Red Scare Espionage And The Cold War

1311 Words6 Pages
Hannah Pickett
Professor Andrew Johnstone
HIST 311 J01
January 17, 2015

Red Scare Espionage

There has been a lot of contention on the matter of spies and whistleblowers since the cold war to today. Recent acts of espionage have the public questioning government, on the acts it has taken with these widespread criminals. The practice or act of spying to discover military and political secrets of other nations can also be known as committing espionage. During the cold war many spies sought out secrets of other countries for military and political information. A few years after the U.S. went into war against Germany, the U.S. states congress passed the Espionage Act. The Espionage Act of 1917, made it a crime for any person to move
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to Russia. Scientific steps such as these of the United Staes rivals had many eyeing others in their suspicions.(Casalaspi) On July 17, 1950, Julius Rosenberg an electrical engineer and employee for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was arrested for supposedly passing atomic secrets to Russia. A month later his wife Ethel was arrested for assisting her husband with his illegal activities. The Rosenberg’s were members of the American Communist Party until they decided to act upon they own illicit activities.(Casalaspi) They were said to be responsible by Ethel’s brother-in-law, David Greenglass and a Philadelphia chemist, Harry Gold. After admitting to their own illegal activities Greenglass and Gold served as the primary witnesses in the trial.(Casalaspi) Greenglass, who himself had confessed to providing nuclear secrets to the Soviets through an intercessor, later served 10 years in prison. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death under the Espionage Act of 1917. President Truman and President Eisenhower payed no attention to cynical public opinion, and decided not to pardon the Rosenberg’s. After two years of prison on June 19, 1953 the couple met the electric chair. Following declassified government documents of the FBI, CIA the Freedom of Information Act shows that Julius was indeed a spy for the soviets but the case against Ethel was a bit weak. (NYT) With the death of such a sympathetic pair of
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