German historian Udo Walendy writes: what any Holocaust denier and Nazi apologist would…
…and so the boys at Wearswar carry out a copy and paste job on the book of Udo Walendy.
Well…if copy and paste is acceptable in denier land, then I feel I may respond likewise.
On completion of the Nuremberg trials, work was done on the effects of the trials and the possible problems regarding the perception of the trials, especially in Germany. The following examples come directly from The Final Report of the Nuremberg Trials.
“The documents and testimony of the Nuremberg record can be of the greatest value in showing the Germans the truth about the recent past, quite apart from the judgments and sentences pronounced on individual defendants. The judgments, and the principles of law on which they were based, must obviously be considered in a world setting, and not in a purely German context. There is little chance that the judgements and principles of Nuremberg will be of much benefit in Germany if they fail to win more than lip-service in the world at large. The fact that the judges who composed the Nuremberg tribunals were citizens of one of the victorious powers has been much commented upon. In fact, there was no practicable alternative, and I do not regard this as a serious defect in the Nuremberg process from the standpoint either of theoretical jurisprudence or of intrinsic fairness. It is, however, a circumstance which the Germans are not likely to overlook. Unless the United States and the other governments who participated in the Nuremberg process seriously endeavor to establish a permanent international penal jurisdiction, and to take such other steps as are feasible to enforce the Nuremberg principles, whether by prevention or punishment, it will be inevitable that the Germans will conclude that Nuremberg was “for Germans only.”
As to the length of the trials:
Whatever else may be said about Nuremberg, it has not been a hasty process, nor have its judgments been rendered without prior deliberation so lengthy that the trials were commonly criticized in the press as too long rather than too short.
As to accusations that defendants were punished for “the preparatory planning of a campaign by a General Staff officer or the supplying of arms by a contractor” as Walendy claims, this is not actually true:
“Some people, unfamiliar with the Nuremberg record, continue to imagine that the German diplomats were punished for drafting notes, the generals for preparing military plans or leading armies in battle, and the business men for engaging in war production. The Nuremberg record itself will dispel these illusions, and the only real problem is how to make people generally aware of its actual contents.”
As regards legal issues:
Despite the absence of any international statutes, it cannot be seriously urged that the defendants at Nuremberg did not know that the acts charged against them were wrongful, or that there was any element sf surprise or other unfairness in bringing them to book. As for the problem of the “victors and the vanquished,” experience with the Leipzig trials after the first World War offered a compelling rejoinder to those few who urged that war criminals should be remitted to trial and punishment by their own governments. More frequently, perhaps, it has been suggested that the tribunals should have been composed of representatives of the neutral nations; but these proposals were generally, and it is believed, rightly disregarded as unrealistic, if only because the number of truly “neutral” countries was so small that this solution would have proved entirely unfeasible. Indeed, in retrospect it appears to the writer that the highest possible degree of “fairness” was achieved by virtue of the very circumstance that the judges were acutely aware of their position as citizens of a victorious power.
So here is how the trials actually functioned:
- The practice was to serve the indictments on the defendants in the presence of the Marshal of the Tribunals and officials of the Defense Information Center, who simultaneously ascertained the wishes of the defendants with respect to counsel, and offered general advice and assistance.
- Ordinance No. 7 provided (Art. IV) that “a reasonable time” should elapse between service of the indictment and commencement of the trial, and the tribunals by rule (Rule 4) prescribed that this period should be not less than 30 days. As matters
worked out, the period was usually considerably longer than 30 days and gave the defendants ample time and opportunity to select counsel and embark upon the preparation of their defense.
- During this period, too, the defendants were formally arraigned before the Tribunal, which recorded their pleas of “not guilty” (in fact they were invariably “not guilty”), and ascertained that each defendant had had opportunity to read the indictment and had procured counsel.
- Often other procedural matters were taken up before the Tribunal at the conclusion of the arraignment, and customarily the prosecution at that time agreed to make available to defense counsel most of the documents which the prosecution planned to offer in evidence in support of its affirmative case. A large proportion of these
documents were usually turned over to the defense soon after the arraignment, and the balance as soon as it was administratively feasible.
As to the structure of the trial:
- The trials began with an opening statement on behalf of the prosecution which undertook to outline comprehensively the nature of the evidence in support of the charges in the indictment, with numerous illustrative quotations from the documents to be offered.
- The prosecution proceeded to offer the evidence in support of the charges. The documents to be offered were assembled in “document books,” in each (or each series) of which the documents relating to a particular subject or defendant were collected. In offering each document, prosecution counsel would briefly describe it and state the purpose for which it was offered.
- Most of the documents in the books had been in the hands of defense counsel for some time, and copies of each document book had been given them a day or more prior to its offer in court.
- If defense counsel wished to challenge the authenticity or relevancy of a document or correct the translation, they would make their objections or comments at the time the document in question was offered. However, if they wished to controvert the import of the documents by other evidence, they were required to wait until the presentation of the defense case.
- During the prosecution’s direct case, its witnesses were also heard. As a rule, they were not numerous. In some cases, testimony was offered by the prosecution in the form of affidavits, and these were usually accepted by the tribunals subject to the right of the defense to cross examine the affiants if they so desired.
- At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case in chief, the defense usually requested a long recess for further preparation of their own case in chief, and the tribunals customarily ordered a somewhat shorter recess than that asked for, varying, according to the circumstances, from 2 to 6 weeks.
- At the conclusion of the defense case, the prosecution had an opportunity to present rebuttal testimony and documents, which required only a few days at most. Thereafter (usually following a recess of a week or more) the closing arguments for both prosecution and defense were presented.
This final excerpt sums up the situation regarding the Law:
On evidentiary questions and other similar matters, the general nature of the Nuremberg procedure was a blend of continental and common law practice. Thus, as is usual in continental law, hearsay was much more freely admitted than in comon law trials, and the defendants were permitted to make statements not under oath and not subject to cross-examination. But numerous fundamental doctrines and practices of Anglo-Saxon criminal law-such as the presumption of innocence, the rule that a defendant must be found innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the practice that it is primarily the advocate’s responsibility and not that of the tribunal to elicit testimony froim witnesses-were applied at Nuremberg, and in general it may be said that the practice was more similar to that of the common law than continental law. Procedural and evidentiary rules were debated and determined as they arose, and rapidly a genuine “international procedure” was developed, which will well repay examination and exposition in published form.
It appears we have yet more sour grapes from the Wear camp.