Nuremberg Trials


     After World War II, numerous war-crimes trials tried and convicted many Axis
leaders. Judges from Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United

States tried twenty-two Nazi leaders for: crimes against humanity (mostly about
the Holocaust), violating long-established rules of war, and waging aggressive
war. This was known as the "Nuremberg Trials." Late in 1946, the German
defendants were indicted and arraigned before a war crimes tribunal at

Nuremberg. Twenty of the defendants were physicians who, as governmental,
military, or SS officials, stood at or near the top of the medical hierarchy of
the Third Reich. The other three occupied administrative positions which brought
them into close connection with medical affairs. It all started when people
started hearing about the Naziís in human acts, just about four months after

World War II started. No one would believe that such a thing would happen. While
the people were thinking like that the Jews were being shipped out of the
country. Some of them were put in working camps or at a personís farm. This
was the beginning of the Final Solution of the Germanís Problem (the

Holocaust). On August 8 the Four Power nation signed the London Agreement. They
later named it the International Military Tribunal (IMT), it had 8 judges, one
judge and one alternate. This was made so that they would try to stop the Nazi
crimes (Rice Jr. 81). They had supplementary Nuremberg hearings that were broken
down into twelve trials. In connection with these trials, the U.S. military
tribunals had thirty-five defendants and released nineteen of them because they
could find anything to get them on (Rice Jr. 76). They made Nuremberg Laws
because of Hitlerís concentration camps and his other inhuman acts (Rice Jr.

31). He didnít go by the lead system, he made himself the Supreme Judge.

Hitler could imprison or execute anyone he wanted to. He made laws keeping Jews
out of certain public places or jobs. He wouldnít let Jews have German
citizenship. The Nuremberg Laws stated that there would be no more inhuman acts
or segregation of Jews. One of the positive sides of the Nuremberg incident was
the trials documented Nazi crimes for posterity. Many citizens of the world
remember hearing about the Naziís brutalities and inhuman acts (Rice Jr., 5).

Hundreds of official Nazi documents entered into evidence at Nuremberg tell the
horrible tale of the Third Reich in the Naziís own words. Six million Jews,
and others not liked by the Nazis were killed. Not one convicted Nazi denied
that the mass killing had occurred. Each disclaimed only personal knowledge and
responsibility. The negative things that happened at Nuremberg were the
establishment of the I.M.T. has yet to lead to a permanent counterpart before
which crimes against humanity can be tried. Twenty-four wars between nations and
ninety-three civil wars or insurgencies between 1945 and 1992, no international
body had been convened to try aggressor nations or individuals accused of war
crimes. To prosecute and punish aggression rest still on the wavering will of an
international community ever reluctant to impose sanctions on offending
governments (Rice Jr. 100). Despite the reluctance of nations to unite in common
cause and move swiftly toward a lasting road to aggression, hope yes abides for
the best of Nurembergís brightest promise. The world had a problem of what to
do about the Nazi regime that had presided over the extermination of some six
million Jews and deaths of millions of others with no basis in military
necessity. Never before in history had the victors tried the vanquished for
crimes committed during a war (Rice Jr., 97). Yet never in history had the
vanquished perpetrated crimes of such inhumanity. The I.M.T., like the courts in
many countries, have held to the principle that persons committing a criminal
violation of international law are responsible for violation, on the grounds
that crimes of this nature are the result of their own acts (Rice 1492). The
tribunal thought for crimes carried out on orders from above, since many of the
crimes had been committed in one with the Reich policy (Rice 1493). The portion
of the I.M.T. judgment dealing with war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed by the defendants in the trial and by the criminal organizations
concerns, in large measure, the persecution and murder of the Jewish people. In
its analysis of these crimes, the I.M.T. found it appropriate to single out the
persecution of the Jews as a manifestation of consistent and systematic in
humanity on a huge scale (Rice 1493). The testimony given at the Nuremberg

Trial, the document presented by the prosecution, and the entire record of its
proceedings constitute an incomparable source for the study of the Holocaust.

The Nuremberg debates may continue for decades. But because of the tribunalís
rulings at Nuremberg, the initiating and waging of aggressive war is now
irrefutably criminal under international law. And that in itself is not a bad
legacy.