The Nuremberg Trials are some of the most famous war crimes trials in history. The Allied powers recognized that when World War II was over, German leaders needed to be held accountable for their actions that led to the war and their conduct throughout it. The verdicts of the Nazi Nuremberg Trials are below.
At the Moscow Conference in 1943, Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin signed the Declaration of Atrocities. This document outlined the steps the allies would take to handle the many Nazi war crimes being reported at the time.
In the days before Germany’s capitulation in May 1945, president Harry Truman named Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert H Jackson as the US representative for chief prosecutor of the proposed trials. Jackson helped the allies to agree to the terms set forth in the London Charter.
This charter created the International Military Tribunal (IMT) upon which each of the four allied nations (US, UK, France, USSR) appointed a prosecution team and judges for the trials. The location chosen was Nuremberg, Germany, a city well known for its Nazi rallies before the war.
The Nazi Nuremberg Trials: Verdicts and Results
For the initial trial, 24 Nazi government officials and leaders were indicted. Unfortunately many top Nazi officials (including Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels) committed suicide at war end, and thus did not stand trial.
The trial itself was shocking. It was here where the world truly learned the full extent of the Nazi atrocities (including the Holocaust victims) as evidence was presented. The trial lasted 10 months before the judges made their decision.
Ultimately of the 24 men on trial, 12 were sentenced to death, 7 to varying lengths of prison sentences, 3 were acquitted and 2 were given no decision. One of the no decisions was given to Robert Ley (head of the German Labor Front) who committed suicide the day before the trial began.
The Nuremberg trials were a groundbreaking moment in history. Without it, modern international and UN courts may not ever have been conceived.
Source: National World War II Museum