Nuremburg Trials

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The Nuremburg Trials

The Holocaust was an unparalleled crime composed of millions of murders imprisonment, racism, and destruction. It destroyed millions of lives and wiped out over six million Jews during the course of World War II under Hitler’s power. The aftermath of these horrific events proved to be a difficult one since no form of punishment could ever suffice to the torture and pain the Nazi’s inflicted on the Jewish Community. This challenge was attempted by the International Military Tribunal (IMT) held at Nuremberg, Germany where they held Nazi’s in court for crimes of war and genocide. These became known as the Nuremburg Trials. The IMT was created to be a trial of judgment for war crimes in an effort to serve justice to those who fell victim to Nazi terrorism. The IMT, which consisted of judges and prosecutors from the four victorious powers following WWII, Great Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union, formally indicted the Nuremberg defendants on four counts: crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit these crimes. Twenty-one defendants were examined at the International Military Tribunal between November 20, 1945 and October 15-16, 1946. There were 24 men indicted however two of them never stood trial. Robert Ley, the head of the Nazi labor movement, committed suicide before the trial began, and Gustav Krupp, was ruled as too ill to be tried. Hitler as well as many other top Nazi leaders such as Goebbels killed themselves in the final days of the war. On the day of the trial 21 out of the 22 accused men were present of which include Martin Bormann: Secretary to Hitler, Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, Karl Doenitz: Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy, Hans Frank: Governor-General of occupied Poland, Wilhelm Frick: Minister of the Interior, Hans Fritzsche: Head of the Wireless News Service (radio produced by the Reich), Walther Funk: Minister of Economics, Hermann Goering: Second-in-command to Hitler, Luftwaffe (Air Force) Chief, President of Reichstag, Rudolf Hess: Deputy to Hitler, Nazi Party Leader, Alfred Jodl: Chief of Operations for the German High Command (Army), Ernst Kaltenbrunner: Chief of Security Police, Chief of RSHA (an organization containing, among other things, the Austrian branches of the SS and the Gestapo), Wilhelm Keitel: Chief of Staff of the German High Command, Erich Raeder: Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy (before Doenitz), Alfred Rosenberg: Minister of the Eastern Occupied Territories, Chief Nazi Philosopher, Fritz Sauckel: Head of Slave Labor Recruitment, Hjalmar Schacht: Minister of Economics (pre-war), President of Reichsbank, Arthur Seyss-Inquart: Chancellor of Austria, Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands, Albert Speer: Minister of Armaments and Munitions, Hitler's architect and friend, Julius Streicher: Editor of Der Sturmer (anti-Semitic publication), Konstantin von Neurath: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia, Franz von Papen: Chancellor of Reich before Hitler, Vice Chancellor under Hitler, Ambassador to Turkey, Joachim von Ribbentrop: Foreign Minister, Ambassador to Great Britain, and Baldur von Schirach: Head of the Hitler Youth. Following the first initial trial which sentenced these Major War Criminals, there were 12 additional trials held at Nuremberg. These proceedings, ranging between December 1946 and April 1949, are known as the Subsequent Nuremburg Proceedings and differ from the first trial because they were conducted before U.S. military tribunals rather than the international tribunal that decided the fate of the major Nazi leaders. This was due to the emergent differences among the four Allied powers therefore making it near impossible to hold another joint trail. These proceedings included the Doctors Trial (December 9, 1946-August 20, 1947), in which 23 defendants were accused of crimes against humanity, including medical experiments on...
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