Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel, both members of the American Communist Party were convicted spies. They were accused of providing the Soviet Union with information about the atomic bomb. Ethel Rosenberg is the only woman in the U.S. who has been elecrocuted for another crime than murder.
Charged with allegedly sharing information about the atomic bomb with the Soviet Union, their death sentences prompted massive public outcry. "Do not let this crime against humanity take place," Pablo Picasso urged authorities. And Jean Paul Sartre wrote "you are afraid of the shadow of your own bomb." Even Pope Pius XII requested a pardon for the couple from President Eisenhower, to no avail. Guilty or not, the Rosenbergs died in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison.
Handcuffed Julius & Ethel Rosenberg They were executed for treason against the United States 1953. They were Communists, accused of giving information about the atom bomb to Russia. What an intense photo.
Rosenberg and his wife, Ethel, remain the only two civilians ever executed in American history for the crime of treason. While life imprisonment would have sufficed for Julius, and Ethel probably was almost not guilty and deserved at most a year in prison, Julius can, in truth, be largely blamed for the length of the Cold War.