I’m tired of simply copying and pasting long passages from the History.com website – fascinating as most of the tidbits I choose may be. What’s needed here is a dose of Bulldog commentary, the kind that makes the historical tidbit in question that much more interesting to read. Henceforth, when you plotz in front of your computer with your favorite morning beverage (and I hope it isn’t bourbon) you’ll get a dose of canine sense only The Bulldog can dispense.
On this day in 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, are executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed their innocence right up to the time of their deaths, by the electric chair. The Rosenbergs were the first U.S. citizens to be convicted and executed for espionage during peacetime and their case remains controversial to this day.
It remains controversial only because the usual gang of latter-day pinkos, Leftists, Commies and red-diaper doper babies insist on carrying forward the sacred red banner for a cause that was lost the second the sentence of ‘guilty’ was pronounced.
According to a fairly sympathetic Wikipedia piece on this Dastardly Duo,
Eyewitness testimony (as given by a newsreel report featured in the 1982 documentary film The Atomic Cafe) describes the circumstances of the Rosenbergs’ death, noting that while Julius Rosenberg died after the first electric shock, his wife did not. After the normal course of three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping and other equipment only to have doctors determine that Mrs. Rosenberg had not yet died (her heart was still beating). Two more electric shocks were applied, and at conclusion eyewitnesses reported, Bob Considine among them, that smoke rose from her head in the chamber.
I would love to have seen it. Good riddance to the both of them.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower declined to grant executive clemency to the Rosenbergs, stating:
“I can only say that, by immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic war, the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done.”
SPIES? Seriously, Ike…it’s not like these two were foreign agents who somehow infiltrated American society, fooling us into thinking they were one of us.
I’ve always harbored a sneaking admiration for foreign nationals who manage to worm their way into sensitive positions here in the U.S. – just as I admire Americans who do the same in other countries. It takes balls of tungsten steel to do this kind of work. Maligned and despised as it is, espionage is vital to the survival of any nation and I can only wonder why it took so long for national governments to realize that it made more sense to lock up captured foreign spies with an eye to a future “spy exchange” rather than hanging them outright (see: Major André).
In the present case, the Rosenbergs certainly engaged in espionage – but they did so as American citizens, making their actions treasonous according to Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. (emphasis added)
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted traitors. And in Bulldog’s Book, all convicted traitors should be executed. Period. End of story.