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THE Nuremberg Trials Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 29 March 2017

THE Nuremberg Trials

Section 1: Introduction


     Importance of Study


Section 2: Presentation and Analysis of Data

     (a) The Need for Gaining Justice: Holocaust’s History

     (b) The Victims to Whom Justice Must be Rendered

Section 3: Topic Summary

Section 4: End Notes


The Nuremberg Trial

Section 1: Introduction

     Holocaust had been a great mark in the pages of human history. Understandably, the ones who were involved within the situation as the victims certainly need to realize the fact that they are given the justice that they primarily deserve. Justice is one particular thing that could at least ease the pain of the family members of the victims if not the victims themselves of the said historical event. The establishment of the legalities of the matter through the Nuremberg trials actually notes the possible ways by which the said victims could be given the justice that they deserve.


     The need for justice is an evident right of all human beings. Understandably, through the Nuremberg trials, this particular right of the victimized individuals during the Nazi regime shall be given attention through legal measures and investigations and punishment for those who have been found guilty of the massive human death that happened during the holocaust.

Importance of Study

     Understanding history and knowing that whatever injustices happened back then are given the chance to be straightened out later on through legal terms gives the society a better vision on the strength of legal institutions to take careful hold of upholding the idealisms of human rights. This gives the entire human society a better view of how the legal system works and how justice is applied even upon those who were powerful in government office. Justice served through careful investigation and rightful punishment stand as the proof of the strength of the legal systems to imply rightful justice for the victims of any war era which would rather give relief to those who were victimized as well as to their family members whom they may have left if they unfortunately died during the said dreadful events in the past.


     To be able to garner the rightful foundation of the discussion that shall be presented herein, the researcher is to use the history of holocaust as a primary basis as to how the Nuremberg trial developed towards the aim of finding the right people who are supposed to answer for the deaths of many people during World War II. Later on, the discussion on the proceedings with which the idea of setting up a Nuremberg Trial shall also be given explanation thus giving a clear discussion on how the said system of justice and punishment works and how it particularly gave the martyrs and the victims a sense of justice from all the dreadful things that they have experienced during the Second World War.

Section 2: Presentation and Analysis of Data

(a) The Need for Gaining Justice: Holocaust’s History

HOLOCAUST—what does it mean? According to some dictionaries, it was the genocidal slaughter of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II. This could easily give the impression that only Jews suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. Yet, are justice and truth served in having “Holocaust” apply only to the Jewish victims of the Nazi era?

Writer Richard Lukas states: “The word Holocaust suggests to most people the tragedy the Jews experienced under the Germans during World War II. From a psychological point of view, it is understandable why Jews today prefer that the term refer exclusively to the Jewish experience . . . Yet, by excluding others from inclusion in the Holocaust, the horrors that Poles, other Slavs, and Gypsies endured at the hands of the Nazis are often ignored, if not forgotten.”

Lukas also states: “To them [the historians], the Holocaust was unique to the Jews, and they therefore have had little or nothing to say about the nine million Gentiles, including three million [Gentile] Poles, who also perished in the greatest tragedy the world has ever known.”

When Hitler’s armies invaded Poland in September 1939, they were under orders to carry out Hitler’s policy of obtaining Lebensraum, living space, for the German people. As Richard Lukas states: “To the Nazis, the Poles were Untermenschen (subhumans) who occupied a land which was part of the Lebensraum (living space) coveted by the superior German race.” Thus, Hitler authorized his troops to kill “without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” (Rule of Law, Internet)

September 1939 started a relentless horror for the Polish people. Hitler had stated: “The war is to be a war of annihilation.” Hitler’s henchman Heinrich Himmler declared: “All Poles will disappear from the world. . . . It is essential that the great German people should consider it as a major task to destroy all Poles.” Thus, the Holocaust was not aimed at just Polish Jews; it was aimed at “all Poles.”

“Terror was applied in all occupied countries. . . . But in Poland everyone was subject to such brutality, and mass executions based on the principle of collective guilt were far more frequent, because every Pole, regardless of age, sex, or health, was a member of a condemned nation—condemned by the policy-makers in the Nazi party and government,” states Catherine Leach, translator of the Polish book Values and Violence in Auschwitz. She states that Himmler viewed the Poles as a lower race to be kept in serfdom.

“Even after Poland’s surrender [September 28, 1939], the Wehrmacht [German army] continued to take seriously Hitler’s admonition of August 22, 1939, when he authorized killing ‘without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language.’” How could the German army and the SS be motivated to such pitiless murder? By being saturated with the teaching of the supremacy of the Aryan race and the inferiority of all others. Thus, as Lukas states in The Forgotten Holocaust: “The Nazi theory of colonial empire in Poland was based on the denial of humanity to the Poles whom, next to the Jews, Hitler hated the most.”

In his introduction to the book Commandant of Auschwitz, Lord Russell of Liverpool said: “During the war probably not less than twelve million men, women, and children from the invaded and occupied territories were done to death by the Germans. At a conservative estimate, eight million of them perished in concentration camps. Of these, not less than five million were Jews. . . . The real number, however, will never be known.” On the basis of these figures alone, at least seven million victims were not Jews.

Another testimony is that of Catherine Leach, who writes: “Poland was the first country to be subjected to Hitler’s ‘negative demographic policy,’ whose purpose was to prepare the vast territories in ‘The East’ for German resettlement, and Poland suffered the greatest losses in life of all the occupied countries—220 per 1000 inhabitants. Polish sources state that no less than 6,028,000 Polish citizens . . . lost their lives.” Of these, 3,200,000 were Jews. That means that nearly 50% of the Polish dead were non-Jews. (Conquest, 1990, 92)

Indisputably, there has been a “Forgotten Holocaust” of millions of non-Jewish victims, mainly of Slavic origin. These include the millions of Russians slaughtered by the Nazis. Those Russians had no choice (Conquest, 1990, 92). By reason of Nazi racial doctrine, they were inexorably condemned to death. Yet, these statistics fail to take into account the thousands of non-Jewish Germans who also suffered as victims of the Holocaust for daring to oppose Hitler and his racist supremacy philosophy. Among these were thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to collaborate in Hitler’s militaristic pretensions (Conquest, 1990, 92). Yes, sprinkled across Germany and the Nazi-occupied countries were thousands of people who made a deliberate choice that led to the concentration camps and to death for many as martyrs.

(b) The Victims to Whom Justice Must be Rendered

WHY make a distinction between victims and martyrs? Because all those who suffered as a result of the Holocaust were victims, but only a minority were truly martyrs in the strict sense of the word. What is the difference (Bauer, 1972, 1300). A victim is “someone who is put to death or subjected to torture or suffering by another.” Victims usually have no choice. A martyr is “one who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles” or “one who sacrifices something very important to him in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) Thus, the victim is usually involuntary, while the martyr is voluntary.

In a conference on the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, Dr. Gordon Zahn, University of Massachusetts, defined the Nazis’ victims under three headings: (1) those who suffered for what they were—Jews, Slavs, Gypsies; (2) those who suffered for what they did—homosexuals, political activists, and resisters; (3) and those who suffered for what they refused to do—conscientious objectors. Millions of Jews suffered and died simply because they were Jews in the ethnic sense. It mattered not to Hitler’s henchmen whether they were Orthodox or atheistic Jews (Shnayerson, 1996, 132). They were condemned to the “final solution,” or extermination, as Hitler’s method of ridding Europe of all Jews was called. Likewise, the Slavs, who for Hitler’s crusade were mainly the Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians, were condemned just for being Slavic, ‘an inferior race’ in comparison to the “supreme” Aryan stock.

The existence of the major victims of the history of holocaust primarily shouts out towards the legal systems at present to be able to gain the justice that they believe they deserve as primary receivers of the hideous situations of those times. This is the reason why the introduction of the Nuremberg trials actually answers this particular need, not only to give justice to the people who were directly affected by the said history but also to clarify the names who are really involved with the said situation in the past. In connection with the Nuremberg (Germany) trial of Nazi war criminals after World War II, the Nuremberg Law that was followed was this: “Patriotic obedience in crime does not establish innocence.”

   The development of the Nuremberg trials started during the end of the Second World War when the victims of the Nazi regime began to cry out for the justice that they ought to receive. Having the people responsible for what has happened back then was believed to be a great relief to the depression that such victims felt after the war years. Their recovery of the dreadful experiences that they have dealt with during the war years is the utmost concern of such proceedings.

Moreover, the said trial tries to identify the culprits behind the holocaust murder to give a statement that such acts of inhumane treatment deserves to be punished and shall never be overlooked by the legal systems established by the alliance of the different nations from then until the present days. It was primarily the symbol of the beginning of the recognition of human rights that is supposed to mark the minds of those who are still planning to do the same thing as Hitler himself did along with his comrades.

Section 3: Topic Summary

     History would be history, but the indications of truth that it leaves the human civilization are reactive up until the present years of human living. The Nuremberg Trial remains to be among the huge indications that history actually impacts the legal systems until the current generations of human civilization.

Likely, this system of historical impact in the legal systems does more than just address the needs of war victims. It also developed a more systematic process of which the human rights would be safeguarded even during war situations in case they would occur. This particular part of history is indeed a primary reason why it is important to turn one’s back to the past and learn something from what has happened before to have things run smoothly at present for everyone living in the human society.

Section 4: End Notes

# John Crossland Churchill: execute Hitler without trial in The Sunday Times, January 1, 2006

# ^ Tehran Conference: Tripartite Dinner Meeting November 29, 1943 Soviet Embassy, 8:30 PM

# Judgement : The Law Relating to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity contained in the Avalon Project archive at Yale Law School. “but by 1939 these rules laid down in the [Hague] Convention [of 1907] were recognized by all civilized nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war”

# ^Trial of Otto Skorzeny and Others, General Military Government Court of the U.S. Zone of Germany, 18 August to 9 September 1947.


# Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror A Reassessment London: Oxford University Press, 1990 page 92.

# Bauer, Eddy. The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of World War II Volume 22 New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation 1972 page 3071.

# Robert Shnayerson. Judgment at Nuremberg: Fifty years ago the trial of Nazi war criminals ended: the world had witnessed the rule of law invoked to punish unspeakable atrocities. From Smithsonian magazine, October 1996, pp. 124–141. 1996.

# The Rule of Law. http://law.wustl.edu/alumni/magazine/spring2002/01_rule_of_law.pdf. (June 29, 2008).

# Trial of Otto Skorzeny and Others, General Military Government Court of the U.S. Zone of Germany, 18 August to 9 September 1947.

(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

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