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Justice Robert Jackson explains the trials...

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by brndirt1, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Jul 7, 2008
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    Justice Robert Jackson explains the trials raison d'etre in this statement at the beginning of the Nuremberg trials, the one part of which struck me as particularly telling is included here.

    The German people were not on trial; neither was Germany as a nation (said Jackson: ". . . we have no purpose to incriminate the whole German people"). The case against the 20 men in the dock rested on the prosecution's theory of "individual responsibility" ("Who was responsible for these crimes if they were not?"). This theory in turn rested on the premise that Adolf Hitler, such top Nazis as the dead Heinrich Himmler, the 20 in the dock and some 2,000,000 members of the Nazi Party's "Leadership Corps" (the Gestapo, SA, SS, etc.) had imposed Nazism on 70,000,000 Germans, and then, with the German military's help, had "driven" Germany to war.

    Justice Jackson's remarkable definition of the military defendants' status was enough to make all professional soldiers lie awake nights: "We recognize that to plan warfare is the business of professional soldiers in every country. But it is one thing to plan strategic moves in the event war comes, and it is another thing to plot and intrigue to bring on that war. . . . Military men are not before you because they served their country. They are here because they mastered it, along with these others, and drove it to war. They are not here because they lost the war but because they started it. Politicians may have thought of them as soldiers, but soldiers know they were politicians." (my emphasis)

    ...Said he to his U.S. British, Russian and French colleagues: "The ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars ... is to make statesmen responsible to law. And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law . . . must condemn aggression by any other nation, including those which now sit here in judgment."



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