Fifteen years ago on Nov 20, the eyes of the entire world were focused on the Palace of Justice in the picturesque German city of Nuremberg.
GV Palace of Justice in Nuremberg
LV INT..Nazi leaders seated in dock
SCU From left to right..Goering, Hess Ribbentrop and behind Doenitz, Raider
SV Seated in back row..Frank, Frick, Streicher, and behind, Jodl, von Papen, and Seyss-Inquart
TV Nazi leaders and guards
STV Nazi leaders stand as Judges enter Court
SV SOF.."Attention Tribunal"..Justice Birkett, Justice Lawrence, Francis Biddle and John J. Parker walk to Judges seats
LV Judges seated
GV Justice Jackson walks to microphone in centre of Courtroom
SV SOF..Jackson speaks: "The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a great responsibility. The realms that we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilisation cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated."
CU SOF..Jackson continues.."This inquest represents the practical effort of four of the most mighty of Nations with the support of fifteen more to utilize international law to meet the greatest menace of our time."
GV Nazi leaders
SCU Raider, Baldur von Schirach
GV SOF..Goering addresses the Court, defending himself in German (translation).."Before I answer the question of the Court, if I am guilty or not guilty.." Judge replies: "I inform the Court that defendants were not entitled to make a statement, you must plead guilty or not guilty"..Goering replies: "Not guilty" and returns to seat. Judge Lawrence calls upon Rudolf Hess, Hess walks to microphone and says: "No". Judge says: "That will be entered as a plea of not guilty"
SV Court officials make notes
SCU Ribbentrop walks to mike and pleads not guilty
GV Nazi leaders during trial
"The privilege of opening the first trial in history....................the greatest menace of out time."
Goering address the Court, defending himself, speaks in German, (translation).."Before I answer the question of the Court, if I am guilty or not guilty"...Judge replies.."I inform the Court that defendants were not entitled to make a statement, you must plead guilty or not guilty" Goering replies "Not Guilty" and returns to seat. Judge Lawrence calls upon Rudolf Hess, Hess walks to microphone and says: "No" Judge says: "That will be entered as a plea of not guilty".
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Background: Fifteen years ago on Nov 20, the eyes of the entire world were focused on the Palace of Justice in the picturesque German city of Nuremberg.
Just five months after world war two had ended, twenty-one former leaders of the German Third Reich were on trial for their lives, indicted on four counts: (1) The Common Plan or Conspiracy: (2) Crimes against Peace: (3) War Crimes: (4) Crimes against Humanity.
Among them were Hermann Goering, former Reich Marshal and Chief of the Luftwaffe: Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuehrer until his 1941 flight to Britain: Joachim von Ribbentrop, former Foreign Minister: Admiral Karl Doenitz, Commander in Chief of the Navy, and Chancellor after Hitler's 1945 death: Admiral Erich Raider, Navy Commander in Chief 1928-1943: Hans Frank, Nazi Governor-General of Poland: Wilhelm Frick, former Minister of Interior: Julius Streicher, the infamous Jew-baiter: Alfred Jodl, chief of Army Operations Staff: Franz von Papen, former Chancellor and special envoy to Austria: and Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Austrian Minister and Reich Commissioner for occupied Netherlands.
Distinguished Judges on the Tribunal included Mr Justice Birkett, and Tribunal President Lord Justice Lawrence of Great Britain: Mr Francis Biddle and Judge John Parker of the U.S.A.: Professor Donnedieu de Vabres and M. Robert Falco of France: and Major General I.T. Nikichenko and Lt. Colonel A.F. Volkchov of the U.S.S.R.
Destined to go on for ten months, the trial was ironically being held in a city where the twenty-five year old Nazi party held its annual rallies.
American Judge John Jackson opened the trial:
An indictment of 24,000 words was read to the accused, who listened over headphones to the translation, and then pleaded not guilty.
Next to Admiral Raider sat Baldur von Schirach, leader of the Hitler Youth and Gauleiter of Vienna.
Hermann Goering, when asked to plead, began what was obviously to be a long speech. Sharply told he was not allowed to make a statement, he pleaded not guilty. Later found guilty on all four counts and sentenced to death, Goering was to cheat the hangman by poisoning himself in his prison cell.
Joachim von Ribbentrop was also found guilty on all four counts, and was hanged along with ten others on Oct 16.1945.
Within an hour on Oct 1,1946, Lord Justice Lawrence passed sentence of death on twelve, three others were imprisoned for life, and four condemned to terms of ten to twenty years imprisonment. Three were acquitted - Hjalmar Schacht: Franz von Papen: and Hans Fritsche. Martin Borman was sentenced to death in absentia.
So ended a regime responsible for thirty million deaths in world war two. Twelve millions of this figure were done to death to satisfy monstrous racial theories of the Nazis.