Nuremberg, located in the center of Germany, was an epicenter of Nazi propaganda and ideals. Many Nazi ideas were assimilated and passed as laws in the Nuremberg rallies and Nazi party conventions held annually from 1933 to 1938.
Significance Of Nuremberg In The Nazi Era
The rally of 1933 was named “Rally of Victory” to commemorate the Nazi party’s complete control over Germany wherein Hitler announced that all the rallies would be held in Nuremberg henceforth. All subsequent rallies had a name such as “Rally of Unity and Strength” and “Rally of Freedom”. The resultant ‘Nuremberg laws’ became the major tools for the passage of racist and anti-Jew laws. These laws revoked German citizenship for so-called non-Aryans and Jews, restricted marriage and extramarital affairs between Germans and Jews, restricted employment in a Jewish household and so on. Two prominent law, namely “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour” and “Reich Citizenship Law” were passed to enforce these agendas.
Nuremberg also housed major military garrison, military production units, and concentration camps. It was the leading site for the construction of submarines, aircraft, and guns. It also had a sub-camp of the infamous Flossenbürg concentration camp. The camps housed Jews and prisoners for inhuman slavery work and systematic genocide.
Nuremberg saw significant war actions during the allied invasion. The air raids and ground invasion destroyed 90 percent of the city infrastructure. Civilian casualty rose up to six thousand, and the majority of the population became homeless. A determined German resistance also saw major allied casualty, loss to aircraft and allied prisoners of war.
Nuremberg trials, also known as Nuremberg Military Tribunals, were functional between November 1945 to October 1946. Understandably, due to the scale of destruction and human suffering, no allied forces were in two minds on bringing the war criminals to justice. How to serve justice was the only point of difference. Stalin wanted a no-nonsense line-up and firing execution of 50000 to 100000 Germans. Churchill was on a similar page with his proposal of selective execution without a trial.
However, a viewpoint that better precedence is the need of the hour prevailed. Consequently, it led to the creation of the ‘London Charter’ by allied powers, namely the USA, Russia, Britain, and France. The charter formed a legal basis for the prosecution and also restricted the trail to the punishment of major war criminals.
The judges of all four countries presided over the Nuremberg trials where the majority of defense lawyers were Germans. A series of 13 significant trails and subsequent additional trails of 199 defendants led to 161 conviction. The Trail awarded death sentence to Thirty-seven people. The defendants were Nazi army personnel from their various infamous units. The other defendants were doctors, lawyers, and industrialists, who aided the Nazi crime machine.
Legacy Of The Trails
Nuremberg trial left a lasting legacy in terms of international laws governing crime against humanity and other criminal jurisdiction. It is the basis for the creation of the International Court of Justice and a precedent for various other tribunals for trying war criminals.