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.
British Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Champion de Crespigny, R.A.F., Allied Military Governor, Schleswig-Holstein, 1946-47:
“[Karl] Doenitz is no more guilty of a war crime than others on our side…The unrestricted submarine warfare directed by Admiral Doenitz against Allied shipping was no more of a crime than Allied mass bombing of German towns and cities…The excuse frequently offered that the towns and cities bombed contained military objectives will not hold water, as it could equally be applied to ships of which all, of any consequence, were making their voyages in furtherance of the Allied war effort…The Nuremberg Court cannot rightly be called a ‘Military Tribunal’ as political considerations were in prominence, to the exclusion of justice…It is my considered opinion that the Nuremberg Trials violated the reputation for justice so long held by the British and American peoples, and that many of the findings contravened our most sacred constitutional principles. It is true to say that when party politics are allowed to influence justice, the latter vanishes, and that is the picture which we see now—years after the event.”[i]
Left: British Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Champion de Crespigny. Right: “During 1941 and 1942 Doenitz’s U-boats nearly won the war for Germany, sinking a large percentage of the allied ships carrying essential supplies to Britain and the Soviet Union… In April 1945 Doenitz became Head of State and proceeded to formalize the surrender of Germany. After the surrender, Doenitz was tried for War Crimes at Nuremberg and was sentenced to ten years for “Planning Aggressive War”, “Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War” and “Crimes Against Peace”, among other false allegations. It should be noted that Admiral Chester Nimitz of the United States Navy testified on Doenitz’s behalf during the Nuremberg Trials.”
[i]Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal edited by H. K. Thompson, Jr. and Henry Strutz, 2nd edition, Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 10.