The Execution of the Rosenbergs

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Espionage, McCarthyism

During the Cold War, Americans lived in a society where the tension between the Soviet Union was at its peak in history. It was a time when the hatred against communism and the idea of nationalism were growing exponentially. Meanwhile, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were arrested for the accusations of helping the Soviets create the atomic bomb, which was the United States’ only advantage over the Soviets. Their arrest eventually led to the first ever execution of espionage in United States history. However, the justification of their execution is still being debated to this day. Did the Rosenbergs deserve such a harsh sentence or was it a misjudgment driven by the fear of communism? The political and social aspects of society certainly directed the fear of communism to overshadow the innocence of the Rosenbergs, making them the most controversial spies in American history.

During World War II, many countries including the Soviet Union were skeptical about the existence of the atomic bomb. However, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the strength of the atomic bomb became well-known. It was clear that as long as the United States had this weapon, no country would challenge them. This weapon was one of the few advantages the United States had against the Soviet Union going into the Cold War. It was as if the atomic bombs were the United States’ shield and armor against the Soviet Union’s attacks. Meanwhile, the power of communism was steadily rising in Eastern Europe and along with that, the American’s fear of communism was growing in parallel. “Communists were demonized; demons had no souls; no love in their hearts” (Garber/Walkowitz 25).

The situation called for the “blueprint” of the atomic bomb to be safely put away from the communists. The U.S. government feared that the Soviet spies might get their hands on the secret information. However, it was only a matter of time that the Soviet Union would “somehow” develop its own atomic bomb…...
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