Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This Day in History June 19, 1953

I found this story interesting in light of all the terrorism and secret sharing issues going on in this country today.  It was on this date in 1953 that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.  They had been tried and convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.  They claimed innocence even to the point of their execution.

There was much public debate as a result of this conviction and sentence.  Many spoke out against it, and many believed that they were victims of a government who was scared of Communism.  Indeed, this was a period of our history where McCarthyism and the Red Scare was prevalent.  I don't honestly know enough about the case to make a decision about whether they were innocent or guilty.

In my opinion, I don't know if execution in this case was right.  I struggle with giving the death sentence to those convicted of treason.  And Ethel Rosenberg's brother only served ten years in prison for doing the same thing (but he testified against his sister and brother-in-law).  Regardless, it happened, and it is a fact of our history.  There is evidence that they were involved in espionage and passing secrets, but I have no doubt a court case like this would have even happened in this day and age.

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