The Justice Of Nuremberg Essay

2163 words - 9 pages

It was 10:00 A.M. on November 20, 1945. World War II was over. Chief Judge Geoffrey Lawrence of the United Kingdom read the indictments out loud. The International Military Tribunal of Nazi War Criminals had started. The defendants entered their pleas: all “not-guilty”. This trial could possibly have been the most important trial in American history. It was going to set the course for war crimes forever after it. There were four countries prosecuting: the U.S, the U.K, the USSR, and France. It was important that even during war, when some governments have collapsed, the world has a stable international judicial system.
The Nuremberg Trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany in the Palace of Justice. The trial was originally supposed to be in Berlin, but there was no prison there and the city was ruined from the attack Russia launched on it (Jewish Virtual Library). Berlin was the capital of Germany, so it was an ideal place to have a trial of Nazi criminals. Another reason that it was supposed to be in Berlin was that one of the countries that were prosecuting the criminals, the former USSR, had taken Berlin single-handedly and was proud that they had (Jewish Virtual Library). Russia was reluctant, but the trial was executed in Nuremberg instead of Berlin. Out of all of the other cities in Germany, the IMT chose Nuremberg because annual Nazi Rallies were held there and was the center of Nazi ideas (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law). Another reason that it was held in the Palace of Justice was because that is where the Nuremberg Laws were passed. The Nuremberg Laws were a series of laws that the Nazis made to decrease the Jewish population in 1935 (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law). Germans were not allowed to have sexual relations with Jews and the Jews were cut out of political activities such as voting or holding office. They also broadened the requirements to be considered a “Jew”. If someone had three of four Jewish grandparents, they were considered a Jew. In the trial, these acts were targeted and the committers punished for.
In the Nuremberg Trial, the Allied forces indicted Nazi war criminals on four counts. Indictments are what someone is accused of in court. Count One was Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War, meaning that those who were indicted on this count were planning to start World War II (Smith). This count, presented by the U.S, was led by Chief Justice Robert Jackson (Nuremberg Trial). Count Two was Waging Aggressive War, or Crimes against Peace, meaning that those who were indicted on this count started World War II aggressively (Smith). This count was presented by the U.K, which was led by Sir Hartley Shawcross (Nuremberg Trial). Count Three was War Crimes, which were things such as slave labor, unjust treatment of prisoners, and using outlawed weapons (Smith). Count Four was Crimes against Humanity, which consisted of the unspeakable crimes committed in the concentration camps, such as the gas...

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