Advertisement

The Rosenbergs Go On Trial

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began on this date in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, they would become the first civilians executed as spies in U.S. history — on June 19, 1953. Opposition to their sentence became an international cause, with Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert […]

Read More

The Palmer Raids

Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Mollie Steimer were among the large number of activist Jews arrested and eventually deported in the wake of the Palmer Raids, launched on this date in 1919 (the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution) by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. Between November and January, […]

Read More

January 20: The ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded on this date in 1920 by a committee that included Felix Frankfurter, who would become a Supreme Court justice nineteen years later, and Morris Ernst, who served as the organization’s general counsel for thirty years (1929-59). Ernst had, three years earlier, co-founded the National Civil Liberties Bureau, […]

Read More

August 19: The Communist Control Act

The Communist Control Act was passed by Congress on this date in 1954, to be signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on August 24. The law outlawed the Communist Party USA (it was declared “not entitled to any of the rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies”) and made membership or support for […]

Read More

February 18: J. Robert Oppenheimer

Jules Robert Oppenheimer, who led the Manhattan Project’s invention of the atomic bomb, died on this date in 1967 in Princeton, New Jersey, at 62. Oppenheimer studied at Harvard, Cambridge and the University of Göttingen, where he networked with leading theoretical physicists of his generation, many of whom became refugees from Nazism and would be […]

Read More

November 7: The Palmer Raids

Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Mollie Steimer were among the large number of activist Jews arrested and eventually deported thanks to the Palmer Raids, launched on this date in 1919 (the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution) by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. Between November and January, more than […]

Read More

March 6: The Rosenberg Trial

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began on this day in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, they would become the first civilians executed as spies in U.S. history. Opposition to their sentence became an international cause, with Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein, Harold Urey, Jean Cocteau, […]

Read More

Leonard Bernstein's Radical Politics

by Eric A. Gordon Reviewed in this Essay: Leonard Bernstein, The Political Life of an American Musician, by Barry Seldes. University of California Press, 2009, 276 pages. Only with the recent availability of Leonard Bernstein’s FBI dossier, and with the opening of his archive at the Library of Congress after 1997, has it been possible […]

Read More