How the USSR stole a nuclear bomb from the United States


The United States of America became the only country that used nuclear weapons against civilians. This demonstration of invincible power, a technology that no one else had on the planet, once again gave the US the dominant position. Over the next few years, B-36 Peacemaker bombers entered service: now any enemy could be struck directly from their territory. The nuclear monopoly of the superpower collapsed at one point – and the fault was that of an ordinary engineer.

American dream

The period of the Cold War took place in the USA under the sign of witch hunts: the slightest suspicion of communist inclinations meant total ostracism on the part of society and the close attention of the individual services. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who did not hide their political preferences, became official “martyrs of the regime” – at least, Soviet propaganda claimed.

Initiative worker

In fact, Julius Rosenberg Soviet intelligence recruited back in the 1940th year. In itself, a little engineer did not represent any interest for the USSR: another pawn in a complicated game. Julius, however, did not consider himself a pawn, trying not only to follow the orders of the curator from the GRU but also to take the initiative. So, burning with official zeal, the engineer enlisted his wife, and then her brother, which immediately transferred him to the last horizontal line.

A trusted relative

Brother Ethel Rosenberg served as an ordinary sergeant in the US Army, seconded as a mechanic to the nuclear center of Los Alamos. The one where the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was designed. Sergeant Gringlass, not suspecting that he was working for the USSR, gave Julius critical working drawings and a full report of research workers on the research.

Comrade Feklisov

Julius Rosenberg managed to send a massive amount of crucial technical documentation to the Soviet Union. Gringlass to the last did not suspect his role, believing that he was selling information to one of the industrial corporations. Alexander Semenovich Feklisov, the scout who received the title of Hero of Russia for solving the so-called “atomic problem,” supervised the whole process. It was he who persuaded Julius to hand over a sample of a radio explosion-a super-secret product, an analog of which the engineers of the USSR tried unsuccessfully to develop. This allowed the Soviets to save several billion dollars and stimulated the development of the nuclear program.

While still hot

Of course, the US could not miss the opportunity once again to scare the whole world with a communist threat. The Rosenbergs were arrested immediately after the disclosure, and this rush became the FBI’s key mistake. It would be much more professional to establish surveillance over scientists. As it turned out later, Julius had direct contact with the famous scout Abel – a fish of an entirely different scale.

Political motives

To all appearances, the Rosenbergs could, in fact, provide vital information to the Soviets. A complete list of materials mined by Julius is still kept under the seal “secretly” – the US government allowed publishing only a little. However, most historians insist on the political underpinnings of a full process: the communist views of American citizens rushed to use both sides.

The espionage we heard about in this room is a vile and dirty work, no matter how idealistic it may be … Your crime is an act far worse than murder. – Excerpt from the death sentence to the couple Rosenberg.

Execute cannot be pardoned

The court was on an international scale. Rosenberg’s spouses were represented by tens of thousands of people, petitions to the US government were going on in an endless series. Albert Einstein personally met with the chief judge of the trial, but the intervention of the eminent physicist had no result. Even the personal letter of Pope Pius XII did not bring anything new: the fate of the Rosenbergs was decided at the highest level.

Three men are standing next to an electric chair in the Cook County jailhouse, Chicago, Illinois, 1927. From the Chicago Daily News collection. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

The execution of two people is a sad and challenging affair, but even more terrible and tragic is the thought of the millions of deaths whose death can be directly attributed to what these spies did. I will not interfere in this matter. – Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States.