Nuremberg Trials Begin

Camryn Teer Benda-1


The Trials took place in Nuremberg, Germany during the years of 1941 and 1945. There was a series of 13 trials. These trials were to prosecute German War Criminals who did cruel things to Jews and tried to take over the world. Many of the criminals committed suicide or turned themselves in before they were caught by the military.

Nuremberg Trials

Nuremberg trials started after World War II ended in Europe. People accused of these crimes were arrested, jailed, and handed over for trial before the International Military Tribunal, which is a special multinational court, with the whole purpose to capture Nazi war criminals. Criminals that got taken in were people that had helped Adolf Hitler, the leader Nazi, put his plan into action or made the Nazi seizure possible. Many people thought that a Nazi should be shot on the spot. Winston Churchill, a prime minister, said that there was no need for trials or courts, and that anyone that helped Hitler should be immediately executed. Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy leader, has been captured by the British in 1941, after flying to Scotland to try to make peace with Germany and Great Britain. Hermann Göring , former chief of Hitler's Air Force, says that “Hitler is my coincidence”, Göring knew that his profile was out there so he gave himself into the American Army on May 9, 1941, one day after Germany surrendered. Soon after Hitler committed suicide, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's voice to German people, and his wife saw nothing worth living without Hitler. So the day after Hitler killed himself Magda poisoned her six children and then Joseph and she popped cyanide capsules in their mouths and died. The international military tribunal had already figured out that the crimes were of crimes against humanity, crimes against war, and aggressive war crimes so the purpose of these trials were to establish the Nazi’s accused of these crimes. In October 1943, the British prime minister and the Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, signed the Moscow declaration, this document stated that of a truce the people responsible for the crimes would be sent back to the countries where they committed these crimes, and would be judged there.

This resulted in 12 death sentences, 8 life sentences in prison and 77 terms of imprisonment. General Telford Taylor became chief prosecutor during what is known as the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials under the office of military government.

Davenport, John. The Nuremberg Trials. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 2006. Print.

Other Things to Know

  1. The Nuremberg Trials were called "the greatest trial in history" by one of the British judges.
  2. Actions that are considered war crimes include actions such as killing or mistreating prisoners of war, killing civilians, bombing cities and towns with no military objective, and killing hostages.
  3. Of the 185 people indicted in the subsequent Nuremberg trials, 12 defendants received death sentences, 8 others were given life in prison and an additional 77 people received prison terms of varying lengths
  4. The decisions and sentences were imposed by a tribunal, rather than a single judge and a jury.
  5. From 1941 to 1943 alone, they murdered more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of disabled persons, and gypsies.


"Nuremberg Trials." A&E Television Networks, Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.

"World War II." For Kids: War Crimes Trials. Feb. 2016. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Nuremberg Trials." Nuremberg Trials. United States History, Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.

Film Footage

This is a video of some key things that happened in the Nuremberg Trials.
Nuremberg Trials Key Moments [Full Resolution]


Arresting people was only the beginning. While trying to decide what to do with the criminals, they sent them to a detention camp. Prisoners of war got released and war criminals faced trial. Eleven criminals were sentenced to death at the trials. On October 15, 1945 at 12:45 Master Sergeant John Woods, the hangman, carried out the sentences. These people made the wrong choice and ultimately paid the highest price.


"The Sentencing and Execution of Nazi War Criminals, 1946." The Sentencing and Execution of Nazi War Criminals, 1946.2004. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.

The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica. "Nurnberg Trials | World War II Trials." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.