The Rosenbergs were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in 1951. They were accused of heading a spy ring that passed top-secret information about the atomic bomb to the soviet union. They waited 2 years in Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, for execution. Julius was executed at 8 pm on June 19, 1953 while Ethel was killed 16 minutes later. (history.com)
WERE THE ROSENBERGS REALLY GUILTY?
The execution of the couple sparked many conspiracies around the country. Many Americans believed that the couple was victims of a surge of hysterical anti-communist feeling in the U.S, but in 2008, Morton Sobell said otherwise. Sobell was Julius's friend and he openly admitted they were soviet agents. At age 91, he confirms that they handed over top secret information on military data for sonar and radar. This information was used to shoot down American planes in the Korean and Vietnam wars successfully. Although they were able to pass over that military data, they were unsuccessful in sharing the atomic bomb data. (latimes.com)
However, the Rosenbergs sons believe that they made up a case for their mom. They said "They put a gun to her and said to my father "Talk or we kill her" . Sobell told the New York times that he passed military secrets to the Soviet Union and so had Julius-but, not Ethel. (washingtonpost.com)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower says "I can only say that by immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic war, the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributed to what those spies have done." Many Americans were divided between whether or not the couple were being used as a scapegoat or hoax to feel safe during the war. This divide created a lot of fear among the people. (history.com)