Nuremberg Trials

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I have always wondered the who's whats and why's etc of The Nuremburg Trials and thanks to Peter I finally read the 'simple version' on Wikipedia today
    Nuremberg Trials - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As I scrolled down and read through the who's who I was thinking to myself some of these seem a bit unfair to me.

    Don't get me wrong, I know what the Nazi's did and that some were real 'Bastids' but when I see Donitz 10 years, Raeder Life, Jodl Death and Streicher Death I wonder were they fair?

    I would have thought Raeder would have got less than Donitz for example?

    Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age? (No need to answer that one thanks) :D

    Anyway I bow to your superior knowledge on this subject :)
    James S likes this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew - whether fair or not - i would have saved all that money and just shot the lot of them - try not to forget what they did to most people on the planet at that time - and the people who died -maimed etc - what was NOT fair was that Stalin was allowed to enter Europe for his 40 years of cold war.

    We appear to heading in the same direction once more with the jackanapes crawling out of the woodwork in Iran - Venezuela - Somalia pirates - still Russia behind them !
    James S likes this.
  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Drew - whether fair or not - i would have saved all that money and just shot the lot of them

    The Soviet Union, which had lost millions of its people during the war, wanted the Nazis executed with as little folderol as possible. This was Stalin's position, and it was not one that Winston Churchill was about to waste much energy arguing against; Churchill said that as far as he was concerned, the Nazi leaders could be shot without a trial as soon as they were caught ''and their identity is established.''
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    If we are talking about which sentences were fair and which ones werent consider the fact that Sauckel was executed whilst his Boss, Speer got a jail sentence. Also should Jodl have been executed?
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    If we are talking about which sentences were fair and which ones werent consider the fact that Sauckel was executed whilst his Boss, Speer got a jail sentence. Also should Jodl have been executed?

    This is the sort of debate I was looking for. It just appears to seem strange to me.

    I wonder what penalties the German High Command would have dished out to the Allied Commanders if the shoe was on the other foot.

    For example after watching the first two parts of WW2 Behind Closed Doors I wonder if Stalin dare I say this was any better than the Nazi's?

    Can I just say to keep the record straight I do not subscribe to any ideas on Nazism nor am I sticking up for them. I am just seeking views on whether members think all the sentences fit the crime.

    For Example:

    I still don't get why Donitz's prison term was less than Raeders? From what little I know about both neither seemed to be in the 'Henchmen' catergory and Donitz replaced Raeder after he retired from the Kreigsmarine in 1943. I would say as many Merchantmen would probably agree Donitz struck terror in the Atlantic with his U-Boat campaign and had far more of a impact than Raeder did. It seems the only thing Raeder did of note was plan the invasion of Norway and this is what he was put on trial for.

  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    It is normally always the victors that conduct war Trials when hostilities cease.

    As far as I am aware those sentenced at Nürenberg were complicite with Forced labour policies and Concentration camp Slave Labour, in order to produce the weapons of war required by the German War machine.

    Knowing this to be the case automatically rendered them guilty in the eyes of the world.

    I am sure that the Germans would have held War trials if they had prevailed.

    A friend loaned me a German book, the translated title being Crimes against the Wehrmacht, and was written by a Professor who works for the Bundeswehr.
    It is a book documenting atrocities agains the soldiers on the Eastern front from the very opening days of Barbarossa.

    After reading a couple of chapters I had had enough and it was not reading for the faint hearted.
    All atrocities were documented in the field very much like Katyn and so cannot be dismissed as propoganda.
    Judging by the widespread practice it was evident that the orders came from High.

    As for fair or unfair sentencing, this is a problem that we have to this day!


  7. WotNoChad?

    WotNoChad? Senior Member

    Fair trials, fair sentences IMHO.

    There's a good example of their fairness which I always bring up when someone mentions this, and that's the trial of Otto Skorzeny, albeit at the lesser Dachau Trials, who had F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas stand as a defence witness, backed by a petition from various Commandos demanding to be charged with similar offences should Skorzeny be found guilty.

    It's worth bearing in mind how the bulk of the criticism of the Trials hails from ex-Nazis trying to justify the unspeakable, very similar to the origins of criticism of the Dresden bombings. Today they remain popular themes with neo-nazis, but time has allowed these standpoints to filter down into more moderate popular support.

    All in all these trials were a more civilised route than the one suggested by Churchill, no matter how much I tend to agree with the very simple solution of just shooting them on discovery.
  8. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    In terms of trying to do justice and the nature of the crimes which were being answered for Nuremburg was something of a first.
    Did they get everything "right" - probably not but given the huge nature of the undertaking they didn't do bad.

    In terms of Justice - I would really have to refresh my memeory before sticking my neck out but again most of it was correct.
    Jodl - mixed feelings about his being hanged.
    Kietel - I think he betrayed the German Army and the German people.
    Donitz - I would have to read it up again but as a naval commander he was uncompromising but by the book.
    When his defence referred to the commander of US Subs in the pacific it turned out they conducted the same war Donitz had.
    The Laconia order - given that Hartenstein was attacked his order is understandable up to a point.

    Streicher - I think he was a personality disorder - should have been in care , a few screws missing .

    Speer - With hindsight he knew more than he said and his defence did well to get him off.
    Frank - guilty.
    Kaltenbrunner - not angel I am sure but Heydrich or Himmler would have been the men to have had in the dock.
    A pity both never made it and that HH managed to kill himself.

    As far as shooting them out of hand - whilst I can understand the emotion behind it making them answer for what they had done did lead to what those who murdered in the Balkans in more recent times are now doing.

    Although the process may not have been perfect it gave justice to men who had denied it out of hand to so many, the first time a national goverment had gone on trial - and what they had to answer for - when you shake it down it was as complex as it was twisted and evil.
    Fair to say we are still finding out and revising just what they did and how they did it.
    Must try and read up on the trial again .
  9. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    They got a chance of a day in court, which is more than most of their victims had, with plenty of witnesses to see that a legal process was followed. Were the sentences the right ones in every case? I doubt it, but the same could be said for court cases before that and since.

    The trials also stopped the Soviets doing what they had done to their own people in the purges and sumarily shot everyone on the faintest of evidence, if that. If they had managed that we would probably be seen by the people some countries, and maybe some of our own, as being just as bad as they were. That wouldn't have been a good thing and Europe would have taken a lot longer to have some serious wounds heal.
  10. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    The court also set a standard for evidence - the Soviets would have had their evidence just as accepted as being right - " we said they did it , so they did it" - Katyn Wood being one example.
  11. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Thanks, I now have the site on my favourites list, then I can look at it whenever I like.


  13. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I don't think fairness enters into it. The fact is that all of those evil men and women knew of the murder of civilians on a gigantic scale in about 200???? concentration camps. The world was a cleaner place after the trials,
  14. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    I don't think fairness enters into it. The fact is that all of those evil men and women knew of the murder of civilians on a gigantic scale in about 200???? concentration camps. The world was a cleaner place after the trials,

    Knowing about something and not doing something about it in a regime that would sho no mercy to those who stood against it, isn't neccessarily a crime. Fear was a tool used by the Nazi Party as it was by the Soviets and by dictators throughout history. We supported the Soviets and they were arguably as bad.

    You may be of the opinion that the world was a cleaner place, but there were many who did not stand trial, while some of the less significant 'pawns' ended up on the end of a rope. Cleaner? Maybe. Fair? Maybe. The best possible outcome? A matter of opinion.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers ...Interesting views.

    Any views as to why Raeder got far more years than Donitz?
  16. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Raeder was involved in the proposed taking of Norway and had advocated for it , Donitz was flag officer U-boats and was probably less involved in the planning of the war at a higher level.
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers James,

    I know Donitz had a great defence (Nimitz was doing it in the Pacific) but I would have thought The U-Boat actions etc were deemed far worse than the invasion of Norway if not atleast the same.

    I suppose its more to do with Sovreign Territory being invaded.
  18. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Cheers ...Interesting views.

    Any views as to why Raeder got far more years than Donitz?

    Doenitz said he got 10 years - the minimum sentence for not guilty.

    He only met the asymetrical corporal on a few occasions, was not a member of his party, got no help at all from intelligence, very little help with air cover. I reckon if he had been a Nazi, we would have been in more trouble, he would have been given all that he requested to do the job.

    U-boats, the only thing that really worried Churchill.
    von Poop likes this.
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I take back my support of Donitz in this thread. I've just watched a documentary called 'Hitler's Henchmen: Donitz'. He was a real chopper in the last years of the war. They even had a few old U-Boat men slagging him off and as far as I was aware he was adored by sailors. This obviously wasn't the case.

    I now think he was quite lucky to get off so lightly at Nuremburg.

    Cheers and a humble apology if I offended anyone.
  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I would think that by now, most forum members would know that Tom, Brian & I usually sing from the same song sheet.

    Not surprising when you take our mutual WW2 backgrounds but I would go further and say that virtually every survivor of WW2 was in favour of the Nuremberg Trials and applauded the just verdicts passed down by the court.

    As always, in hindsight one can say "They should have done this or they could have done that"

    I'm afraid you have to have lived through those times, as we did, to come to a measured opininion of what was required of the ruling powers.

    The trials were held on behalf of the millions of all nationalities and creeds who were slaughtered without any trial whatsoever

    Nuremberg trials fair ?

    Yes Sir !

    Ron Goldstein

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