Transcript of radio broadcast: Life in the United States began to return to normal. Soldiers began to come home and find peacetime jobs. Industry stopped producing war equipment and began to produce goods that made peacetime life pleasant.
Joseph Stalinthe Soviet leader, initially proposed the execution of 50, toGerman staff officers. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill discussed the possibility of summary execution execution without a trial of high-ranking Nazis, but was persuaded by American leaders that a criminal trial would be more effective.
Among other advantages, criminal proceedings would require documentation of the crimes charged against the defendants and prevent later accusations that the defendants had been condemned without evidence. There were many legal and procedural difficulties to overcome in setting up the Nuremberg trials.
First, there was no precedent for an international trial of war criminals. There were earlier instances of prosecution for war crimes, such as the execution of Confederate army officer Henry Wirz for his maltreatment of Union prisoners of war during the American Civil War ; and the courts-martial held by Turkey in to punish those responsible for the Armenian genocide of However, these were trials conducted according to the laws of a single nation rather than, as in the case of the Nuremberg trials, a group of four powers France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.
Among other things, the charter defined three categories of crimes: It was determined that civilian officials as well as military officers could be accused of war crimes. The city of Nuremberg also known as Nurnberg in the German state of Bavaria was selected as the location for the trials because its Palace of Justice was relatively undamaged by the war and included a large prison area.
The format of the trial was a mix of legal traditions: There were prosecutors and defense attorneys according to British and American law, but the decisions and sentences were imposed by a tribunal panel of judges rather than a single judge and a jury.
The chief American prosecutor was Robert H. Jacksonan associate justice of the U. Each of the four Allied powers supplied two judges—a main judge and an alternate.
One of the indicted men was deemed medically unfit to stand trial, while a second man killed himself before the trial began.
Hitler and two of his top associates, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbelshad each committed suicide in the spring of before they could be brought to trial. The defendants were allowed to choose their own lawyers, and the most common defense strategy was that the crimes defined in the London Charter were examples of ex post facto law; that is, they were laws that criminalized actions committed before the laws were drafted.
As the accused men and judges spoke four different languages, the trial saw the introduction of a technological innovation taken for granted today: IBM provided the technology and recruited men and women from international telephone exchanges to provide on-the-spot translations through headphones in English, French, German and Russian.
In the end, the international tribunal found all but three of the defendants guilty. Twelve were sentenced to death, one in absentia, and the rest were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life behind bars.
Ten of the condemned were executed by hanging on October 16, These proceedings, lasting from December to Aprilare grouped together as the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings.
They differed from the first trial in that they were conducted before U. The reason for the change was that growing differences among the four Allied powers had made other joint trials impossible.
The subsequent trials were held in the same location at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. These proceedings included the Doctors Trial December 9, August 20,in which 23 defendants were accused of crimes against humanity, including medical experiments on prisoners of war. In the Judges Trial March 5-December 4,16 lawyers and judges were charged with furthering the Nazi plan for racial purity by implementing the eugenics laws of the Third Reich.
Other subsequent trials dealt with German industrialists accused of using slave labor and plundering occupied countries; high-ranking army officers accused of atrocities against prisoners of war; and SS officers accused of violence against concentration camp inmates.
Of the people indicted in the subsequent Nuremberg trials, 12 defendants received death sentences, 8 others were given life in prison and an additional 77 people received prison terms of varying lengths, according to the USHMM. Authorities later reduced a number of the sentences.
Aftermath The Nuremberg trials were controversial even among those who wanted the major criminals punished. Harlan Stonechief justice of the U.
Douglasthen an associate U. Nonetheless, most observers considered the trials a step forward for the establishment of international law.
In addition, the International Military Tribunal supplied a useful precedent for the trials of Japanese war criminals in Tokyo ; the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann ; and the establishment of tribunals for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda World War II was fought between the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) and the Allied Powers (Britain, United States, Soviet Union, France).
Most of the countries in the world were involved in some way. World War II: After the War. Alan Taylor; Japanese invasions during World War II forced the two sides to put most of their struggles aside to fight a common foreign foe -- though they did. Besides bringing war criminals to justice, the Nuremberg and Dachau military tribunals were designed to educate the public, both in Germany and in America, that World War II was "the Good War," the war fought by the American good guys against the German bad guys, who were rotten through and through, from their evil leader right down to the.
The Aftermath of World War II was the beginning of an era defined by the decline of all European colonial empires and the simultaneous rise of two superpowers: the .
American History: Life in the US After World War Two. December 28, Share a program in Special English by the Voice of America. (MUSIC) World War Two ended finally in the summer of.
World War II was a defining event in world history that engulfed the lives of nearly two billion people, but the eastern front affected the outcome of the war to a much greater extent than is commonly remembered in western culture and historical writing.