Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: Gave A-Bomb Secrets to Russia

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953 for conspiring to commit espionage to aid the Soviet Union.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were born in New York City in 1918 and 1915 respectively and were the children of Jewish immigrants.

He met his wife Ethel Greenglass in 1936 when both were members of the Young Communist League. Julius was instrumental in obtaining thousands of top secret reports from Emerson Radio and those reports helped Russia develop a proximity fuze and that information was used to shoot down the U2 plane that Gary Powers was piloting in 1960.

Rosenberg recruited many individuals into the KGB. The Russian intelligence learned that Rosenberg’s brother in law David Greenglass was working at Los Alamos National Laboratory on the Manhattan Project which was a program to develop nuclear weapons. Rosenberg was asked to recruit Greenglass to obtain top secret information from the laboratory and Greenglass agreed after Rosenberg had Ruth Greenglass the wife of David Greenglass assist in recruiting Greenglass.

Ruth Greenglass contacted her husband in 1944 and Klaus Fuchs meanwhile had been giving the Soviets information about the Manhattan Project during World War II while working as a British operative there.

David Greenglass testified at the trial that Ethel Rosenberg had typed the reports he had given Julius Rosenberg. He had drawn a sketch of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki and gave it to Julius Rosenberg.

The U.S. Deputy Attorney General William Rogers said Ethel Rosenberg had called their bluff when they arrested her to put pressure on Julius to implicate others in the conspiracy. Neither of them would give names of additional conspirators.

The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951 and were sentenced to death by the electric chair by Judge Irving Kaufman who said the Rosenbergs were responsible for all the deaths in the Korean War.

They were executed 26 months later on June 19,1953.

The Rosenberg children who are not identified by name in this photo but were named Robert and Michael.

The sons of the Rosenbergs were left as orphans after the execution and changed their last name to Meeropol and would be adamant in professing the innocence of their parents till 2008 when 91 year old Martin Sobell admitted he had spied for the Soviet Union and said Julius Rosenberg was part of the conspiracy but said Ethel’s only crime was being the wife of Julius.

There is much more information available online about the Rosenbergs and the second link is about the trial itself.

This video shows the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as she tries to learn more about her grandparents.




Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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