|29 March 1951
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Convicted of Espionage
|In June 1950 agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned David Greenglass, a machinist who had worked on the atomic bomb project, for having allegedly passed secrets to the Soviet Union. Greenglass not only confessed, but identified his wife, Ruth, and her brother, Julius Rosenberg, as members of a Soviet spy ring. Rosenberg, an electrical engineer, had worked for the U.S. Signal Corps from 1940 until 1945, when it was revealed that he had been an active member of the Communist Party. In mid-July Julius was arrested; a month later his wife Ethel was also taken into custody. Both were accused of conspiracy to commit espionage.
The trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg opened on March 6. Unfortunately for the defendants, the prosecution was able to produce a string of witnesses—mostly individuals who had themselves confessed of spying for the Soviets—who identified them as having provided critical information on the atomic bomb project. Only the Rosenbergs themselves testified for the defense, with both of them denying everything. It took only a few hours for the jury to return a verdict of guilty, and on April 5 Judge Irving Kaufman sentenced the Rosenbergs to death in the electric chair.Link:
- Famous Trials: The Rosenberg Trial, 1951