In the Name of Security

Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer
Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Trials of Alger Hiss, The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer. At the height of the Cold War, American democracy was challenged by the anti-Communist atmosphere of the McCarthy era.

In the Name of Security re-opens three famous spy cases that rocked America between 1948 and 1954: Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer. Each hour-long program combines dramatic re-enactments based on original trial transcripts, archival material, new evidence, the latest assessments of American historians and scientists, and the commentaries of relatives and friends of the accused.

You can learn more about J. Robert Oppenheimer in Jennet Conant's 109 East Palace
(P)1998 L.A. Theatre Works

What listeners say about In the Name of Security

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful history lesson, told with verve

As a person who grew up well after the events discussed in these three playlets, I found the information in them fascinating and new to me. The acting was excellent, as well. I was a bit puzzled by the "intent" of the author. In terms of tone, it sounded as though the listener is meant to feel sympathy for the persons involved--Hiss, the Rosenbergs, and Oppenheimer--but the facts presented do not lead in that direction. In the case of Hiss and the Rosenbergs, the narrator makes it clear that in recent years the Venona decodings have proven that they were certainly guilty of espionage, Hiss in time of war. That seems to constitute treason, which is worthy of severe penalty--including the death penalty. The Rosenbergs' crime seems even greater--what could be worse than giving atomic secrets to an enemy nation? The actors' declartions suggest that the civil rights of Hiss, the Rosenbergs, and Oppenheimer were violated, but other than citing that the "current of the time" during the "Red Scare" convicted them, rather than the evidence, I did not hear what seemed to me clear instances of violations. To my unfamiliar ears, the contemporary evidence (not Venona) sounded pretty damning, whatever the climate of the times. Oppenheimer was the only one who may have been treated roughly given his "crime," but then his punishment was simply to be removed from a job. How could a reasonable government have left in charge of such a vital defense/security program as atomic weapons a man who not only had had Communist sympathies but, much more importantly, had failed to disclose a security breach known to him personally for at least 6 months? What could the authorities have done--I mean, doesn't that constitute at least reason to doubt Oppenheimer's trustworthiness?

At any rate, as I said, I was previously unfamiliar with these cases, and I am certainly disposed now to find out a great deal more about all of them. I highly recommend the drama to anyone interested in postwar history

6 people found this helpful

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Whitewash of misguided Communist sympathizers

Alger Hiss perjured himself. The Rosenbergs betrayed America. Oppenheimer became a security risk. But this portrayal halos their roles.

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Very lopsided story.

This entire production sounds as though a communist put it together. Anyone who would take it upon themselves to offer top secret information to a foreign country is a trader in my opinion. It should be left up to the elected officials to make decisions like this. If our elected officials believe it’s ok then let them share our national security secrets. No matter if someone has a belief that another country should have the information, we have laws in our country. Breaking these laws is always punishable. This book seems to try to influence our beliefs that giving communists our national secrets is ok if we want to. This book seems to be written by a communist sympathizer.

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Haunting

It's a fascinating story expertly presented.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Stafford Steve
  • Stafford Steve
  • 05-24-20

Excellent documentary-drama

Three classic cases from early Cold War America that explore how legitimate concerns for Soviet espionage were often hijacked for domestic political agendas.