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The Rosenbergs Essay

2321 words - 9 pages

The history of the United States is full of unsolved mysteries. One of the greatest
mysteries which occurred in 1953 was the electrocution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg under the Espionage Act. They were convicted for giving the secret information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. The anti-communist sentiment that characterized the Cold War and McCarthyism led to their trial and execution. Even though there is some evidence of the Rosenbergs' guilt, numerous facts which were discovered after the death of Ethel and Julius argue more convincingly that they were innocent victims of Cold War hysteria.
the United States almost as soon as Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945."(Larsen,24) Before the elections in 1946, the U.S.Chamber of Commerce published a pamphlet which had a title - "Communist Infiltration in the United States: Its Nature and How to Combat It." This pamphlet was suppose to show that the New Deal programs of Franklin Roosevelt initiated the beginning of communism in the United States. Before World War II, the Communist Party was considered legal. However, starting in 1950, people could be prosecuted if they were members of the Party. (Larsen,24)
     The Cold War started to develop between the United States and the Soviet Union in the middle of the twentieth century. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, became the main anti-communistic figure in U.S. government. On February 9,1950 he said that "Communism not only threatened capitalism but that Russia was a moral enemy of the United States." (Moss,Wilson,220) He organized HUAC, The House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy held hearings where he asked people whether they have ever participated in communist activities. The ones who answered yes were blacklisted and could not find jobs. People who came before the committee also had an option to "take the Fifth." The Fifth Amendment gave people the right against self-incrimination, meaning that they did not have to testify or give evidence against themselves. However, most of the people who "took the fifth," were under suspicion. The "red scare hysteria grew."(Larsen,25) The Internal Security Act of 1950 made not only political actions illegal but also political beliefs. The word "communist" became synonymous with the word "Russian spy." ( Larsen, 24-27) McCarthy and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover were convinced that the communist spies in the U.S. were selling the secrets of nuclear weapons to the Soviet Union. They arrested many people including Klaus Fuchs who was a member of the Manhattan Project and who was selling information about the atomic bomb to Moscow. McCarthy and Hoover "began a massive witch-hunt," which led to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. (Moss,220-222)
On July 17, 1950 Julius Rosenberg was arrested for spying and giving secrets
about the atomic bomb to Russia. On August 11,1950 his wife Ethel Rosenberg was...

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