Set of judicial processes promoted by the victorious nations of World War II against more than 600 leaders, officials and collaborators of Nazi Germany. In this article we will let you know What was the outcome of the Nuremberg trials?
Nuremberg trials are called a set of judicial processes promoted by the victorious nations of World War II against more than 600 leaders, officials and collaborators of Nazi Germany . The defendants were charged for planning and unleashing war, for war crimes and for crimes against humanity.
All the trials were held in the Palace of Justice in the German city of Nuremberg , where in 1935 Hitler had passed the Nuremberg Laws, of a racist and anti-Semitic nature.
The main trial took place between November 20, 1945 and October 1, 1946. It was presided over by the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and composed of 4 judges (a British, a French, a Soviet and an American), according to as established by the London Charter of 1945.
Between 1946 and 1949, 12 additional trials were carried out, during which police chiefs, intelligence service commanders, officials from various ministries, doctors, judges and other officials of the Nazi regime were tried.
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At the Yalta Conference the leaders of the allies had agreed that an international tribunal would try the main Nazi leaders , who were held responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War and for the war crimes committed during the conflict. This resolution was confirmed at the Potsdam Conference, which was held in July 1945.
After the end of the war, the devastation was so great and the war crimes that came to light so heinous that the Allies confirmed the determination that exemplary punishments must be imposed on those responsible for the extermination of millions of human beings.
On August 8, 1945, representatives of the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union signed the London Charter , a document that set out the principles and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials would be governed.
The verdict of the main trial
The verdict of the first trial was published by the court on October 1, 1946 : out of a total of 24 defendants, 12 were sentenced to death by hanging, 3 were acquitted, 3 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 4 were sentenced to various periods from prison. Only two defendants were not tried: one of them because he committed suicide before the start of the trial and the other because he was not considered fit to endure a judicial process.
The sentences and penalties were as follows:
|Bormann, Martin||Hitler’s personal secretary||Guilty||Sentenced to death in absentia|
|Dönitz, Karl||Hitler’s successor after his suicide||Guilty||10 years in prison|
|Frank, Hans||Governor General of occupied Poland||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Frick, Wilhelm||Minister of the Interior||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Fritzsche, Hans||Head of Press and Radio||Acquitted|
|Funk, walther||Economy Minister||Guilty||Life imprisonment|
|Göring, Hermann||Supreme Commander of the Luftwaffe||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Hess, Rudolf||Hitler’s private secretary||Guilty||Life imprisonment|
|Jodl, Alfred||Chief of the Wehrmacht General Staff||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Kaltenbrunner, Ernest||Head of the Gestapo||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Keitel, Wilhelm||Chief of the Wehrmacht High Command||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Krupp, Gustav||Owner of the Krupp armaments factory||Declared “unfit to stand trial”|
|Law, Robert||Head of Organization of the Nazi Party||He committed suicide before the start of the trial|
|Neurath, Konstantin||Protector of Bohemia and Moravia||Guilty||15 years in prison|
|Raeder, Erich||Admiral of the German fleet||Guilty||Life imprisonment|
|Rosenberg, Alfred||Minister of Education||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Sauckel, Fritz||Commissioner General in charge of slave labor||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Schacht, Hjalmar||Economy Minister||Acquitted|
|Schirach, Baldur||Leader of the Hitler Youth||Guilty||20 years in prison|
|SeyssInquart, Arthur||Reich Commissar for the Netherlands||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|Speer, Albert||Minister of Armaments||Guilty||20 years in prison|
|Streicher, Julius||Editor of National Socialist newspapers||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
|von Papen, Franz||Vice Chancellor of the Reich / Ambassador to Austria and Turkey||Acquitted|
|von Ribbentrop, Joachim||External subjects minister||Guilty||Sentenced to death|
The death sentences were carried out on October 16, 1946 , with two exceptions: Göring committed suicide shortly before the date of his execution and Bormann remained missing; later it was learned that he had died during the Battle of Berlin . The other 10 sentenced were hanged, their bodies cremated and the ashes scattered in the Isar river.
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The 7 war criminals sentenced to confinement were sent to Spandau Prison in West Berlin. There they remained until the fulfillment of their sentences. The last of them was Rudolf Hess, who died in prison in 1987.
Among those whom the allies wanted to try but were unable to appear in Nuremberg are:
- SS Captain General Heinrich Himmler , who committed suicide shortly after being detained by a British patrol.
- Josef Mengele , an SS officer and doctor in the Auschwitz concentration camp, who managed to escape from Germany and take refuge in South America. He died in Brazil in 1979.
- Adolf Eichmann , who participated in the organization of the deportation plan for Jews to concentration camps in Eastern Europe. He was captured by American troops, but managed to escape from Germany. Discovered in Buenos Aires by the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, he was kidnapped by the Israeli secret services, tried in Jerusalem, sentenced to death and executed in 1962.
Consequences of the Nuremberg trials
The main consequences of the Nuremberg Trials were as follows:
- The trials gave global visibility to the Jewish Holocaust and all the crimes against humanity carried out by the Nazi regime.
- The classification of crimes carried out by the international military court was valuable information that the United Nations used for the development of international jurisprudence on war crimes and crimes against humanity , as well as for the constitution, as of 1998, of the Permanent International Criminal Court.
- The Nuremberg trials set a valuable precedent: from then on, crimes committed by individuals of a nation in other countries or in one’s own country could be tried by all the affected countries or by the international community.
- The grounds of the judgments of the Nuremberg trials were used for the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , in 1948.