Two letters from fathers to sons Dec10


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Two letters from fathers to sons

Julius Rosenberg wrote a letter to his son Michael on August 16th 1951. Julius was, a few months earlier, sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman for selling atomic secrets to the Russians at a time when the US was “engaged in a life and death struggle with a completely different system,” that is, Communist Russia. Julius’ crime was to threaten democratic institutions not to mention American lives since the atom bomb was “a missile of destruction which can wipe out millions of Americans.”  A few months later Julius wrote to his son Michael saying that he was confident that he and his wife Ethel, “will be set free because Mommy and I are innocent and we will fight in every possible way and through the courts to win our freedom as soon as possible.”

In that August 16 letter, Julius wrote to Michael that he’d make more pictures of trains, buses, cars and boats if he liked. He signed it, “Your own Daddy – Julius.” 

A couple of years later Francis Crick wrote to his twelve-year-old son who was also called Michael that he had, along with Jim Watson, discovered the basic structure of DNA. He tells his son that “[their] structure is very beautiful” and that “D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out.” He draws a diagram of the double helix for his son. He goes on to assert that “we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life.” In 1962 Crick and two others received the Nobel Prize for their work. 

References from Schrecker, Ellen, The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents, St. Martin’s Press, 1994 and Usher, Shaun (ed.) Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, Canongate Books, 2013