zaterdag 30 juli 2011
Trial at Nuremberg - U.S. High Commissioner Edition
Initially held from November 1945 to October 1946, the Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces of World War II, set up to prosecute the leadership of Nazi Germany for war crimes. Twenty-two of the most important captured Nazi leaders were tried before the International Military Tribunal in what was known as the Trial of the Major War Criminals. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany at the Palace of Justice. Produced in 1950, this documentary was created as a permanent record of the proceedings, including footage of testimony of witnesses and statements of defendants, attorneys, and judges. The film also features archival footage of Nazi crimes perpetrated during the war and traces the rise of Nazism from the putsch in a Munich beer hall to its fall at Nuremberg. Intended for German audiences with an English soundtrack, this version was created at the behest of the U.S. High Commissioner, John J. McCloy, and remains essential viewing as a reminder of the horrors and crimes against humanity of World War II.
Nuremberg Palace of Justice (germ. Justizpalast) is a building complex in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. It was constructed from 1909 to 1916 and houses the appellate court Nuremberg (Oberlandesgericht), the regional court Nuremberg-Fürth (Landgericht), the local court Nuremberg (Amtsgericht) and the public prosecutor's office Nuremberg-Fürth (Staatsanwaltschaft).
The building was the location of the Nuremberg Trials that were held in 1945-1949 after World War II for the main Nazi Germany personalities presumed to be still alive. Colonel Burton C. Andrus was both the commandant of Nuremberg Prison (where the prisoners were kept) and Military Officer commanding the garrison protecting the Palace. Among the indicted who made their appearance were Hermann Göring (suicide by potassium cyanide), Rudolf Hess (life internment), Franz von Papen (Vice-Chancellor under Hitler, acquitted), Arthur Seyss-Inquart (Austrian Chancellor, Nazi Commissioner, hanged) and Joachim von Ribbentrop (Foreign Minister, hanged). Göring was not hanged as sentenced, but committed suicide by taking a cyanide pill smuggled into his cell. His suicide note stated that "being hanged is not appropriate for a man of [his] status".
The trials took place in courtroom number 600, situated in the eastern wing of the Palace of Justice. The courtroom is still used, especially for murder trials. At the end of the Nuremberg Trials the courtroom was refurbished, and is now smaller. A wall that had been removed during the trials in order to create more space was re-erected. In addition, the judges' bench was turned 90 degrees and is no longer situated in front of the window, but stands where the witness box was placed during the trials.
The Palace of Justice was chosen as the site of the trials because it was almost undamaged, offered a lot of space and included a large prison complex. The city had been the location of the Nazi party's Nuremberg rallies, there was symbolic value in making it the place of the Nazi demise. In addition, the Americans opted for Nuremberg as it was situated within their zone of occupation.
Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, refers to Germany from 1933 to 1945 when it was governed by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), commonly known in English as the Nazi Party (from the German Nazi, abbreviated from the pronunciation of "Nationalsozialist")
On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Although he initially headed a coalition government, he quickly eliminated his government partners. The Nazi regime restored economic prosperity and ended mass unemployment using heavy spending on the military, while suppressing labor unions and strikes. The return of prosperity gave it enormous popularity, and no serious opposition ever emerged (apart from an assassination attempt by aristocrats in the army in 1944). The Gestapo (secret state police) under Heinrich Himmler destroyed the liberal, Socialist and Communist opposition and persecuted the Jews, trying to force them into exile, while taking their property. The Party took control of the courts, local government, and all civic organizations except the Protestant and Catholic churches. All expressions of public opinion were controlled by Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotic speaking. The Nazi state idolized Hitler as its Führer (leader), putting all powers in his hands. Nazi propaganda centered on Hitler and was quite effective in creating what historians called the "Hitler Myth"--that Hitler was all-wise and that any mistakes or failures by others would be corrected when brought to his attention. In fact Hitler had a narrow range of interests and decision making was diffused among overlapping, feuding power centers; on some issues he was passive, simply assenting to pressures from whomever had his ear. All top officials reported to Hitler and followed his basic policies, but they had considerable autonomy on a daily basis.
Hitler's diplomatic strategy in the 1930s was to make seemingly reasonable demands, threatening war if they were not met. When opponents tried to appease him, he accepted the gains that were offered, then went to the next target.