The day the trial of the Rosenbergs started – level 3
The atomic bomb that the Americans developed didn’t only cause an early end of the war with Japan. Owning the most destructive weapon mankind had ever made gave the United States a clear military advantage over the rest of the world. However, this dominance didn’t last long.
In 1949, the Soviets secretly tested their nuclear weapon. It was a shock to the Americans.
They experienced another shock when their plane took air samples over the Pacific shortly after the explosion. The samples showed that the bomb detonated by the Soviets was a copy of the one the Americans dropped on Nagasaki four years earlier. The Americans understood that someone had to give the Soviets the information on how to create an atomic bomb.
Subsequently, the FBI arrested an employee of a laboratory where nuclear weapons were being developed. He confessed to leaking secret information. He began cooperating with the FBI, and step by step he revealed the names of other Russian agents.
The most important of them was Julius Rosenberg. He managed a network of agents who provided him with secret information in the field of military technology.
On March 6, 1951, the trial began with him and his wife Ethel. They were accused of revealing the most guarded American secret, the method of making the atomic bomb, to the Soviet Union. They denied their guilt, but they were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Difficult words: subsequently (after something), confess (to admit you have done something wrong), leak out (to tell secret information), trial (a process in a court), sentence (to give a punishment).
What was the shock that the Americans experienced when their plane took air samples over the Pacific shortly after the explosion of the Soviet atomic bomb?
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