The Rosenberg Trial

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  • Topic: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Robert Meeropol, David Greenglass
  • Pages : 13 (2116 words )
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The Rosenberg trial, which ended in a

double execution in 1953, was one of the century's most

controversial trials. It was sometimes referred to as, "the

best publicized spy hunt of all times" as it came to the public

eye in the time of atom-spy hysteria. Husband and wife,

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with conspiracy to

commit espionage. Most of the controversy surrounding this

case came from mass speculation that there were influences

being reinforced by behind-the-scenes pressure, mainly from

the government, which was detected through much

inconsistencies in testimonies and other misconduct in the

court. Many shared the belief that Ethel Rosenberg

expressed best as she wrote in one of her last letters before

being executed, "-knowing my husband and I must be

vindicated by history...We are the first victims of American

Fascism." Some people believed that the Rosenbergs had a

vulnerable background which made these innocent people

fall victim to the government. In September 1940 Julius

Rosenberg was hired by US army Signal Corps as a junior

engineer, but fired March 1945 because he was found to be

a member of the communist party. He was employed in

1945 with Emerson Radio. Finally, in 1946 Bernard

Greenglass, his brother-in-law, asked him to a join war

surplus business called Pitt Machine Products Company.

Ethel Rosenberg supported herself as a teenager through

pageant prize money she won as a singer and dancer. Later

on she was employed as a clerk for National Shipping but

lost her job for union activities. They lived a happily married

life with two sons until June 15, 1950 when brother-in-law,

David Greenglass named Julius and Ethel as people who

recruited him to spy for the Soviet Union. The case judged

by Irving R. Kaufman began on March 6,1957. The

Rosenbergs, as well as Morton Sobell, were accused of

delivering information, documents, sketches and other

material vital to the national defense of our country, to a

foreign power, namely, to Soviet Russia. Greenglass testified

that it was he who turned over most of these materials to the

Rosenbergs because of pressure. On March 29, after a

much publicized court case, the couple were found guilty and

sentenced to be executed in the week of May 21, and their

accused co-conspirator, Sobell, got 30 years in jail because

he was not explicitly connected to the atom bomb. Many

people were against this decision and the president tried to

justify such rash actions: "The execution of two human beings

is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the

millions of dead whose death may be directly attributable to

what these spies have done." After many failed appeals,

Julius and Ethel were electrocuted minutes apart on June 19,

1953. Some of Julius' last words were, "...Never let them

change the truth of our innocence." There were many illogical

and contradicting statements in the testimonies, especially in

Ethel Rosenberg's brother's, David Greenglass'. David

worked for the US army and for a time in a place where

there was work on atomic energy. David Testified that the

Rosenbergs asked his wife for information on the atomic

bomb. By coming out and confessing, the Greenglasses were

seen as helpless tools of the Rosenbergs. For weeks after

her husband's arrest, before the accusation of the

Rosenbergs, Ruth vehemently denied her husband's

confession and insisted that he was innocent. In mid July

1950, Ruth corroborated David's story. Yet there are many

contradictions between early testimonies of Ruth and her

husband's testimony to be noted. One issue of disagreement

was over passport photos Julius Rosenberg supposedly told

the Greenglasses to get six pictures in case they need to

leave the country quickly. David said they kept five of the

pictures and gave the sixth to...
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