Rosenbergs Essay

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3. How does the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the artistic response to it illuminate the culture of the Cold War? The Story of the Rosenbergs. On June 19th 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were the first and only American civilians to be executed for a conspiracy to commit espionage. The arrest and trial of the Rosenbergs took place at the height of the cold war. Public concerns about the threat of communism within America were intensified by international events such as the arms race of the Cold War and the Korean War. Julius and Ethel were both accused of conspiring to pass American military and technology secrets especially information relating to atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. The atomic bomb was a critical object in the nuclear arms race between the two super powers. The US believed they owned the knowledge on the secret ingredients for nuclear weapons and after the Soviet Union acted out their explosion test of the atomic bomb in 1949 the US went on a ‘witch hunt to find the thieves’. The story of the Rosenbergs illustrates how the Cold War impacted ordinary people and family life in America, especially for those who were considered to be ‘the other’. The Rosenbergs were the perfect targets during this period of suspicion, paranoia and distrust as they were Eastern European immigrants and Jewish. Julius and Ethel were a struggling working class family and both members of the communist party who got caught up on the wrong side of politics during a period were there was zero tolerance for dissent. The story of the Rosenbergs is a sad example of how a family was destroyed by the psychological stress of paranoia masqueraded as patriotism. The anxiety and distrust developed into the government intimating everyone to turn on each other. The reaction was at best excessive. The hysteria, paranoia and fear were exaggerated by powerful figures

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