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March 29, 1951: "DEATH FOR A-SPIES
Rosenbergs Get Top Penalty in Atom Trial"
From Universal News V24 R455 1951-04-05.
Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 25, 1915 – June 19, 1953) were American citizens executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
In 1995, the U.S. government released a series of decoded Soviet cables, codenamed VENONA, which confirmed that Julius acted as a courier and recruiter for the Soviets, but which were ambiguous about Ethel's involvement. The other atomic spies who were caught by the FBI offered confessions and were not executed, including Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, who supplied documents to Julius from Los Alamos and served 10 years of his 15-year sentence; Harry Gold, who identified Greenglass and served 15 years in Federal prison as the courier for Greenglass; and a German scientist, Klaus Fuchs served nine years and four months.
Morton Sobell, who was tried with the Rosenbergs, served 17 years and 9 months of a 30-year sentence. In 2008, Sobell admitted he was a spy and implicated Julius Rosenberg in a conspiracy to provide the Soviets with classified atomic information...
Julius Rosenberg joined the Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1940, where he worked as an engineer-inspector until 1945. He was fired when the U.S. Army discovered his previous membership in the Communist Party. Important research on electronics, communications, radar and guided missile controls was undertaken at Fort Monmouth during World War II.
According to a 2001 book by his former handler Alexandre Feklisov, Rosenberg was originally recruited by the NKVD on Labor Day 1942 by former spymaster Semyon Semenov. He had been introduced to Semenov by Bernard Schuster, a high-ranking member of the Communist Party USA as well as Earl Browder's personal NKVD liaison. In fact, Feklisov, a lifelong Communist, was covering the role of Jacob Golos, who in 1942 passed the Communist "information" cell of young engineers headed by Julius Rosenberg into direct contact with the Soviet operatives in New York. After Semenov was recalled to Moscow in 1944, his duties were taken over by Feklisov.
According to Feklisov, Rosenberg provided thousands of classified (top secret) reports from Emerson Radio, including a complete proximity fuse, an upgraded model of which was used to shoot down Gary Powers' U-2 in 1960. Under Feklisov's administration, Rosenberg is said to have recruited sympathetic individuals into NKVD service, including Joel Barr, Alfred Sarant, William Perl and Morton Sobell. The Venona intercept shows that Julius Rosenberg (code name LIBERAL) was the head of this particular spy ring.
According to Feklisov, he was supplied by Perl, under Julius Rosenberg’s direction, with thousands of documents from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, including a complete set of design and production drawings for the Lockheed's P-80 Shooting Star...
In January 1950 the U.S. discovered that Klaus Fuchs, a German refugee theoretical physicist working for the British mission in the Manhattan Project, had given key documents to the Soviets throughout the war. Fuchs identified his courier as Harry Gold, who was arrested on May 23, 1950. Gold confessed and identified Sergeant David Greenglass, a former machinist at Los Alamos, as an additional source.
Greenglass confessed to having passed secret information on to the USSR through Gold. Though he initially denied any involvement by his sister, Ethel Rosenberg, eventually he claimed that she knew of her husband's dealings and typed some documents for him. He also claimed that her husband, Julius, had convinced her sister-in-law Ruth Greenglass to recruit David while on a visit to him in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1944. He said Julius had passed secrets, and linked him and Ethel to the Soviet contact agent Anatoli Yakovlev...
The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, and on April 5 were sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman under Section 2 of the Espionage Act of 1917, 50 U.S. Code 32 (now 18 U.S. Code 794)...
The Rosenbergs were transferred to the New York State-run Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining for execution. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the electric chair at sundown on June 19, 1953...