Nuremberg Trials

bringing war criminals to justice

what were the Nuremberg Trials

Held for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, the Nuremberg trials were a series of 13 trials carried out in Nuremberg, Germany, between 1945 and 1949. The defendants, who included Nazi Party officials and high-ranking military officers along with German industrialists, lawyers and doctors, were indicted on such charges as crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) committed suicide and was never brought to trial.

Who was there

Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 23 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich, though one of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, while another, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial's commencement.

Not included were Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, all of whom had committed suicide in the spring of 1945, well before the indictment was signed.

PBS American Experience & The Nuremberg Trials

How did it end

Lots of SS and other German senior military officers were condemned to death. Many were subsequently executed, others reprieved but sentenced to long terms in prisons around the world, and some managed to escape to places like Central and South America. The Israeli military were very efficient at catching many of the escapees and remain today, fully organized to check on proffered information about others remaining on their lists.
The tribunals were mutually controlled by the UK, America and Russia. Criminal law judges were provided by all three nations.
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Time Line

click to see a full time line of the Nuremberg Trials