When the war ended, the highest ranking surviving German officials were put on trial for the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.
A military tribunal from around the world gathered in Nuremberg, Germany to hear their case. The hearing of 22 major Nazi criminals was presided over by judges from the Allied powers (Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States).
Twelve more trials were held in Nuremberg afterward, this time of prominent German civilian and military figures as well as prominent doctors and businessmen.
At the Nuremberg trials, those accused faced charges for crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit any of these.
One Hundred Ninety-Nine Defendants Were Tried At Nuremberg;
sixteen one were found guilty; thirty seven were sentenced to death; twelve of those tried by the IMT were among the 12.
Some trials dealt with Holocaust-related crimes, but only the US trial of Einsatzgruppen leaders made that topic its primary focus.
In most cases, the defendants admitted that the crimes for which they were being prosecuted actually occurred, but insisted that someone else entirely was to blame.
There was a notable absence at the trials of the Nazi leader most responsible for the Holocaust. Several of Adolf Hitler’s top aides, including himself, committed suicide in the waning days of the war.
Numerous other criminals went unpunished for lack of evidence. Some people left Germany for a better life elsewhere, with hundreds relocating to the United States alone.
Nazis were still being tried in courts all over the world, including Germany. Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal gave information to war crimes prosecutors about Adolf Eichmann.
Eichmann, who assisted in the deportation of millions of Jews, was tried in an Israeli court. Worldwide attention was paid to the testimonies of hundreds of witnesses, including many survivors. In 1962, after he was found guilty, Eichmann was put to death.
Dates to Remember
The Date Of August 8, 1945
During The London Conference, The Charter Of The International Military Tribunal (IMT) Was Unveiled.
U.S., U.K., French, and Soviet Union judges make up the IMT (International Military Tribunal). According to Article 6 of the IMT’s Charter, the highest-ranking Nazi officials will be indicted and tried in Nuremberg, Germany, for the following offenses:
- Conspiracy to commit charges 2, 3, and 4;
- crimes against peace, defined as participation in the planning and waging of a war of aggression in violation of numerous international treaties;
- war crimes, defined as violations of the internationally agreed upon rules for waging war; and
- crimes against humanity.
The Sixth Of October, 1945
Prominent Nazi Officials Were Charged With War Crimes.
Indictments against 24 top Nazi officials are handed down by IMT chief prosecutors Robert H. Jackson (USA), Francois de Menthon (FR), Roman A.
Rudenko (RU), and Sir Hartley Shawcross (GB). A number of high-ranking Nazi officials, including Hermann Göring (Hitler’s former deputy), Rudolf Hess (Nazi Party deputy leader), Joachim von Ribbentrop (foreign minister),
Wilhelm Keitel (head of the armed forces), Wilhelm Frick (minister of the interior), Ernst Kaltenbrunner (head of security forces),
Hans Frank (governor-general of occupied Poland), Konstantin von Neurath (governor of (commissioner for the occupied Netherlands).
The trial of Hitler’s deputy, Martin Bormann, will take place without him physically present.
Opinions At Nuremberg
The decisions of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) are now public. Twelve defendants (including Göring, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Sauckel, Jodl, Seyss-Inquart, and Bormann) are given the death penalty.
There are three people who have been given life sentences (Hess, economics minister Walther Funk, and Raeder). Four of them get between 10 and 20 years in jail (Doenitz, Schirach, Speer, and Neurath).
Three defendants, Hjalmar Schacht (the economics minister), Franz von Papen (a German politician who played a key role in Hitler’s appointment as chancellor), and Hans Fritzsche, are found not guilty by the court (head of press and radio).
Executions were to take place on October 16, 1946, but only four people actually were put to death because Göring committed suicide and Adolf Bormann disappeared.
The remaining ten defendants are also executed by hanging, and their ashes are scattered in the Isar. Berlin’s Spandau Prison is where seven major war criminals are remanded after serving their prison terms.