The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity
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The Nuremberg Trials were the most important criminal proceedings ever held. They established the principle that individuals will always be held responsible for their actions under international law, and brought closure to World War II, allowing the reconstruction of Europe to begin.
reconstruction the courtroom was fitted with a sound system that promised simultaneously translated testimony in three languages. All of the participants could select the language of their choice at the flick of a switch, which would then be fed into their headphones. The same service was available to the press and the public. In case anyone spoke too fast for the interpreters, warning lights were installed in the witness box. The work of reconstruction progressed steadily, the young GI in
joked that he would have made a fine first sergeant in the American army – and his fellow officers thought him an insufferable sycophant. Hitler had appointed him chief of staff to the German High Command (OKW) because he would make the ideal ‘office manager’, they said. His colleagues called him ‘Nickesel’ behind his back, a reference to a toy donkey that nodded obediently when tapped on the head, while Hitler condemned him for having the brains of a cinema usher. Keitel may have been a dullard,
such trials. Sitting to the right of Lawrence was Justice Birkett, a formidable advocate who had been deeply disappointed when he was passed over as tribunal president. At six foot three Birkett loomed over Lawrence like a bird of prey, his sharp beak of a nose adding to the illusion. Lawrence was quiet and affable but he rarely smiled, while his partner was impulsive and good-humoured. The two complemented each other and, most importantly, shared a sense of justice tempered by mercy.
without trial. Stimson had learned the lesson of history and he was determined that America would not repeat the error. To bolster his argument he brought in a colleague from the United States War Department, Lieutenant-Colonel Murray Bernays, a former New York lawyer and an ardent advocate of the principle of justice being seen to be done. He commissioned Bernays to draw up a practical plan for a public trial and asked him to establish the legal basis on which the prosecution could assert its
that would mark the founding of the United Nations, nor could they be seen to be denying their defeated enemies a fair trial on the very eve of final victory. There would be a trial after all. Robert H. Jackson. Procedural Procrastination So much time had been wasted in debating the need for a trial that it came as quite a shock when those charged with its organization realized that there was still no agreement on who would be indicted and on what charges. Four days after the