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The Nuremberg Trials. The End of WWII What next? ChurchillStalin De GaulleTruman Already decided at the Teheran Conference in Nov 1943. Procedures set.

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Presentation on theme: "The Nuremberg Trials. The End of WWII What next? ChurchillStalin De GaulleTruman Already decided at the Teheran Conference in Nov 1943. Procedures set."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Nuremberg Trials

2 The End of WWII

3 What next? ChurchillStalin De GaulleTruman Already decided at the Teheran Conference in Nov Procedures set out by London Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Aug 1945): “To [bring to] trial and punish the major war criminals of the Axis countries…”

4 Why? Needed to make an example of Nazi leaders for a variety of reasons: 1. Atrocities part of govt policy, not just individuals. 2. Ensure the German people knew what had happened. 3. Hope that the example made would ensure no further repeats. 4. Give the United Nations a reputation for morals.

5 The Nuremberg Trials The Nuremberg Trials was the name given to a series of trials that prosecuted prominent members of the political, economic & military leadership of Nazi Germany. One major & twelve subsequent trials. Only Germans were prosecuted. Why? -Russia was one of the Big Three Allies -Italy had ended the war as an Allied nation -Japan dealt with separately -They lost!

6 The Nuremberg Trials The first Trials began October 18, 1945 with defendants charged with one or more of the following: I. Conspiracy or participation in a common plan to commit crimes against peace. II. Crimes against peace (planning, initiating & waging wars of aggression) III. War crimes IV. Crimes against humanity The Charter stated that holding an official position was no defence to war crimes. Obedience to orders could only be considered in regards to mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determined that justice so required.

7 (Some of) The Accused Goring Jodl Speer Hess Von PapenKrupp Bormann Kaltenbrunner

8 Results SHORT TERM: It saw the death and incarceration of 21 German major war criminals LONG TERM: It set the precedent in International Law for crimes against humanity Julius Streicher Nuremberg Trials: Defendants in their dock. The main target of the prosecution was Hermann Göring (left on the first row), considered to be the most important surviving official in the Third Reich after Hitler's death.

9 The Legitimacy of the Trials History is about winners, not about losers. History is about assessing distortions, not copying out truths. History has much to say about the way the powerful handle power, for power endangers records. History is about evidence, and evidence flagrantly distorts. There is a bias between winners and losers. History is hopeless on love, but excellent on hatred. Such a state of things may not please all, but then history was never meant to please. History Extension Source Book of Readings (NSW Board of Studies)

10 What gave the trials legitimacy? Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender Hague (1899 & 1907) & Geneva (1925) Conventions on the conduct of warfare Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928 Punishments varied according to guilt. The Legitimacy of the Trials

11 What made the trials illegitimate? Article 3: ‘Neither the Tribunal, its members or their alternates can be challenged by the prosecution or by any of the defendants, at any time.’ Article 16A: ‘During any preliminary examination or trial of a defendant, he will have the right to give any explanation relevant to the charges made against him but he cannot make an appeal.’ Article 19: ‘The tribunal shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence. The tribunal may admit any evidence which it deems to be of probative value…’ Article 26: ‘The judgments of the Tribunal shall be final and are not subject to any future review.’

12 The Legitimacy of the Trials What made the trials illegitimate? Crimes defined after they were committed ‘Victor’s justice’ Same rules did not apply to Allies (eg. Nazi-Soviet Pact, bombing of Germany, Katyn, etc) – therefore, double standards


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