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Ethel Rosenberg's Death

Ethel Rosenberg

After World War II ended, there was only one nuclear superpower. The United States, after dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the fight with Japan, stood alone as the only nation with the weapon.

This New York couple, although they protested their innocence to the end, was convicted of giving those secrets to the Soviet Union and they paid for it with their lives in the electric chair.

Both Ethel Greenglass and Julius Rosenberg were born and raised in New York City. They had Communist Party affiliations when they met in 1936 and were married in 1939. They had two sons, Michael and Robert.

Professionally, Julius worked briefly as an engineer for the Army Signal Corps, until they got wind of his Communist affiliation and fired him. It was said that he started working for the Communists in 1942, eventually coming into direct contact with Soviet agents and providing thousands of top-secret reports.

He was arrested in July 1950 and Ethel a month later, charged with giving atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets. Their trial resulted in a conviction in March 1951.

Ethel Rosenberg Newspaper

And they were sentenced to death in the electric chair at New York's Sing Sing prison.

Ethel Rosenberg Electric Chair Ethel Rosenberg Sing Sing Prison

On June 19, 1953,

Dwight Eisenhower

President Dwight Eisenhower refused to grant executive clemency, conceding that while the scheduled executions had raised much public outcry, the Rosenberg's had made the world a much more dangerous place.

Ethel Rosenberg

Julius Rosenberg went to the chair first and was dead at about 8:05 PM that night.

Ethel Rosenberg Electric Chair

Ethel was dead ten minutes later, although this eyewitness says it wasn't quick.

The Rosenbergs are buried at Wellwood cemetery in Farmingdale, on New York's Long Island.

Ethel Rosenberg Tomb