter point—whether the alleged Rosenberg espionage in 1945 should be held to the international politics of 1950—is one of special contention, as some critics (the Rosenbergs' sons, in particular) have argued that the Rosenbergs were not trying to undermine the United States when they gave the USSR classified information, but rather trying to help the USSR fight against a greater enemy, Nazi Germany. In 1950, though, this distinction was not made by the U.S. judge or jury, who saw their espionage in the context of the Cold War, Judge Kaufman going so far as to blame the couple for the Korean War.
  • Did they actually help the Russian program? Recent scholarship has suggested that Greenglass and the Rosenbergs actually knew very little about the workings of the atomic weapons aside from basic concepts that the Russians had already acquired through other espionage sources anyway (or would have likely figured out fairly quickly on their own once their atomic bomb project was put into full production), and compared to the information given by Fuchs and Theodore Hall, it is unlikely that the Rosenberg/Greenglass data would have significantly aided the Soviet project. Even the detailed information given by Fuchs and Hall seems to have only marginally sped up the Soviet project, as it was heavily distrusted by project leader Lavrenty Beria. This, of course, is a question not necessarily related to their guilt or sentencing.

A priori is a Latin phrase meaning from the former or less literally before experience. In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or prior to, experience. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Theodore Halls ID badge photo from Los Alamos. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 - 23 December 1953), Soviet politician and police chief. ...

The Rosenbergs' children

The Rosenbergs' two sons, Robert and Michael, were orphaned by the execution, and no relatives dared adopt them for fear of ostracism or worse. They were finally adopted by the songwriters Ann and Abel Meeropol. Abel Meeropol wrote the classic anti-lynching anthem "Strange Fruit," made famous by singer Billie Holiday. Robert and Michael co-wrote a book about the experience, We are your sons: The legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1975), and Robert wrote another book in 2004, An execution in the family: One son's journey. In 1990, Robert founded the Rosenberg Fund for Children, a non-profit foundation which provides support for children whose parents are Left-wing activists involved in court cases. Robert Meeropol (b. ... Michael Meeropol (born 1943) is the oldest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. ... Ostracism was a procedure under the Athenian democracy where a prominent citizen could be expelled from the city for ten years. ... The American writer Abel Meeropol (1903 - 1986) is best known under his pseudonym Lewis Allan, under which he wrote the anti-lynching song Strange Fruit, famously performed by Billie Holiday. ... Postcard depicting the lynching of Lige Daniels, Center, Texas, USA, August 3, 1920. ... Billie Holiday photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1949 For the Canadian broadcaster, see Billie Holiday (broadcaster). ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... The Rosenberg Fund for Children, founded in 1990 by Robert Meeropol and named in honor of his parents Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the only two United States civilians to be executed for conspiracy to commit espionage during the Cold War. ... In politics, left-wing, political left, leftism, or simply the left, are terms which refer (with no particular precision) to the segment of the political spectrum typically associated with any of several strains of socialism, social democracy, or liberalism (especially in the American sense of the word), or with opposition...


Michael's daughter, Ivy Meeropol, directed a 2004 documentary about her grandparents, Heir to an Execution, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Ivy Meeropol is the producer and director of the 2004 documentary Heir to an Execution. ... The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival in the United States, and ranks amongst the top five events of its type in the world. ...


In fiction

  • The first sentence of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
  • A play, The Rubenstein Kiss debuted at the Hampstead Theatre in London on 17 November 2005. Inspired by the iconic photograph showing Ethel and Julius Rosenberg kissing in the back of a police van, the play takes place during both the final years, pre- and post- trial, of the Rosenbergs' lives, and also in 1975, when two young radicals explore the Rosenbergs' life and trial. Written and directed by James Phillips, the original production starred Samantha Bond and Will Keen.
  • In the 1992 film Citizen Cohn, a fictionalized version of Ethel Rosenberg is played by actress Karen Ludwig. Both in this film and in Angels in America, Ethel only appears as a ghost or hallucination that Roy Cohn supposedly had during his last days as he was suffering from complications brought on by AIDS.

The Book of Daniel (1971) is semi-historical novel by E. L. Doctorow, loosely based on the trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. ... E.L. Doctorow, photograph by Jill Krementz, from back cover of Doctorows 1975 novel Ragtime Edgar Lawrence Doctorow (born January 6, 1931, New York, New York) is the author of several critically acclaimed novels that blend history and social criticism. ... Daniel is a 1983 film which was adapted by E. L. Doctorow from his novel The Book of Daniel. ... Timothy Hutton (born 16 August 1960) is an American actor. ... Robert Coover (born February 4, 1932) is an American author and professor in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. ... The Public Burning is a 1977 novel by Robert Coover. ... In contemporary usage, parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it. ... Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is an award-winning American playwright most famous for his play Angels in America. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner. ... Meryl Streep at the 75th Academy Awards (2003) Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an Oscar-winning American actress who has received numerous accolades for her work in movies and television and who, from the 1980s to the present day, has been regarded as one of the best in... HBO logo HBO (Home Box Office) is a premium cable television network. ... A self-portrait circa 1951. ... The Bell Jar book cover The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plaths only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece. ... Citizen Cohn is the 1992 cable movie covering the life of controversial Joseph McCarthy supporter Roy Cohn. ... Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner. ... Cohn, four months before he died from complications which were brought on by AIDS. Roy Marcus Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) was an American lawyer who came to prominence during the investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy into Communism in the government and especially during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. ...

Notes

  1. Alexander Feklisov and Sergei Kostin, The Man Behind the Rosenbergs. Enigma Books (2001). ISBN 1929631081. p. 140-147.
  2. ibid.
  3. VENONA Historical Monograph #2: New York KGB Tradecraft and Operations, 1942-1943. National Security Agency. 1995.

See also

Andrei Sakharov (left) with Igor Kurchatov (right) The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb began during World War II in the Soviet Union. ... This photo, showing Oswald wielding a rifle, a handgun, and the newspapers The Militant and The Worker, was one of three taken on March 31, 1963 in the backyard of his Dallas home by his wife Marina. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Atom Spies, is a term referring to people in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada who are thought to have illicitly given information about nuclear weapons production or design to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early Cold War. ...

Further reading

  • Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton, The Rosenberg File: A Search for the Truth, Henry Holt (1983), hardcover, ISBN 0030490367

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Wikinfo | Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1050 words)
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were American Communists who captured and maintained world attention after being accused and convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
Ethel Rosenberg was born on September 28, 1915 in New York.
Julius Rosenberg's main KGB contact was Alexander Feklisov, who met Julius on over 50 occasions over a three year period beginning in 1943.
Rosenbergs Trial: An Account of the Trial with links. (3188 words)
The primary interest of the FBI in Ethel Rosenberg in July of 1950, lay in the possibility of threatening her with prosecution as a means of convincing Julius to talk.
Ethel was imprisoned immediately, denied even the opportunity to return home to arrange care for her two sons, who had been spending the afternoon with a neighbor.
Julius Rosenberg testified as to his modest lifestyle, inconsistent-- it was suggested by the defense-- with the rewards one would expect a world class spy to have received.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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