After Germany’s defeat in WWII, the Nuremberg and later trials were organized primarily for political purposes rather than to dispense impartial justice. Wears War brings to you each week a quote from the many fine men and women who were openly appalled by the trials. All of these people were highly respected and prominent in their field, at least until they spoke out against the trials.
Michael Francis Doyle, LL.D., International lawyer and Papal Chamberlain Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, President, Electoral College of the U.S., 1945-1949:
“I regard the Nuremberg ‘war crimes trials’ as one of the worst reflections upon enlightened leadership in world affairs as ever has been known. These trials by victor nations were for the purpose of punishing those of the opposite military forces for simply performing their duty which common honor required to be done. The trials really were a disgrace upon all who participated therein. Having no sympathy whatever with the defendants in their military objectives, yet I respected their duty to obey the orders issued to them by their country and its leaders. It is especially regretted that our country participated in the prosecution. It is hoped that such a situation will never be repeated. It is a stigma on American ideas of justice. As a former member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, I am deeply interested in the cause of peace. Peace can never be advanced by such methods as were developed during these alleged trials. Peace can only be made permanent under Law and not in defiance of Law.”
Joseph Halow, U.S. Court Reporter at the Dachau War Crimes Trial, writes:
As I began to understand, I saw that the self-righteousness of the Allied war crimes effort bred hypocrisy—and injustice. There were neither trials nor punishments for such atrocities by the victors as the (Anglo-American) bombing of Dresden or the (Soviet) massacre of thousands of Polish officers at Katyn—in fact, the Allies tried at Nuremberg to pin the latter crimes on the Germans!
Nor, in the half-century since the war, has there been any but the slightest application of the novel (and ex post facto) legal constructs introduced at Nuremberg. “Aggressive wars” and “crimes against humanity” flourish around the globe as heartily as ever, undeterred by the “Nuremberg principles.” National leaders continue to give their bellicose orders, and their soldiers continue to obey them, in disregard of future war crimes trials.
If anything lingers from the postwar trials, at Dachau and elsewhere, it is the propaganda version of the war, and especially the concentration camps, which has long ruled the mass media and academia in the Western world, the former Communist block, and—no less—the German nation itself.
Now, many years after the hysteria of World War II should have subsided, it is finally becoming easier to state that the wartime injustices of the vanquished were only compounded by duplicating their methods in bringing them to “justice.” The world is, furthermore, growing tired of hearing of the atrocities, whether real or unreal, ascribed to Germany during World War II, and is perhaps ready to hear of the atrocities inflicted on, rather than by, the Germans.
U.S. Attorney George W. Armstrong:
Twenty-four Nazi leaders and seven Nazi organizations were indicted, viz: Reich Cabinet, Leadership Corp of the Nazi party, S.S., S. D., Gestapo, S. A. and the General staff and high command of the German armed forces. The indictment which exceeded 23,000 words in length was signed by Robert H. Jackson, et al…
It was in fact a Zionist trial prosecuted by pro-Zionist attorneys before a pro-Zionist Court against the defendants, for the offense of being opposed to Zionism and communism…
The Judges made the law, prescribed the penalty, and enforced it. If it is to serve as a precedent for the future, it means that the officers of the defeated in war must be punished. Ex post facto law is prohibited by the British Magna Carta as well as by our Bill of Rights. It is contrary to justice and our Christian civilization. The mass trial was contrary to every principle of law and justice and Christian civilization. There is no precedent except the [Communist] Russian purge trials.
Paul Rassinier, a member of the French resistance and survivor of Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps during World War II, wrote in regard to estimates of Jewish losses at the Nuremberg trial:
The mechanism of this operation, which is so crude that it stares you in the face and which is found in all of the figuring of all of these people, is quite simple: in 1945, during the post-war turmoil, the Jewish communities of every country were supposedly invited to state very quickly what their losses had been so that Justice Jackson could take them into account in his speech for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trial where such figures were prefaced with the expression: “it is estimated in full cognizance….”
It was another one of the machiavellianisms of Nuremberg that every time that the prosecution brought forth an accusation for which they would not or could not give the source they used the expression “in full cognizance” or “from an assured source”—that was generally the case when the source was Jewish—and it was up to the accused to prove their innocence. At Nuremberg it was not up to the prosecution to prove guilt since the Allies recognized early that their adherence to the Anglo-American jurisprudential presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” would deny them the “convictions” which they sought.
Many defenders of the Holocaust story maintain that the 42-volume Trial of the Major War Criminals (The Blue Series) supplies a massive compilation of damning evidence against Germany’s National Socialist regime. In his book Made in Russia: The Holocaust, Carlos Porter confronts the evidence directly by reproducing page after page from the Blue Series. Porter shows that many of the charges made at Nuremberg are so bizarre that most defenders of the Holocaust story have long since let them lapse. In addition to killing Jews in homicidal gas chambers, the Germans at Nuremberg were accused of:
–building special electrical appliances to zap inmates to death with mass electrical shocks;
–killing 20,000 Jews in a village near Auschwitz with an atomic bomb;
–forcing prisoners to climb trees and then killing the prisoners by cutting down the trees;
–killing 840,000 Russian prisoners at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp using a pedal-driven brain-bashing machine, and then burning the bodies in four mobile crematories;
–torturing and executing people at the Yanov camp in Russia in time to music created by a special orchestra selected from among the prisoners, and then shooting every member of the orchestra;
—grinding the bones of 200 people at one time as described in documents and photographs that have disappeared;
—making lampshades, handbags, driving gloves for SS officers, book bindings, saddles, house slippers, etc. out of human skin;
–killing prisoners and concentration camp inmates for everything from having soiled underwear to having armpit hair; and
—steaming people to death like lobsters in steam chambers at Treblinka.
After this incredible survey of Nuremberg atrocity evidence, Carlos Porter provides numerous examples of improper prosecution tactics at Nuremberg. The defendants at Nuremberg were rarely able to confront their accusers, since affidavits from witnesses who had been deposed months before sufficed. The prosecution made it difficult for the defense lawyers to have timely access to the documents introduced into evidence by the prosecution. Also, photocopies and transcripts were usually submitted into evidence instead of the original German documents, which in many cases seemed to have disappeared. Finally, the defense had access only to those documents which the prosecution considered material to the case. The defense had no right to review the tons of remaining documents that might help them defend their clients.
U.S. historian David L. Hoggan, Ph.D.:
A mysterious event which took place on the same day as the German-Polish minority pact has furnished ideal subject matter for professional propagandists. Hitler addressed a conference attended by some of his advisers, but without the majority of his Cabinet. The narrow circle included Defense Minister Werner von Blomberg, Army Commander Werner von Fritsch, Navy Commander Erich Raeder, Air Force Commander Hermann Goering, and Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath. Colonel Hossbach, an officer of the German General Staff assigned by the General Staff for liaison work with Hitler, was also present. This man was in no sense Hitler’s personal adjutant, although this idea has persisted in many accounts.
The so-called Hossbach version of the conference, which is supposed to have become one of the most celebrated documents of all time, was written several days after the event, and it could carry no weight in a normal court of law, even if an actual copy of this memorandum was available. Hossbach had been an opponent of Hitler and his system since 1934, and he was not adverse to the employment of illegal and revolutionary means in eliminating Hitler. He was an ardent admirer of General Ludwig Beck, the German Chief of Staff, whose life he had once helped to save on the occasion of a cavalry accident. Beck was a determined foe of Hitler, and he was engaged in organizing opposition against the German Chancellor. Hossbach was naturally on the alert to provide Beck with every possible kind of propaganda material. Hitler was popular in Germany, and only extreme methods might be effective in opposing him.
It would be the duty of every historian to treat the so-called Hossbach memorandum with reserve, even if it could be shown that the version introduced at Nuremberg was an authentic copy of the memorandum which Hossbach began to write on November 10, 1937 (he failed to recall later when he completed his effort). The fact is, however, that no copies of this original version have been located since World War II. The version introduced by the American Prosecution at Nuremberg, the only one extant, was said to be a copy made from the original version in late 1943 or early 1944, but Hossbach declared in a notarized affidavit on June 18, 1946, that he could not remember whether or not the Nuremberg copy corresponded to the original which he had made nearly nine years earlier. In other words, the sensational document, which was the primary instrument used in securing the conviction and execution of a number of Germany’s top leaders, has never been verified, and there is no reason to assume that it is authentic. Raeder explained that Hitler’s views, as expressed on November 5, 1937, offered no basis to conclude that any change in German foreign policy was about to take place, but the judges at Nuremberg, with the dubious help of an unconfirmed record, decided that Hitler had revealed unmistakably his unalterable intention to wage a war of criminal aggression.
Fritsch and Blomberg were dead when this conference was investigated after World War II, but Neurath and Goering agreed with Raeder about the essential nature of Hitler’s remarks. Hitler had discussed German aspirations in Central Europe and the danger of war, but this was certainly a very different thing than announcing an intention to pursue a reckless foreign policy or to seek a war. Even the alleged Hossbach memorandum introduced at Nuremberg, as A.J.P. Taylor has pointed out, does not anticipate any of the actual events which followed in Europe during 1938 and 1939. It does contain some offensive and belligerent ideas, but it outlines no specific actions, and it establishes no timetables. Hence, error had been added to error. It was false to assume that the document was authentic in the first place, and it was incorrect to assume that even the fraudulent document contained any damaging evidence against Hitler and the other German leaders. Unfortunately, most of the later historians in Germany and elsewhere have blindly followed the Nuremberg judgment and have arrived at the mistaken conclusion that Hitler’s conference of November 5, 1937, was relevant to the effort of determining the responsibility for World War II.
“The conduct of the American judges at Nuremberg was, to say the very least, of the most questionable propriety. One of the judges, Francis Biddle, reveals in his article on Nuremberg in American Heritage, Vol. XIII, No. 5, August, 1962, that the U.S. judges knowingly permitted the Soviet prosecutor to admit false evidence against the defendants (page 70). Further, Justice Jackson hosted a party for visiting Andrei Vishinsky (notorious Soviet prosecutor in the bloody Soviet purges), at which party the American judges joined in a toast by Vishinsky, ‘To the German prisoners, may they all be hanged!’ (page 71). By any ethical standards of any bar association in the western world, such ‘judges’ should have been disqualified and themselves charged. Further, these ‘judges’ acquiesced in arbitrary and ever-changing ‘rules of evidence,’ accepting written depositions against prisoners charged with capital crimes, thus denying them the right of cross-examination. Section IV, paragraph (e) of the London Agreement of Aug. 8, 1945, provided that, ‘A defendant shall have the right through himself or through his counsel to present evidence at the Trial in support of his defense, and to cross-examine any witness called by the Prosecution.’ ”
The Editor’s Introduction, on page XIII of the book Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal edited by H. K. Thompson, Jr. and Henry Strutz, 2nd edition, Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993.
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