Friday, July 11, 2008

The Rosenbergs

Oliver Kamm has a post:

Julius Rosenberg was guilty as charged.

This is no longer a matter for historical dispute. In 1995 the so-called Venona project was declassified by the US government. This comprised transcripts of intercepted and decoded Soviet diplomatic cables from 1946. Julius appears in the decrypted traffic under the code name ANTENNA (later changed to LIBERAL), as the head of a Soviet espionage ring. (The significance of Venona is usefully summarised here.)

Here is what the Telegraph says:

The case generated a great deal of controversy, especially in Europe, where it was argued that the Rosenbergs were victims of anti-Semitism and McCarthyism and had been framed solely on account of their politics. The couple had never confessed and went to their deaths protesting their innocence.

Well, yes. The Rosenbergs did protest their innocence. They were lying. There were indeed accusations that the couple had been framed in an act of murderous antisemitism by the US government - but the claim was (a) preposterous and (b) a product of Soviet propaganda, consciously designed to divert international attention from a genuine antisemitic show trial, that of Rudolf Slansky and thirteen other defendants in Czechoslovakia (later depicted in an excellent film, A Trial in Prague).

Interesting to note a real case of a country levelling a false charge of antisemitism in order to divert from its own very real antisemitism. How many Indecents remember this today, or even know about?


At 10:14 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rosenbergs were executed because they were Jews. Had they been Gentiles, they would have received prison terms. Other spies whose activities were far more damaging were imprisoned and not put to death. The execution of Ethel Rosenberg in particular was unjustified when considering her role and actions.

Eisenhower and his national security team thought Jews were disloyal, and prone to leftist leanings. The Rosenbergs execution was intended as a warning to all American Jews. It also served as a useful cover for the release of convicted German war criminals, which Eisenhower initiated at around this time.


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