No, really?

Posted by Helen Friday, September 12, 2008 ,

The Rosenbergs were really spies? Well, colour me surprised, as they say on the other side of the Pond. It seems that Morton Sobell, who was convicted of espionage with the notorious pair, has now admitted that yes, indeed, he and Julius Rosenberg with the help of his wife Ethel, spied for the Soviet Union.

As it happens, the Venona documents and more recent finds in the KGB archives before they were closed to the public again have shown some time ago that there was not the slightest doubt on the subject. But, as the Rosenbergs have been a cause célébre for the left during the last fifty odd years, it is all a surprise. Whatever next? Alger Hiss was really a GRU agent? Surely not!


  1. Simon Harley Says:
  2. Being a touch harsh, Tory Historian? I hope I'll be in a position to finally confess to some of my more obvious sins when I'm 91. Mr. Sobell must be getting a bit hard-up for cash, hoping the publicity will bring in some (capitalist?) money. Can't say I blame him really.

  3. A little disingenuous Mr Harley? If Mr Sobell is feeling a little hard-up then he has the right to earn a little cash for his pension. My mock-surprise was for the media who thought this was big news. Presumably the NYT has assumed all this time that the Rosenbergs were innocent.

    Oh and I hope you will have interesting tales to tell when you are 91. ;)

  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. If Liberals were made to admit the truth about the Rosenbergs and Hiss, they would have to give the Family Leave Act back.

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

  6. Simon Harley Says:
  7. My apologies Tory Historian for sounding a little too self-righteous. I can see why you would perhaps criticise the NYT for their "exclusive" fifty year old news. But Sobell is a New Yorker after all...

    Talking of Hiss I have the late great Alastair Cooke's book on the Hiss proceedings "A Generation on Trial". Fascinating piece of writing. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the matter (although I am sure someone has written a far more academic work since).

  8. Sorry, Danny. What is the Family Leave Act? We are always ready to learn on this blog.

    "A Generation on Trial" is, indeed, a wonderful book and one that got me interested in the subject many moons ago. Cooke is very fair - he does not want to think Hiss guilty but reluctantly comes to the conclusion that he must have been. There have, indeed, been several books on the subject since then, not least Sam Tanenhaus's biography of Whittaker Chambers. Very long but very informative.

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