Opening the Nuremberg Trial: The Moment of November 20, 1945
8 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 3, 2015
On November 20, 1945, the International Military Tribunal (IMT), created by the victorious World War II Allied powers, began criminal trial proceedings in Nuremberg in the Allied-occupied former Germany. This first and only international Nuremberg trial involved twenty-one individual defendants and six organizations that had been leading parts of Nazi Germany’s government and war-waging.
On November 20, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trial, the city of Nuremberg hosted in the trial site, Palace of Justice Courtroom 600, a discussion among three men who worked there during 1945-46. Dr. Yves Beigbeder served as an assistant to French judge Henri Donnedieu de Vabres. Father Moritz Fuchs was the bodyguard of United States Chief of Counsel Robert H. Jackson. Dr. George Sakheim was an interpreter and translator in the Interrogation Division, U.S. Office of Chief of Counsel.
These introductory remarks preceded the panel discussion. I describe some of the dimensions, including military power, political decision making, legal concepts, personalities and logistics, that led the Allies to the Nuremberg courtroom in November 1945.
Keywords: Nuremberg, IMT, Beigbeder, Fuchs, Sakheim, treaties, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Truman, Jackson, London Agreement, Eisenhower, Clay, Betts, Bedell Smith, Dainow
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