Nuremberg Trials

// Information about the Nuremberg Trials.


Winston Churchill was the first in early 1941, launching the idea to launch a major lawsuit to prosecute those responsible for the maximum of the Nazi regime, its institutions and organizations. Punishment for crimes should take place at the time ending the conflict, said then the British prime minister. 

On 7 October 1942 he established the United Nations Commission for War Crimes, whose principal aim is develop a list of officials who should be tried at the end of World War II. 

Even the Americans, through the Departments of State for Defense and Justice, have not ceased to develop, throughout the conflict, a comprehensive study that would be analyzed and discussed at the Yalta Conference held in 1945. 

That same year, the American judge Samuel I. Rosenman was appointed official representative of the United States of America with a mission to reach an agreement on how the trial would result.

Controversy surrounding the process

The disagreements over how the process unfolded are still not resolved. 

If the Secretary of State Hull defended the U.S., a view shared by other important personalities of the Allied States, that the defendants should be tried by a Military Court in Board of War, Churchill was in favor of summary execution of Nazi leaders. 

Judge Rosenman presented the United Nations meeting held in San Francisco, the Foreign ministers of Russia, Britain and France a consensus proposal. But the vote this proposal was postponed, and it is hoped the report prepared by the Attorney General of the United States, Robert H. Jackson, which would be officially presented on June 7, 1945. 

Negotiations between the United Kingdom, France, the United States and the USSR ended August 8, 1945 with the signing in London, an arrangement that created an International Military Tribunal, on behalf of 26 nations that fought against Germany , judging 24 leaders and six Nazi organizations.

Terms of the charge

The terms of the Writ of Indictment were made during a public session held on 18 October 1945 in Berlin, consisting of her list of the following crimes: 

  • Conspiracy against peace, resorting to such a common plan to seize power and establish a totalitarian regime, with the deliberate aim of making a war of aggression.
  • Attacks against the peace and acts of aggression.
  • War crimes and violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.
  • Crimes against humanity, persecution and extermination.

The Russians intend to conduct the trial in Berlin, a desire that would be impractical due to the former capital of the Reich does not exist a single intact building capable of housing the court. 

The alternative would be to Nuremberg, a city deeply connected to the regime and the Nazi ideology and that, moreover, had a court and a prison appropriate to accommodate the several hundred people in one way or another, were involved in process. 

The Palace of Justice, in the west of Nuremberg, had, on the second floor, a spacious living room with capacity for 600 people, equipped with an elevator that allowed the accused to carry without them pass through the halls it was in the press, avoiding statements that could affect the course of the work. Another advantage was that the Court have a direct connection with the arrest, she also large. 

The room was equipped with microphones and earphones, bearing in mind that the trial would take place in four languages ??(English, Russian, French and German) has been constituted a team of translators specialized in legal terminology.



Procedures for Application

The idea of ??creating a tribunal to judge the winners together and simultaneously a group of war criminals was an absolutely new situation. In previous conflicts the accused had been tried by many courts as there are winning countries, being considered in each of them only the crimes committed against a single state. 

The pressure of international public opinion forced him to expedite the process, which begins badly ends the conflict. No wonder, therefore, that six months ago about the end of the war, and taking into account the high volume of information to be examined, the questions were drawn up the indictment. 

About the speed that surrounded the whole process, Robert Jackson declare later that a longer period of preparation would have allowed to develop and support the best libel libelous, making it more uniform and reducing the duration of the trial. 

The jurists were the first to arrive at Nuremberg, beginning immediately meticulous research. We examined more than 10 documents of the Third Reich, having been translated into 4000 that would be submitted for tests. To watch a variety of materials have been installed in cinema room and a projector screen. Each of the four powers in Nuremberg had a team of 600 people. 

The Court was composed of four judges, one for each of the victorious powers, and four others in reserve. The Chairman of the British was Geoffrey Lawrence, a choice that turned out right because of his attitude towards the facts dispassionately. His deputy was Sir William N. Birkett. 

American judges were Francis L. BiddeleJohn Parker, the French, Donnedieu de Vabres and Robert Falco, while the Soviets were represented by two military judges, Division General Nikitchenko and Lieutenant Colonel Volchkov. Throughout the process the judges wore traditional robes, except that the Soviets never ceased to wear the military uniform.

The bank defendants

At the end of the conflict the Americans did 300 German prisoners of war regarded as the major war criminals of the Nazi regime, while the Soviet side catches amounted to half a thousand war criminals. In Nuremberg be judged not only primarily responsible, in number of 24 and then reduced to 22. Robert Ley, Labor Front in charge of the Third Reich,committed suicide before the trial? hanging himself in his cell? and the German industrialist Gustav Krupp, elderly and seriously ill, turned out to be excused from attending the trial. 

Martin Bormann, in turn, was tried in absentia since the time his whereabouts was unknown, not knowing whether or not he had lost his life during the Battle of Berlin. 

Since the prisoners had only the clothes that had been taken prisoner, was contacted a tailor of Nuremberg they concocted as a costume, which they have been immediately removed at the end of the trial. 

None of the defendants was allowed to wear military insignia or as little, they were recognized treatment usually due to military officials. 

Were placed in individual cells, with a military guard at the door throughout the 24 hours a day. They could not talk to each other or leave the place that was destined before the Court. Efectuavam 20 minutes of daily exercise. 

The route between the cells and the room was carefully controlled soldiers strategically placed in the corridors leading to the elevator.


The trial of the century

The judges ultimately consider 19 of the 22 defendants guilty of one or more charges. The three remaining defendants would eventually be acquitted, but not before the Soviets have expressed their disagreement with these sentences. Perpetrators, 12 were sentenced to death by hanging, three to life imprisonment and four to prison terms ranged from ten to twenty years in prison. 

After the case, the Americans thought, also in Nuremberg (1945-1949), plus 199 individuals accused of criminal activities. Of these, 38 were acquitted, 36 sentenced to death? of which 18 were executed? 23 to life imprisonment and the remaining 102 smaller feathers. In fact, taking into account all other cases tried by the Americans, few prisoners who cumpriran more than seven years in prison.

The sentence

The sessions were initiated on 20 November 1945 with the declaration of innocence made by each and every one of the accused. The Court has, from then until the 31st of August 1946, to meet five days a week, except for a short holiday Christmas. In total, the panel was assembled for 261 days. 

The prosecution called 33 people to testify and presented many documents that proved the guilt of the defendants, as well as numerous films and photographs. 

The defense, in turn, appealed to 61 verbal testimony and written statements of more than 143 witnesses. 

The deliberations of the jurors continued until 1 October 1946, requiring an arduous effort inherent in the detailed review of facts and evidence and applicable law in what was the first international criminal trial in history.

The other Nurembergas

In Germany under American occupation were created several de-Nazification courts, which are four types of Nazi thought: major offenders, offenders, minor offenders and fewer supporters of the Nazi regime. For they passed numerous individuals who, for whatever reason, have been linked to institutions of the Third Reich. 

The executions of the condemned were in charge of Sergeant John C. Wood, San Antonio, Texas, a professional executioner who until then had executed 229 people. 

On 16 October 1946, at 1 hour and 13 minutes in the morning, Ribbentrop, the first to be hanged, climbed the stairs that led to the scaffold erected in the prison gym. In a short time followed him Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Jodl, and Seyss-Inquart Sauckel. 

Hermann Goering was the only escape from the executioner, committing suicide if two hours before being strangled with a cyanide capsule that someone was delivered to the cell. 

To prevent any manifestation of nostalgic nature, the bodies of the Nazi leaders were cremated in the only existing crematorium at Dachau, outside Munich, and his ashes scattered on the river Isar.


The controversy of the Nuremberg Japanese

The January 19, 1946, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in Japan, made public the order initiating the trial of Japanese war criminals. 

Held in Tokyo, over 417 days, the trial was in many ways similar to that performed in Nuremberg, accused to bail is the same document read by the judges at Nuremberg. The military tribunal, chaired by Australian William Webb, was part of representatives of eleven countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Holland, India, Philippines, New Zealand, USSR, United Kingdom and United States of America. 

As with the German process, the development of events was marked by controversy. The prosecution was handled by one of causídicos Americans in the room and the only languages ??used were Japanese and English. The accused was granted for extenuating act in compliance with orders and was taken into account the position they occupied at the time who committed the acts they were accused. 

The court eventually convict seven defendants to capital punishment. Among them was Hideki Tojo, war minister and prime minister of Japan during much of the strife, who was deposed in July 1944 before the successive defeats suffered by the forces nipónicas. Tojo tried to commit suicide before being arrested, was hanged on November 22, 1948. Of the remaining defendants, 16 were sentenced to life imprisonment and the two minor penalties.

The english version of this article will be available soon. In the meanwhile, the text above was the result of a Google translation from portuguese version to english.