Tuesday, March 29, 2011


On 29 March 1951 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.  They were executed in June of 1953.

The following is a synopsis of the case and its aftermath published by BBC

"The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death on 5 April 1951 and despite numerous appeals for clemency were executed by the electric chair at Sing-Sing Prison on 19 June 1953.

They were the only people in the United States ever executed for Cold War espionage, and their conviction fuelled US Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade against "anti-American activities" by US citizens.

The couple's two sons, Robert and Michael, who were six and 10 when their parents were executed, were adopted by friends of their parents, the Meeropols, under new names.

They only revealed their true identities in the 1970s when the Freedom of Information Act enabled them to gain documents which they believed could prove their parents' innocence.

David Greenglass escaped the death penalty, and gained immunity for his wife, after agreeing to give evidence against his sister and brother-in-law. He served 10 years in jail.

Years later he admitted he had fabricated his story to save his own skin but had no regrets about what he had done.

However, records and testimony from intelligence sources in the US and Russia, suggests Julius Rosenberg had been involved in giving some sensitive information to Soviet contacts in support of the war effort against Hitler."
To read the transcript of the BBC report the day after the verdict was announced, please visit


Interestingly, on this same date in 1972 Army Lt. William Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre.

He served very little time, most under house arrest.  Several years ago, he "apologized" to the people of Vietnam.  Few were impressed.

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