Harry Gold sent to prison for his role in atomic espionage - HISTORY
Year
1950

Harry Gold sent to prison for his role in atomic espionage

Harry Gold–who had confessed to serving as a courier between Klaus Fuchs, a British scientist who stole top-secret information on the atomic bomb, and Soviet agents–is sentenced to 30 years in jail for his crime. Gold’s arrest and confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass, who then implicated his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Gold’s arrest was part of a massive FBI investigation into Soviet espionage, particularly the theft of atomic secrets. Gold, a 39-year-old research chemist, made the acquaintance of British atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs during the latter’s trips to the United States during World War II. Fuchs worked at the Los Alamos laboratory on the Manhattan Project, the top secret U.S. program to develop an atomic weapon. David Greenglass was also employed at Los Alamos. In February 1950, Fuchs was arrested in Great Britain and charged with passing atomic secrets on to the Soviets. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in a British prison. Fuchs then accused Gold of having been the go-between with Soviet agents. Gold was picked up a short time later and eventually confessed to his part. He explained that, at the time, he did not believe that he was helping an enemy, but was instead assisting a wartime ally of the United States. Further questioning of Gold led him to implicate David Greenglass. Greenglass then informed on Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, claiming that both of them actively spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and after. The Rosenbergs were later convicted and executed for espionage.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

John Birch Society founded

In Indianapolis, retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H.W. Welch, Jr., establishes the John Birch Society, a right-wing organization dedicated to fighting what it perceives to be the extensive infiltration of communism into American society. Welch named the society in honor ...read more

Walesa elected president of Poland

In Poland, Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity trade union, wins a landslide election victory, becoming the first directly elected Polish leader. Walesa, born in 1943, was an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk when he was fired for union agitation in 1976. When ...read more

Intifada begins on Gaza Strip

In the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, the first riots of the Palestinian intifada, or “shaking off” in Arabic, begin one day after an Israeli truck crashed into a station wagon carrying Palestinian workers in the Jabalya refugee district of Gaza, killing four and wounding 10. Gaza ...read more

U.S Marines storm Mogadishu, Somalia

On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the ...read more

Paris peace talks break down

For the first time since the Paris peace talks began in May 1968, both sides refuse to set another meeting date for continuation of the negotiations.The refusal to continue came during the 138th session of the peace talks. U.S. delegate William Porter angered the communist ...read more

Reds trade Frank Robinson to Orioles

On this day in 1965, the Cincinnati Reds trade outfielder Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles, in exchange for the pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and the outfielder Dick Simpson. The trade is widely regarded as one of the worst in major league baseball history.In ...read more

Johnson discusses daughters

On this day in 1967, CBS broadcasts an interview with President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, in which they spoke candidly about their daughters. The same day, their daughter Lynda Johnson was married at the White House.In the interview, recorded on December 8, Johnson, ...read more

The Texan Army captures San Antonio

Inspired by the spirited leadership of Benjamin Rush Milam, the newly created Texan Army takes possession of the city of San Antonio, an important victory for the Republic of Texas in its war for independence from Mexico.Milam was born in 1788 in Frankfort, Kentucky. He became a ...read more

Pacino stars in Scarface

The actor Al Pacino stars as a Cuban refugee who becomes a Miami crime boss in Scarface, which opens in theaters on this day in 1983.In Scarface, Pacino played Tony Montana, who arrives in Florida from Cuba in 1980 and eventually becomes wealthy from his involvement in the ...read more

Cold spell leads to tragedy in Iran

Unseasonably low temperatures in Tehran, Iran, lead to the deaths of at least 40 people on this day in 2003. Rarely do such large groups die at the same time.In general, death from freezing occurs when the body’s core temperature reaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a fact discovered ...read more

Policeman Daniel Faulkner found dead

Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner is found dead on the street with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known activist and freelance journalist, lying severely wounded nearby. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was tried for and convicted of Faulkner’s murder, but because of the murky circumstances ...read more

Patriots gain control of Virginia

The Virginia and North Carolina militias defeat 800 slaves and 200 redcoats serving John Murray, earl of Dunmore and governor of Virginia, at Great Bridge outside Norfolk, ending British royal control of Virginia. The Tory survivors retreated first to Norfolk then to Dunmore’s ...read more