Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to be the only spies executed during the Cold War and some question whether their sentence was fair.

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Julius and also Ethel Rosenberg that were enforcement after having been found guilty that conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges were in relationship to the passing of information around the American atom bomb to the Soviet Union. 

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Few death-penalty executions have the right to equal the dispute created through the electrocutions of spies Julius and also Ethel Rosenberg in 1953. Accused the overseeing a spy network the stole American atom secrets and handing those over to the Soviet Union, the pair were the only spies executed throughout the Cold War.

But to be they guilty? because that some, that has remained in dispute for more than fifty percent a century.

Julius Rosenberg was practically certainly guilty.

By many accounts, Julius Rosenberg to be an enthusiasm Communist. His task at the army Signal Corps engineering Laboratories made that an enticing recruit for Soviet spies, who approached that on job Day, 1942.

Late in 1944, Julius became a recruiter for the Russians and oversaw several spies himself, consisting of the one who would reason Julius’ downfall: his brother-in-law David Greenglass. Greenglass operated on the Manhattan task at the Los Alamos nationwide Laboratory in new Mexico.

After the ring to be uncovered, Greenglass was arrested ~ above June 15, 1950. He called his mam as a co-conspirator, in addition to Julius. Greenglass initially denied his sisters Ethel was involved, but later changed his story.

Ethel Rosenberg to be arrested on the courthouse steps.

Soon after, the FBI raided the Rosenberg home and also arrested Julius. Ethel was later arrested if leaving a commonwealth courthouse in brand-new York City after ~ testifying she had no knowledge of espionage efforts. The FBI hoped her arrest would pressure Julius to surname names of other Communist sympathizers.

Greenglass later told New York Times journalist Sam Roberts the he had entered into a address the government, implicating his sister in exchange because that his wife’s immunity.

The Rosenbergs and also Greenglass were all uncovered guilty.

Sentencing guidelines offered the judge two choices for Julius and Ethel: 30 year imprisonment or execution. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover suggested a 30-year sentence for Ethel, believing she would ultimately name names in jail.

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But judge Irving Kaufman chose death for both Rosenbergs. David Greenglass gained a 15-year sentence, serving just over ripe years.