Deciding Not to Decide: Nuremberg and the Ambiguous History of the Tu Quoque Defense
24 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2009 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: January 1, 2009
Tu Quoque forged its historic legacy during the Nuremberg Tribunal following World War II when German Admiral Karl Doenitz used it as a defense to deflect war crime charges brought against him. By raising the Tu Quoque defense, Doenitz argued that he should be acquitted because other leaders and nations also committed the same crimes. Although many scholars note the Tu Quoque defense's importance, its history has largely been ignored. Using original court documents and personal papers from the Nuremberg Tribunal collection archived at Cornell University, this essay argues that the Tu Quoque defense's history is far from clear and that this ambiguous history clouds its legacy.
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