The Nuremberg trials Essay

This essay has a total of 965 words and 5 pages.

The Nuremberg trials



The Trial at Nuremberg
During World War II the Allies were determined that both Hitler and the men around him
should be punished for starting World War II and the crimes they had committed while
they were waging it. These crimes included the extermination of the Jewish people of
Europe known as the Holocaust or the Shoah. After some debate it was decided that the
fairest way to proceed was the public trial of the men and organizations who committed
the crimes.
At the most famous of these, the Nuremberg Trial, , and that had been organized to carry
out the Nazi programs, were placed on trial for their crimes. Martin Bormann was tried in
absentia. Additionally Robert Ley was charged as a defendant but committed suicide
before the trial, and Gustav Krupp, who was named in the indictments, was found to be
medically unfit to stand trial. Many of the leading Nazis, such as Hitler, Himmler, and
Goebbels, were not present at the Nuremberg Trial because they has committed suicide at
the end of the war.
The first step was to agree upon the rules for the trial. They adopted a of the four Allies
(the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union). The defendants were
given the right to be represented by counsel, call witnesses, and present evidence in their
own behalf. They were not given the right to a jury trial which was part of the law only in
Great Britain and the United States. Finally, after all the evidence was presented, the
defendants were permitted to make statements to the court without being sworn or
cross-examined.
The next step was the , a statement of the charges against each defendant. The Allies
charged the defendants with four types of crimes: conspiracy against peace, crimes against
peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The Allies stated that the Nazis, when
they started the war, had deliberately broken the treaties that Germany had signed. The
Holocaust was included as part of the crimes against humanity. Not all of the defendants
were charged under all counts of the indictment. Doenitz, Raeder, and Schacht were not
accused of participating in the Holocaust.
The trial was held before a panel of judges selected by the Allies called the and presided
over by a British judge named Lord Lawrence. The Allies presented their evidence which
consisted almost entirely of the words and documents of the Nazis themselves. During the
investigation that led up to the trial, the U.S. and British investigators had discovered
literally tons of documents which proved the charges against the defendants. The decision
was made, therefore, to rely on the words of the defendants themselves in the trial. Certain
witnesses were presented to flesh out the evidence. This is especially true in the case
against the concentration camps where witnesses ranging from a member of the French
parliament -- who had been imprisoned as a slave laborer at Auschwitz -- to an American
army officer who had been imprisoned at Buchenwald testified. Several Nazi officers also
testified about how the Holocaust occurred.
Although the French and the Soviets were originally supposed to present the case on the
crimes against humanity, the Americans and British had presented a lot of evidence about
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