The entire thing started when a KGB agent defected to the west’s cause, his name was Igor Gouzenko. Gouzenko helped uncover a soviet spy ring based in Britain; he then provided evidence that led to the arrest of 22 local agents and 15 Soviet spies in Canada. After this information was given it lead to the British agency “M15” to interview Klaus Fuchs, head of the physics department of the British nuclear research centre at Harwell. Harwell was then arrested and charged with espionage. He then confessed that he had been working with the soviets since the Manhattan project during World War Two (WWII). Because of these confessions Klaus Fuchs was convicted for fourteen years in prison. After hearing about Klaus Fuchs the FBI became desperate to discover who he had worked with during WWII. The FBI then interviewed eight people that Elizabeth Bentley had told were involved in the espionage. One of them was Harry Gold, and he confessed he had acted as a courier for Fuchs during WWII. Along with he his confession he gave the name of David Greenglass as another who was involved in the espionage. The FBI then questioned David Greenglass and he named Julius Rosenberg as one of his contacts, and admitted his wife, Ruth Greenglass had been a courier, but then denied that his sister, Ethel Rosenberg had had any involvement at all. Julius Rosenberg was then arrested but refused to name anybody else in spying for the Soviet Union. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI then saw the arrests of Rosenbergs as a means of getting good publicity for the FBI. So Hoover then sent a request for Ethel Rosenberg to be arrested and have her two kids taken into care. The couple (Julius Rosenberg, and Ethel Rosenberg) was then put under heavy pressure to name other spies they knew or had contact with, but they didn’t know any so refused to give any false names.
Ten days before the start of the trial of the Rosenbergs the FBI re-interviewed David Greenglass. They offered him a deal, if he was to provide information against Ethel Rosenberg then they promised not to charge his wife (Ruth Greenglass) with being a member of the spy ring. David Greenglass then changed his story, saying now that he had went to the Rosenberg’s house and had handed them information. He then stated that Julius Rosenberg then took the paper and read what David had given him. After that David Greenglass the said Julius Rosenberg gave the information to his wife and told her to type it up immediately.
The trial of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg began on 6th March 1951. David Greenglass and his wife both testified against the Rosenbergs, saying that they had had involvement in helping the Soviet Union. The Rosenberg's defense attorney, Emanuel Bloch, argued that Greenglass was lying in order to gain revenge because he blamed Rosenberg for their failed business venture and to get a lighter sentence for himself. Even though to the defense’s best efforts the jury believed the testimonies of David and Ruth Greenglass and Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg were found guilty and sentenced to death. Rumors began to circulate that the government did not want to execute the Rosenbergs due to world wide outrage and told the Rosenbergs that if they released names of people who had aided the Soviet Union they would be freed. The Rosenbergs both refused to name any one and after twenty-six month on death row were eventually executed on 19th June, 1953.
This whole incident was an atrocity, the fact that innocent people were put on trail and executed in a time that many considered modern is horrible. This people had a family and life and because their beliefs and their past enrollment in the American Communist Party they became easy targets for those who rather save their own skin. These two people were unfortunately caught up in a time where people’s rights were taken second to a mad hysteria and fear of another country and their beliefs. It is an