Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archive for April, 2011

Fat Man, Little Boy, A Packet of Jell-O

A search for “Rosenberg” in the Open Public Access system of the National Archives brings up a strange and poignant collection of documents: a passport picture of a family with the mother clutching a tiny infant, childlike sketches of shapes, a smiling couple, and an empty Jell-O box.

In September 1949, the White House announced the Soviets had successfully detonated an atomic bomb. The secrets behind the construction of Fat Man and Little Boy—the atomic bombs that had devasted Nagasaki and Hiroshima—were in the hands of the Soviets.

In 1950 the FBI arrested Emil Julius Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British atomic scientist. Although Fuchs did not know his American contact, the FBI eventually identified Harry Gold, a Philadelphia chemist. And in turn, this led to David Greenglass, a U.S. Army soldier and Soviet agent who had been assigned to Los Alamos, NM, where the bombs were built.

In June 1945, Greenglass had given material in to Anatoli Yakovlev, former Soviet vice-consul in New York City. And according to the FBI, Julius and Ethel Rosenbergs had been instrumental in persuading and assisting David Greenglass, brother of Ethel Rosenberg, in passing the secrets to Yakovlev.

But what about the Jell-O box?

Like a ”Best Friends” necklace, pieces of the Jell-O box could be matched, and the spies would be able to confirm their identities.

The Greenglasses were living in Albuquerque when a man came to their home, introduced himself … [ Read all ]

The “Wilsonian” Path to War

President Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan throughout his 1916 reelection campaign was “he kept us out of war,” but on April 2, 1917, Wilson reversed course and called on Congress to provide a declaration of war for American intervention in World War I. Although this shift in policy contradicted Wilson’s isolationist principles and firm commitment to American neutrality, the Central Powers had begun to pose a clear and formidable threat to the United States by 1917.

Americans felt the brutal impact of the war even during Wilson’s first term. On May 7, 1915, while engaged in submarine warfare, a German U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner carrying American citizens. The death toll included 114 Americans. Following the sinking, the United States increased its various modes of aid and assistance to the Allies. But Wilson still publicly discouraged anti-German rhetoric in the U.S. and held out hope that he could mediate a resolution to the conflict between the Allies and the Central Powers.

Wilson’s vision of the war began to change by the winter of 1917, when the British government intercepted a telegram sent by German Foreign Minister Author Zimmerman to Germany’s ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram was a proposal to Mexico asking the nation to ally with Germany and to attack the United States in return for territory lost in … [ Read all ]