Nuremberg Trials: Sentencing, Trivia, Criminals, And Aftermath

 Road to Nuremberg

The Nuremberg Trials of 1946 were some of the most controversial and difficult legal proceedings of the 20th century. Over the course of five years, 13 trials were conducted in Nuremberg, Germany, pitting Nazi leaders and high-ranking military officials, as well as German civilians who took advantage of the war by committing crimes against humanity. Unfortunately, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide before he could be brought to justice, meaning that one of the worst war criminals that ever existed was never put on trial.

Organized by an international group of representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain, the Nuremberg trials brought charges against nearly 200 defendants, lasted 10 months, and took more than 200 court sessions to settle.

Allied forces may have been on the same page during World War II, but after the end of the war, almost everyone disagreed about how to treat war criminals. In 1942, while the war was still raging, Winston Churchill came up with the idea of ​​simply capturing high-ranking Nazi officers and putting them to death via firing squad. This did not play with America's confidence in due process, so the idea was scrapped. Instead, the Allies devised an unprecedented means of trying international war criminals.

In order to move forward, the legal traditions and practices of each country must be recognized and followed accordingly. On August 8, 1945, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) was established, defining three categories of crime: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Crimes against peace essentially involve starting a war, whereas war crimes occur when someone violates the rules of engaging in war. Finally, crimes against humanity include the killing, enslavement or deportation of civilians on political, religious or racial grounds.

Why Nuremberg?

The trials could have taken place anywhere, so why were they held in Nuremberg, Germany? The Allies had some reason for their decision to set up this monumental test in the middle of formerly Nazi-held territory. Logically, it just made sense. The Palace of Justice within the city houses the courts and has a large prison area where violators can be kept for long periods. The Palace was also one of the few structures in the area that suffered little damage. On top of the necessity of its existence, the Palace of Justice also offered a kind of irony that the Allies could not easily pass up. Previously, the city was the site of Nazi rallies and speeches, which made the trials held there all the more symbolic.

Francisco Boix survived a concentration camp and helped convict the Nazis at trial

Francisco Boix, a member of the French Foreign Legion, was one of the many who came out of the woodwork to help ward off the surviving Nazis during the Nuremberg trials, captured by German forces in 1940. He was placed in Mauthausen concentration. Camps in Austria, which contained between 100,000 and 300,000 prisoners of mostly Polish and Soviet origin. It is impossible to calculate the exact death of the camp, but Boix managed to survive the ordeal while working at the Erkennungsdienst, the photography department of the camp administration. There he took ID photographs of the prisoners and documented the events inside the camp.

During his time in the Mauthausen camp, he secreted about 20,000 negatives that would play a major role in Nuremberg. During the trial, these photographs were shown to prove the disgusting conditions that the prisoners were forced to endure and that the leaders of the Third Reich were aware of them.

Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess describes mind control methods used in camps during trial

Of every Nazi in the Third Reich, Rudolf Hess was the most openly enamored of Hitler. He was the first to conform to the leader of the Nazi Party, and was so sycophantic that he was made deputy Führer and given the power to extend the sentence of prisoners as he saw fit. Believe it or not, Hayes was not a steady man. He was a prominent hypochondriac who believed in the occult, and believed in mind control experiments being conducted in Nazi concentration camps.

When he took the stand during the Nuremberg trials, he spoke for 20 minutes straight after being introduced, touching on topics ranging from "rather mysterious" mind control methods to rumors that "act according to orders given to him." and speak" about the British concentration camps that he was pulling out of thin air. He ended his statement by confirming that he had no remorse about what he had done during the war, but instead of sentenced him to death along with the rest of the high-ranking officers, he was sentenced to life in prison. was heard. When Dr. Henry Dix described Hayes, he said:

He was pathetic and pathetic, rather than dangerous or unpleasant. We who surrounded him always felt that this was a very insecure man who was somehow very damaged in his earlier life and if only better means had existed, if only he had not been such an important prisoner of the state, So we could do that. more for that.

Hayes wasn't the only person involved in horrific medical experiments to face trial. Sixteen of the 23 doctors who crippled and experimented without the prisoners' consent were found guilty, and seven of those convicts were sentenced to death and hanged on June 2, 1948.

All defenses of war criminals were equal

One of the most famous defenses of hateful behavior in the 20th century was the claim that one was merely "following orders". It has been used throughout history, but it is more closely associated with the Nuremberg Trials than anything else, and while some might think it helped the defendants walk out with a lenient sentence, it In fact there was a hindrance in his defense.

Everyone at trial was allowed to choose their own lawyer and come up with their own defense strategy, but the defendants worked with a bag of similar tricks. Initially, the defendants claimed that the London Charter was a prime example of ex post facto law, or laws created after their crimes. Other defendants argued that the trials were nothing more than the Allies carrying out a final, brutal assault on their enemies. However, the most well-used defense was the claim that "I was only following orders."

Many Nuremberg defendants claimed that, while they knew what Hitler was doing was illegal, they followed it because they had no other choice. The Führerpreinzip (leader doctrine) governed the Nazi regime, he said, and under that system, getting out of line was a major no-no. Instead of slapping the defendants on the wrist, the tribunal agreed that obedience was no excuse for genocide.

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