Spy drama with a tragic ending: why the Rosenberg spouses were executed
Spy drama with a tragic ending: why the Rosenberg spouses were executed
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

64 years ago, on June 19, 1953 in the United States on charges of espionage for the USSR were Ethel and Julius Rosenberg executed… This story is called the most romantic, the most vile and the most mysterious at the same time. The guilt of the spouses, who were called "atomic spies", has not received indisputable proof, but both of them died in the electric chair. Was this execution really a triumph of justice, a miscarriage of justice, or a witch hunt?

Rosenberg's atomic spies

Both Julius and Ethel were born in New York to Jewish families who once emigrated from Russia. Both were carried away by socialist ideas while still at the university and attended communist meetings, where they met. They married in 1939 and had two children, and in 1942 they joined the Communist Party.

Ethel Rosenberg

In 1950, during the interrogation of the British scientist Klaus Fuchs, the Americans found out the name of the signalman - Harry Gold, who transmitted information to Soviet intelligence. In turn, Harry Gold named the name of the person who obtained information for him. It turned out to be David Greenglass - Ethel Rosenberg's brother. During interrogations, he was silent, but when his wife was arrested, he admitted that Julius and Ethel had recruited him into the spy network, that he worked as a mechanic at a nuclear facility, where he obtained secret information for them.

Rosenberg's atomic spies

Julius Rosenberg was arrested in July 1950, and his wife was arrested a month later. Both completely denied the testimony of David Greenglass and denied their guilt. At the trial in March 1951, all the defendants in the case were found guilty, and the Rosenberg spouses were sentenced to death. It was the first and only time in American history that civilians accused of espionage were sentenced to death.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Despite the violent public reaction, the new US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the death warrant and explained his intransigence as follows: “The crime in which the Rosenbergs were found guilty is much more terrible than the murder of another citizen. This is a malicious betrayal of an entire nation, which could well have resulted in the death of many, many innocent citizens. " The spouses were accused of having carried out nuclear tests in the USSR in 1949 because of the scientific secrets they had passed on.

Atomic spies of the Rosenberg wife during the trial

However, a lot of mysteries remained in this case. In fact, there was no direct evidence of the spouses' guilt. As evidence, only a cookie box, on the back of which contacts were written, and a drawing of the Greenglass atomic bomb were presented. Physicists have repeatedly said that this drawing is a crude caricature, full of errors, of no value to intelligence.

Ethel Rosenberg

The spouses were expected to be executed in Sing Sing prison. They filed appeals and petitions for a suspended sentence. Many representatives of the world community spoke in their defense, among whom were Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein, Charles de Gaulle, Pablo Picasso and others. Their sons with posters "Don't kill our dad and mom!" participated in massive demonstrations. But on July 18, the final verdict was passed, and it remained unchanged.

Rosenberg's atomic spies

Before their death, the couple exchanged tender letters, Julius wrote to his wife: “I can only say that life made sense, because you were next to me.All the filth, the heap of lies and slander of this grotesque political dramatization not only did not break us, but, on the contrary, instilled in us the determination to hold fast until we are fully justified … I know that gradually more and more people will come to our defense and help to snatch us from this hell. I hug you gently and love you. " Ethel wrote to her sons: "Always remember that we were innocent and could not go against our conscience."

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg during the trial

They could be saved only in one case: they were promised to cancel the execution if the spouses confess to espionage and name at least one name from their agent network. But both stubbornly denied their guilt. They were expected to be executed in the electric chair. Julius died at the very first start of the current, and Ethel's heart stopped beating only after the second shock. The Rosenberg granddaughter is sure: her grandmother died "not in the name of the Soviet Union, but because of her devotion to her husband."

Spy spouses were featured in all the newspapers

After the execution of "atomic spies" in the world press wrote that the case was fabricated and inflated due to the communist convictions of the spouses, Sartre called this execution "a legal lynching that smeared the whole country with blood, a witch hunt." Later, David Greenglass confessed that he gave false testimony in order to mitigate his sentence. The cruelty of the verdict came as a shock to many, the capital measure was called a political decision in the conditions of the Cold War with the USSR.

The spouses remained devoted to each other until the last day

The Rosenberg case is still considered one of the most mysterious. Moreover, their participation in espionage is not in doubt. But the question of whether the spouses could actually tell Soviet intelligence the secret of the atomic bomb remains open.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, photo taken after sentencing

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