Nuremberg Trials Documentary Video: U.S. Army Film Version (1950 WW2 Movie)

Posted: May 17, 2011
Description

DVD: Between 1945 and 1946, German officials involved in the Holocaust and other war crimes were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg Trials. The Soviet Union had wanted these trials to take place in Berlin. However, Nuremberg was chosen as the site for the trials for specific reasons: The city had been the location of the Nazi Party's Nuremberg rallies and the laws stripping Jews of their citizenship were passed there. There was symbolic value in making it the place of Nazi demise. The Palace of Justice was spacious and largely undamaged (one of the few that had remained largely intact despite extensive Allied bombing of Germany). The already large courtroom was reasonably easily expanded by the removal of the wall at the end opposite the bench, thereby incorporating the adjoining room. A large prison was also part of the complex. As a compromise, it was agreed that Berlin would become the permanent seat of the International Military Tribunal and that the first trial (several were planned) would take place in Nuremberg. Due to the Cold War, subsequent trials never took place. The same courtroom in Nuremberg was the venue of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, organised by the United States as occupying power in the area. The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the main victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945-46, at the Palace of Justice. The first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 24 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany, though several key architects of the war (such as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels) had committed suicide before the trials began. The initial trials were held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); among them included the Doctors' Trial and the Judges' Trial. This article primarily deals with the IMT; see the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials for details on those trials. While Sir Geoffrey Lawrence of Britain was the judge chosen as president of the court, the most prominent of the judges at trial arguably was his American counterpart, Francis Biddle Prior to the trial, Biddle had been Attorney General of the United States but had been asked to resign by Truman earlier in 1945. Some accounts argue that Truman had appointed Biddle as the main American judge for the trial as an apology for asking for his resignation. Ironically, Biddle was known during his time as Attorney General for opposing the idea of prosecuting Nazi leaders for crimes committed before the beginning of the war, even sending out a memorandum on January 5, 1945 on the subject. The note also expressed Biddle's opinion that instead of proceeding with the original plan for prosecuting entire organizations, there should simply be more trials that would prosecute specific offenders. Biddle soon changed his mind, as he approved a modified version of the plan on January 21, 1945, likely due to time constraints, since the trial would be one of the main issues discussed at Yalta At trial, the Nuremberg tribunal ruled that any member of an organization convicted of war crimes, such as the SS or Gestapo, who had joined after 1939 would be considered a war criminal. Biddle managed to convince the other judges to make an exemption for any member who was drafted or had no knowledge of the crimes being committed by these organizations. Justice Robert Jackson played an important role in not only the trial itself, but also in the creation of the International Military Tribunal, as he led the American delegation to London that, in the summer of 1945, argued in favour of prosecuting the Nazi leadership as a criminal conspiracy. According to Airey Neave, Jackson was also the one behind the prosecution's decision to include membership in any of the six criminal organizations in the indictments at the trial, though the IMT rejected this on the grounds that it was wholly without precedent in either international law or the domestic laws of any of the Allies. Jackson also attempted to have Alfried Krupp be tried in place of his father, Gustav, and even suggested that Alfried volunteer to be tried in his father's place.

URL:

Discussion