From The Third Reich: A New History by Michael Burleigh: Following prompting from exiled governments, whose citizens had suffered the most grievously under Nazi occupation, general Allied intentions to hold war crimes trials had been announced after the September 1943 Moscow foreign minister's conference. The intention was to use national jurisdictions, except in the case of those 'whose offences have no particular geographical localization.' At Tehran, Stalin had aired a desire to shoot fifty thousand German officers, which prompted Churchill to walk out in disgust. Ironically, at the time Churchill was initiating plans for the summary execution of around a hundred leading Nazis who were to be declared international outlaws. By the time they met at Yalta, Stalin had come round to the idea of trials, which the Soviets had been conducting since 1943, a policy which the British fell in with at San Francisco in April 1945. American experts in prosecuting stock-exchange fraud played a key role in charging leading Nazis with conspiracy to commit aggression and in pursuing criminal organizations.
Both the British and the Americans had considerable reservations about working with the deputy president of the Soviet Supreme Court, Ion Nikitchenko, who had presided over the 1935 Moscow show trials. Twenty-two leading civilian and military leaders, including representatives of six organizations, were arraigned on four counts, which included conspiracy to wage aggressive war, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. These last charges excluded crimes committed against the German people, of which there had been many. Eleven men were sentenced to death, and were hanged at dawn (sic) on October 6 1946. Their corpses were photographed, to prove that they were really dead. Four were acquitted, including Neurath and Papen, while the remainder received long terms of imprisonment.
The presence of Soviet prosecutors and judges was not without ironies, in a context dealing with either mass murder or aggression, considering efforts having to be made to prevent the defendants from introducing the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the matter of responsibility for the Katyan massacres, which the Soviets insisted on including in the proceedings, against the advice of their democratic colleagues. The Nuremberg Trials were conducted fairly, and the guilt of those sentenced was incontestable, even in terms of laws extant in Germany itself throughout the entire Nazi period.
Hermann Goering * Rudolf Hess * Joachim von Ribbentrop * Wilhelm Keitel * Ernst Kaltenbrunner * Alfred Rosenberg * Hans Frank * Wilhelm Frick * Julius Streicher * Walter Funk * Hjalmar Schacht * Karl Doenitz * Erich Raeder * Baldur von Schirach * Fritz Sauckel * Alfred Jodl * Franz von Papen * Arthur Seyss-Inquart * Albert Speer * Constantin von Neurath * Hans Fritzsche * Martin Bormann *
From The Course of My Life by Edward Heath: I looked towards the dock. In two rows they sat: Goring, reduced to wearing a plain, ill-fitting grey uniform—no medals now—alert and attentive, vigorously nodding his head in agreement or shaking it in denial; Hess, with his pale pinched face; von Ribbentrop, always busy writing notes; Keitel and Jodi, the soldiers, staring silently and sullenly ahead; Schacht, the businessman, whose relationship with the Nazis had been more turbulent, and who had distaste etched into his face at having to sit in public with such unpleasant people; von Papen and von Neurath, politicians both but still the diplomats, polished and immaculate. These all stood out. But how unimpressive were Seyss-Inquart, who had betrayed Austria and ruled occupied Holland; Rosenberg and Fritsche, the propagandists; and von Schirach, formerly a fanatical and dangerous young zealot, but now a visibly broken man. For a time, the whole free world had quaked before these men.
Ultimately, however, they had brought not glory, but ruin and misery, to their own land and its people. We had lived in their shadow for a decade, but now history was free to deliver a final verdict upon them. When the court adjourned for a quarter of an hour, I saw the Nazi leaders arguing heatedly among themselves about the evidence they had heard: evidence which had been gathered from every corner of Europe, from the Chancelleries and concentration camps, from the occupied countries and from Germany itself, of how the Nazis plunged the world into war, led Germany to its undoing and brought themselves, at last, into the dock in that Court House in Nuremberg.From Nurembeg: A Nation on Trial by Werner Maser, translated by Richard Barry: Despite all the criticism made of it in 1945 the Nuremberg Trial was essential and not only for the future of mankind. Before it the great developments in world politics had been personified by the men who became the wartime leaders - Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. These developments ended in the Second World War and were the subject of the victors' proceedings in Nuremberg. The very different ends which these men met was not unconnected with Nuremberg and its preparation from 1941 onwards. Hitler committed suicide in 1945. Mussolini had been shot without trial by his political opponents shortly before. The other leading figures of this period of history, though in some cases no less incriminated than Hitler and Mussolini, died in their beds as honored statesmen. If the problem revolved solely round these men as individuals and round the major war criminals sentenced in Nuremberg in 1946 as violators of international law, then the historian would merely be able to take note with some detachment of the double standards by which these men were judged.
But the historian cannot remain detached, not because of the fate of these men but because the authority of international law is still being flouted by statesmen, politicians and military men. Since Nuremberg and Tokyo the historian invariably feels himself bound to take up the cudgels on behalf of international law in face of the attitude of politicians who are the people least prepared to learn from history. The victors of 1945 took a revolutionary step and the historian must accept it. Nuremberg having happened, however, it is now the responsibility, not only of the victors of that time but even more of their heirs and of every other nation, to show, by their attitude to international law, what value history is to place on the victors' tribunal.The defendants were given IQ tests prior to the opening of the trial. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, they consisted of ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Colonal Andrus, the Nuremberg Prison Warden, is not impressed by the results: 'From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit.'Hermann Wilhelm Goering (138)
Rudolf Hess (120)
Joachim von Ribbentrop (129)
Wilhelm Keitel (129)
Ernst Kaltenbrunner (113)
Alfred Rosenberg (127)
Hans Frank (130)
Wilhelm Frick (130)
Julius Streicher (106)
Walter Funk (124)
Hjalmar Schacht (143)
Karl Doenitz (138)
Erich Raeder (134)
Baldur von Schirach (130)
Fritz Sauckel (118)
Alfred Jodl (127)
Franz von Papen (134)
Arthur Seyss-Inquart (141)
Albert Speer (128)
Constantin von Neurath (125)
Hans Fritzsche (130)
Caution: As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can possibly be punishable by death.
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