Read Hitler's Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg by Valerie Genevieve Hebert Online

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By prosecuting war crimes, the Nuremberg trials sought to educate West Germans about their criminal past, provoke their total rejection of Nazism, and convert them to democracy. More than all of the other Nuremberg proceedings, the High Command Case against fourteen of Hitler's generals embraced these goals, since the charges--the murder of POWs, the terrorizing of civiliaBy prosecuting war crimes, the Nuremberg trials sought to educate West Germans about their criminal past, provoke their total rejection of Nazism, and convert them to democracy. More than all of the other Nuremberg proceedings, the High Command Case against fourteen of Hitler's generals embraced these goals, since the charges--the murder of POWs, the terrorizing of civilians, the extermination of Jews--also implicated the 20 million ordinary Germans who had served in the military. This trial was the true test of Nuremberg's potential to inspire national reflection on Nazi crime.Its importance notwithstanding, the High Command Case has been largely neglected by historians. Valerie Hebert's study--the only book in English on the subject--draws extensively on the voluminous trial records to reconstruct these proceedings in full: prosecution and defense strategies; evidence for and against the defendants and the military in general; the intricacies of the judgment; and the complex legal issues raised, such as the defense of superior orders, military necessity, and command responsibility. Crucially, she also examines the West German reaction to the trial and the intense debate over its fairness and legitimacy, ignited by the sentencing of soldiers who were seen by the public as having honorably defended their country.Hebert argues that the High Command Trial was itself a success, producing eleven guilty verdicts along with an incontrovertible record of the German military's crimes. But, viewing the trial from beyond the courtroom, she also contends that it made no lasting imprint on the German public's consciousness. And because the United States was eager to secure West Germany as an ally in the Cold War, American officials eventually consented to parole and clemency programs for all of the convicted officers, so that by the late 1950s not one remained imprisoned.Superbly researched and impeccably told, Hitler's Generals on Trial addresses fundamental questions concerning the meaning of justice after atrocity and genocide, the moral imperative of punishment for these crimes, the link between justice and memory, and the relevance of the Nuremberg trials for transitional justice processes today. Inasmuch as these trials coined the vocabulary of modern international criminal law and set an agenda for transitional justice that remains in place today, Hebert's book marks a major contribution to military and legal history....

Title : Hitler's Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg
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ISBN : 9780700616985
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 362 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Hitler's Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg Reviews

  • Relstuart
    2019-04-02 06:20

    Fascinating book on the trial of the high command Generals from the National Socialist German period under Hitler. The book's focus is more on the trial and the aims of the trial than on any of the individuals on trial or prosecuting the trial. There is a chapter on the three judges with a focus on the head judge. Interesting how many of the judges were from state supreme courts. Just a few notes from highlights I made while reading: German General Hoth wrote about peace vs war as Hitler held meetings about beginning the war and noted that it would be a crime as ready as Germany was not to go to war. He noted that the laws of nature (science) supported their decision to begin WWII (Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest and how species are better thru struggle that eliminates the weak). One of the biggest, if not THE biggest error of the Americans made was failing to act on their goal of using the trials as an educational effort to let the common German people know about the terrible thing the National Socialist party was responsible for causing with their Final Solution (the holocaust). The trial records from the many trials were not published or made available to the German people. So the average person had newspaper stories, propaganda from the USA along with people who did not believe what the US was saying. When reports arose about American misbehavior it made it challenging to accept everything America was saying the Germans were responsible for. The Catholic and protestant churches began to support many of the people convicted at trial and argue that many of them were just following orders and that anything evil done on their watch was because of the nature of war rather than being an actual crime. Because the Americans failed to make their case to the German people and be transparent about what happened they lost a generation that ended up not believing the trials gave those convicted by them a fair shake. It wasn't until their children became adults into the 80s and 90s that the majority of the German culture began to accept the crimes that were levied against the German high command. Americans cared deeply about German opinion, indeed they commissioned 72 major surveys over four years to measure German attitudes to things like the occupation, economic and education reform, disposition of displaced persons, rationing, and the war crime trials. Toward the end of the trials observers noted a steep decline in interest in the trials. And, along with this more people responding that National Socialism was a good idea badly carried out. I wonder if the USA has been closely monitoring such things in Iraq and Afghanistan in relation to trials of captured fighters/terrorists. "Justice will surely fail in the absence of governmental commitment to support the verdicts and re-enforce the lessons they contain. Translation of trial documents, outreach to the public, and a time frame extending past the reading of the judgments are fundamental to any such project." (page 201). There is a good section towards the end of the book about the purpose of justice and what needs to happen to accomplish it. "For the criminal, who never saw his action in their moral dimension, punishment is imposed "in order to that the crime becomes a moral reality for the criminal - in order that he be swept into the truth of his atrocity." (page 203) "...the core lessons didactic trials aim to impart: that the world takes notice of and reject mass crime, that the perpetrator must confront the moral implications of his actions, that a victim's worth will be honored, and that society remembers the offense. The processes of didactic trials further serve educational efforts by gathering and interpreting evidence that clarifies the historical record. They make public that which is privately mourned and irrefutable that which is maliciously denied.... All of this is lost without the "declarative finality" of punishment. It is punishment that gives a trial the capacity to serve the ends of history, memory, and justice." (from page 203). The final 100+ pages of this book is made up of notes and appendix addendums.