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.
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.
Source: Halow, Joseph, Innocent at Dachau, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1992, p. 324.