Nuremberg Trials Research Paper

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“The guilt of such individuals is so black that they fall outside… any judicial process” (Overy Making Justice). This was said by Anthony Eden, Britain’s foreign secretary, in 1942. He was talking about Nazis and major Axis leaders. In 1946, however, major war criminals did fall into a judicial process: The Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Trials were a series of 13 trials that occurred during the years that followed World War II. The goal of these trials was to punish and convict major war criminals fairly, in hopes of avoiding future wars. The execution of the trials lacked proper conduct and whether or not the trials were legal was debatable. Many criticized or praised the trials. Although some parts of the Nuremberg trials were illegal,…show more content…
Of the four, ‘war crimes’ was the most legitimate. The Allied judges and prosecutors built on the Geneva Conventions and Hague Rules as evidence against Nazi actions during World War Two. According to Cornell Law, “the Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are otherwise rendered hors de combat, or incapable of fighting” (Geneva Conventions). The Hague Rules were rules established in 1907 during the Hague Conventions and also were a series of international treaties. With these, the Allies could conclude that major war crimes could include murdering and/or torturing of prisoners or civilians during war, taking over private property, and unnecessary destruction of land/cities. These ‘rules’ of war were explicitly laid out. “Crimes against humanity,” however, were ideas made by the tribunal, not previously or explicitly stated on an international level. These were based on actions seen by Axis powers during the war that exceeded the criteria of ‘war crimes.’ These included ‘murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts’ (Bard 82). ‘Crimes against peace’ can include ‘declaration of war upon another state; invasion by its armed forces.... attack by its land naval or air forces…’ (Bard 63). The “conspiracy to wage…show more content…
Some parts of the trials were illegal, yet most of the trials followed basic legal conduct. Many criticised or praised the first Nuremberg trials after 1946. Charles E. Wyzanski was a federal judge from the U.S. He shared his doubts on the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, but admitted he was wrong after the trials had ended. He grew more faithful after seeing how they were conducted, but had a piece of advice to improve the trials. He said that they could benefit from a neutral party to eliminate the bias of the trials (Bard 67-75). Benjamin B. Ferencz, an American lawyer who was the chief prosecutor at another Nazi war trial, believed that the rights of the accused were protected at the Nuremberg trials and therefore the trials were fair. He pointed out that the defendants at the trials had the right to chose their own lawyers. The trials were also completely open, making it impossible for anyone to accuse the Allies of displaying improper and illegal behavior during the trials. The fact that three of the accused were acquitted furthermore shows the fairness of the trials (Bard 88-96). The Americans, as stated before, wanted to ensure the trial was fair and that they weren’t just acts of vengeance. To do this, they had to find hard evidence that specifically proved the Nazis on trial were
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