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November 18, 2020 39 min

Since its very inception, America has always had to be on the lookout for spies not just from foreign adversaries, but also from its own citizens. Alger Hiss, along with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, all American citizens, were former members of the Communist Party (a party that still exists in America today.) They were all accused of passing American secrets to the U.S.S.R. in the 1940’s and were brought to trial in the early 1950’s. In this episode, we take a deep dive into what those three were accused of, what they were found guilty of, and what their ultimate sentence was. 

Episode Edits:

  • While most federal crimes have a five-year statute of limitations, acts of espionage generally carry a 10-year statute of limitations.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were married in 1939, the same year Julius graduated from City College of New York.
  • Julius Rosenberg was fired from the Army Signal Corps in 1945 because they found out he was a Communist.
  •  Episode Resources: Alger Hiss (1904-1996)

  •  Witness by Whittaker Chambers
  • Secrecy: The American Experience by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  • Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason by Christina Shelton
  • Interview with Christina Shelton – video by Simon & Schuster Books (She spent twenty-two years working as a Soviet analyst and a Counterintelligence Branch Chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency.)
  • Hiss and Chambers Face to Face in 1948 – actual video footage
  • Alger Hiss Interview 1970 – video by British Pathé 
  • Episode Resources: Julius Rosenberg (1918-1953) and Ethel Rosenberg (1915-1953)

  • The Rosenberg Trial by Jake Kobrick (Research Historian, Federal Judicial History Office, Federal Judicial Center) This is the motherload of reference material.
  • Final Verdict by Walter and Miriam Schneir the rebuttal to their own 1965 book.
  • Invitation to an Inquest by Walter and Miriam Schneir
  • Heir to an Execution: A Granddaughter’s Story – Film Documentary
  • Excerpt from David Greenglass obituary in NY Times by Robert D. McFadden 
  • Rebuttal to Greenglass obituary in the NY Times 
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