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Julius Rosenberg became an infamous figure in American history when he was convicted, along with his wife, Ethel Rosenberg, of giving military secrets to the Soviet Union in the early 1950s.
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Julius Rosenberg was arrested on July 17, 1950, and his wife was taken into custody a few weeks later.
The Rosenbergs were brought to trial the following March, and both proclaimed their innocence. By this time, the U.S. military was engaged in the Korean War, and strong anti-communist sentiments were held nationwide. Julius and Ethel were both convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, and in early April 1951,
the couple was sentenced to death. A series of appeals delayed their execution for more than two years. The couple's supporters also requested clemency for the Rosenbergs from presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who both denied to issue a pardon.
On the night of June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg was executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Minutes later, his wife died in the same electric chair. The couple left behind two young sons, Michael and Robert.
Even after his execution, Julius Rosenberg remained a subject of much speculation. Many, including their two sons, believed both Julius and Ethel were innocent for years. In the mid-1990s, the Venona messages were released to the public, showing that Julius had some involvement with the Soviets. Not long after, Rosenberg's Soviet spy contact, Alexander Feklisov, acknowledged that he had worked with Julius during the 1940s.
In 2008, Rosenberg's college friend, Morton Sobell, publicly admitted that he had been a spy for the Soviet Union. He also provided more details on Julius Rosenberg's activities. This latest revelation convinced the Rosenbergs' children, now known as Michael and Robert Meeropol, that their father had been a spy, but they remain convinced that their mother was only guilty by association.
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