Rosenberg Case

Rosenberg Case,

in U.S. history, a lengthy and controversial espionage case. In 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Julius Rosenberg (1918–53), an electrical engineer who had worked (1940–45) for the U.S. army signal corps, and his wife Ethel (1916–53); they were indicted for conspiracy to transmit classified military information to the Soviet Union. In the trial that followed (Mar., 1951), the government charged that in 1944 and 1945 the Rosenbergs had persuaded Ethel's brother, David Greenglass—an employee at the Los Alamos atomic bomb project—to provide them and a third person, Harry Gold, with top-secret data on nuclear weapons. The chief evidence against the Rosenbergs came from Greenglass and his wife, Ruth.

Both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were found guilty (1951) and received the death sentence; Morton Sobell, a codefendant, received a 30-year prison term, as did Harry Gold; and David Greenglass was later sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Despite many court appeals and pleas for executive clemency, the Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953. They became the first U.S. civilians to suffer the death penalty in an espionage trial.

The case aroused much controversy. Many claimed that the political climate made a fair trial impossible and that the only seriously incriminating evidence had come from a confessed spy; others questioned the value of the information transmitted to the Soviet Union and argued that the death penalty was too severe. Communists in the United States and abroad organized a campaign to save the Rosenbergs and received the support of many liberals and religious leaders.

Bibliography

See L. Nizer, The Implosion Conspiracy (1973); R. Radosh and J. Milton, The Rosenberg File (1984); R. and M. Meeropol, We Are Your Sons: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (2d ed. 1986); S. Roberts, The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair (2001); W. Schneir, Final Verdict: What Really Happened in the Rosenberg Case (2010); A. M. Hornblum, The Invisible Harry Gold (2010).

References in periodicals archive ?
Lori Clune's major contribution to the history of the Rosenberg case is to put the arrest, trial, and execution of the couple in a transnational perspective.
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But what really made him anathema in let-wing circles was his role in the Rosenberg case.
Coover was disappointed about the American public's willingness to forget the Rosenberg case and the events that led to it.
Though Daniel derives significant inspiration from the Rosenberg case, over the years Doctorow has insisted it is fiction, with the attendant liberties taken.
Sam Roberts is urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times and author of "The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case.
Emily and David Alman co-founded the Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case immediately following the 1951 sentencing of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death on charges of nuclear espionage in a case that spawned a world-wide, but ultimately unsuccessful, movement for clemency.
By the end of it the Krogers were revealed to be Morris and Lona Cohen, wanted in America on spying charges in connection with the Rosenberg case.
The Rosenberg case made it clear that in this crime-ridden Central American country, life has a price, one that can be negotiated directly with assassins willing to strike anywhere and in broad daylight.
Amilcar Velasquez Zarate, the attorney-general, told the AFP news agency that he was handing the Rosenberg case over to the UN-supported International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to guarantee its independence.
The government has filed a motion to dismiss the Rosenberg case on account of jurisdictional defects, and at a March 17 conference, it indicated that it will do the same with respect to the Krasney action if that latter action is not withdrawn.