The Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of trials for Nazis and their leaders accused of war crimes. The first one, the most widely known, involved 22 major Nazi leaders, and it is the one I will focus on the most in this paper. It began in November 1945 and continued until October 1946. The International Military Tribunal, or IMT, tried these Nazi leaders, and was jointly created by the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain.
As early as 1941, people all over the world were hearing about the atrocities happening in Europe, and began to demand justice. In January 1942, the actual governments of nine countries issued a statement that would punish all the countries that harmed the formers’ citizens. In 1943, the United States, Great Britain, and Russia decided to punish the leaders of their enemy countries for crimes. At the same time as this was happening, officials from the Allies collected material for future trials. In 1945, Robert H. Jackson was appointed to be the U.S. chief prosecutor for the trials. The aforementioned threesome created an International Military Tribunal to try the major Nazi criminals in what became known as the Nuremberg Trial. There were twelve more later on.
There were several problems or issues with this trial. It was the first of its kind in history, because it put men on trial for their crimes in wartime. It was made in the American style of court (innocent until proven guilty) because then the defendants had some chance of acquittal. The Americans also wanted to show that they were a humane nation that did not execute criminals just tit-for-tat, and allowed them some defense, with direct and cross-examinations. Another problem was that the Allies had done similar criminal acts during the war. There were several arguments against the Allies, such as an “I did what my boss told me to do” case or a “so did you!” example. Maxwell-Fyfe, Britain’s attorney general, threw out the...