The Nuremburg Trial
Uploaded by sls465 on Apr 19, 2007
The Nuremburg Trial
On October 18, 1945, the chief prosecutors lodged an indictment with the War Crimes Tribunal charging 24 individuals with variety of crimes and atrocities. This included the deliberate instigation of wars, extermination of racial and religious groups, murder and mistreatment of prisoners of war, and the murder, mistreatment, and the deportation of slave labor of the inhabitants of countries occupied by Germany during the war.
The men accused at the trial were the Nationalist Socialist leaders Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess, diplomat Joachim von Ribbentrop, the munitions maker Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, and 18 other military leaders and civilian officials. Seven organizations that formed part of the basic structure of the Nazi government were also charged as criminal. These organizations included the SS (Schutzstaffel "Defense Corps"), the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei, "Secret State Police"), the SA (Sturmabteilung, "Storm Troops"), and the General Staff and High Command of the German armed forces.
The trial began on November 20, 1945. The evidence submitted by the prosecution consisted mostly of original military, diplomatic, and other government documents that fell into the hands of the Allied forces after the collapse of the German government.
The judgment of the International Military Tribunal was handed down on September 30-October 1, 1946. One notable feature of the decision was the conclusion, in accordance with the London Agreement, that to plan or instigate an aggressive war is a crime under the principles of international law. The tribunal rejected the contention of the defense that such acts had not been previously defined as crimes under international law, and therefore the condemnation of the defendants would violate the principle of justice prohibiting ex post facto punishments. The defense also rejected the contention that the defendants were legally responsible for their acts because they performed the acts under the orders of superior authority, stating that "the true test . . . is not the existence of the order but whether moral choice (in executing it) was in fact possible."
The tribunal found overwhelming evidence of a systematic rule of violence, brutality, and terrorism by the German government in the territories occupied by its forces, with respect to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Millions of people were destroyed in concentration camps, many of, which were equipped with gas chambers for the extermination of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and members of other...