The Rosenberg Trial

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 Julius. Ruth, on the other hand,
signed testimonies long before the trial saying they gave the
sixth to the FBI. Later it was proven that no such pictures
were given to the FBI. David also admitted that he gave to
Julius scientists\' names and sketches of a flat lease mold, yet
people who saw the sketches referred to them as, " a
worthless caricature with many errors." As far as names of
scientists went, Greenglass claimed he gave Dr. William
Spindel\'s name as someone who gave information about
government experiments. The doctor, however told the New
York Times that it was not true. Many people suspected that
the FBI tried to find a scientist to admit he gave information,
but were unable to find one to go along with this story. There
are several hypotheses as to why David Greenglass may
have falsely accused his sister\'s family in their actions. One
was that there was some ill will between families because of
the failure