In 1953, just two years after being convicted for conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act, Ethel Rosenberg, along with her husband Julius, was executed by the United States government. The Rosenbergs left behind two young children Robert, age six, and Michael, age ten.
The execution sparked considerable domestic and international protests, with figures such as, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and even the Pope calling for President Eisenhower to halt the execution. In the decades after, the debate over what the Rosenbergs had actually done and the extent to which government misconduct contributed to their conviction raged on. Forty years after the execution, the American Bar Association held a mock trial–presided over by a federal judge–for the Rosenbergs. It resulted in an acquittal.
With the Cold War over, however, formerly classified or unavailable information (including to the prosecutor in the Rosenberg case) became public. It is now known that Julius Rosenberg did engage in espionage for the Soviet Union, though he most likely did not pass on atomic secrets, as he was alleged to have done during the trial. Newly released information though has only served to cast considerable doubt on Ethel’s guilt. Read the full story at the link above.