In the aftermath of World War Two, the Allies sought to bring the aggressors to justice. How did the surviving Nazi leaders give account for their actions? Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial is a BBC documentary film series consisting of three one-hour films that re-enact the Nuremberg War Trials of Albert Speer, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess. They were broadcast on BBC Two in 2006 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the trials.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial - Nuremberg trials - Netflix
The Nuremberg trials (German: Die Nürnberger Prozesse) were a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war after World War II. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law. The first and best known set of these trials were those of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). They were described as “the greatest trial in history” by Norman Birkett, one of the British judges who presided over them. Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 24 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich – though the proceedings of Martin Bormann was tried in absentia, while another, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial's commencement. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Hans Krebs and Joseph Goebbels had all committed suicide in the spring of 1945 to avoid capture, though Himmler was captured before his suicide. Krebs and Burgdorf committed suicide two days after Hitler in the same place. Reinhard Heydrich had been assassinated by Czech partisans in 1942, so he was not included. Josef Terboven killed himself with dynamite in Norway in 1945. Adolf Eichmann fled to Argentina to avoid Allied capture, but was captured by Israel's intelligence service the Mossad and hanged in 1962. Hermann Göring was sentenced to death but committed suicide the night before his execution as a perceived act of defiance against his captors. Miklós Horthy appeared as a witness at the Ministries trial held in Nuremberg in 1948. This article primarily deals with the first set of trials conducted by the IMT. A second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT), which included the Doctors' trial and the Judges' Trial. The typification of the crimes and the constitution of the court represented a juridical advance that would be used afterwards by the United Nations for the development of a specific international jurisprudence in matters of war crime, crimes against humanity, war of aggression, as well as for the creation of the International Criminal Court.
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial - Creation of the courts - Netflix
On 20 April 1942, representatives from the nine countries occupied by Germany met in London to draft the “Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes”. At the meetings in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), the three major wartime powers, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union, agreed on the format of punishment for those responsible for war crimes during World War II. France was also awarded a place on the tribunal. The legal basis for the trial was established by the London Charter, which was agreed upon by the four so-called Great Powers on 8 August 1945, and which restricted the trial to “punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries” Some 200 German war crimes defendants were tried at Nuremberg, and 1,600 others were tried under the traditional channels of military justice. The legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court was that defined by the Instrument of Surrender of Germany. Political authority for Germany had been transferred to the Allied Control Council which, having sovereign power over Germany, could choose to punish violations of international law and the laws of war. Because the court was limited to violations of the laws of war, it did not have jurisdiction over crimes that took place before the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939.
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial - References - Netflix