…the late war crimes trials…. [lead us] to the conclusion that any method of warfare is justifiable if it brings victory. One must dissent from the view that this is progress.


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 quotes 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.



Lieutenant General A. D. Bruce, U.S.A., LL.D.

Chancellor of the University of Houston

Commanding General, 77th Division, Pacific, World War II

Andrew Bruce
Andrew Davis Bruce (September 14, 1894 – July 28, 1969) was an American academic and soldier who served as the third president of the University of Houston. He retired from the United States Army in 1954 as a lieutenant general after seeing action in both World War I and World War II and founding Fort Hood. Three countries, France, the Philippines, and the United States, awarded him service medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army’s second highest military decoration. Bruce is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.


“History repeated itself after the Second World War. In fact, the demand for revenge was far greater, due to the even greater scale of the war in part, but due more to the politically revolutionary character which the struggle took in many areas. There was undeniably a breakdown in the observance of traditional rules of warfare, particularly with regard to civilian populations. It was thought immediately after the end of hostilities that the measures complained of had been largely resorted to by the Axis powers, but subsequent information indicates that certain of our principal allies were guilty of equal or worse excesses. Also, it is doubtless true that new weapons and tactics made observance of the traditional rules difficult, especially where air or submarine warfare was involved.

The circumstances that had prevented proceedings against individual soldiers and statesmen of the defeated countries were absent at the conclusion of the Second World War. The major Allied powers yielded to the pressure of certain of their citizens and instituted a program of proceedings after criminal trials. In order to justify such proceedings, they evolved many new theories of ‘law.’ The soundness of such theories from the technical viewpoint of the lawyer was doubtful, and the wisdom of the program from the standpoint of the statesman appeared even more doubtful. Considerable criticism from responsible opinion was heard at the time, and the events of subsequent years have tended to confirm this criticism.

The Nuremberg trials contravened the Magna Carta & the Bill Of Rights extinguishing 700 years of civilized justice in ONE year. For the offense of “being opposed to Zionism and Communism”. Source: U.S. Attorney George W. Armstrong.


The Nuremberg trials, which were the best known and may be taken as typical, grouped the alleged crimes of the defendants into four categories: (a) Waging aggressive war, (b) Conspiracy to wage aggressive war, (c) Crimes against humanity, and (d) Violations of the laws of war. The first two are closely related, differing as to technicalities of proof. They both assume that there is such a thing as ‘aggressive’ war which can be legally distinguished from other kinds of war. Of the four categories, only the last had any substance under international law as it had generally been understood prior to the time of the trials.

Prosecutions for violations of the laws of war represented the major exception to the principle that an individual would not be held legally responsible for consequences of military operations in which he was engaged. Such prosecutions can be justified for the reason that all major powers had accepted in principle the existence of such rules, and most had subscribed to multilateral treaties such as the Geneva Convention setting them out in detail. The rules, could as a result, be regarded as a portion of the domestic law of the countries concerned. An officer or soldier violating them, or ordering his subordinates to violate them, could thus be considered to have violated the laws of his own country.

The prosecutions were carried out, and various persons were condemned to death or imprisonment. They have duly suffered the infliction of the penalties adjudged. Emotions have somewhat cooled on the issue in the intervening period. It remains to consider whether the precedent is a sound and desirable one. It is the viewpoint of the writer that the answer should be ‘no’. The grounds for this view are numerous.

First, the precedent cannot do other than gravely handicap the process of ending any war and the restoration of international peace and friendship. Formerly, a government engaged in a losing war had every motive to make peace on terms at the earliest possible moment. Under the new rules, however, the strongest possible motive exists for continuing the war to the bitter end. Substantial numbers of the population may find themselves subject to trial and branded as criminals by the occupying forces. (Entire organizations, it should be remembered, were condemned at Nuremberg). The officers of government who must actually make the decisions, being the likeliest candidates for the noose, are those with the strongest reasons for continuing the struggle.

Secondly, it is impossible as a practical matter to secure an impartial tribunal. Nationals of the victorious powers cannot and will not do other than reflect the positions of their governments as to the true versions of facts and as to the proper law. It is also impossible to avoid the effect of ex post facto law. Since the proceedings can be depended on to lack these basic elements of any civilized system of criminal law, it is unlikely that the vanquished nations or even fair-minded elements of the victor nations will come to accept them as representing justice.

Thirdly, it places an impossible burden of the government and on the higher military officers of a warring state. It is their duty to do all in their power to win. It is also their duty to obey their lawful superiors. They are rightly subject to punishment in this respect. To impose on them liability for carrying out an order which an enemy tribunal may later adjudge unlawful is to punish them for doing what may and probably will appear at the time to be the duty they have sworn to do.

Finally, to engage in measures which, however cloaked in legality, are in fact no more than vengeance and reprisal is to promote the breakdown of the rules which have in recent centuries governed the conduct of warfare among civilized states, and to reinstate the law of the jungle. As a practical matter, the late war crimes trials will be taken by those involved in warfare as establishing only the principle that many of those on the losing side will suffer death or imprisonment. That leads to the thought that one had better not lose, which in turn leads to the conclusion that any method of warfare is justifiable if it brings victory. One must dissent from the view that this is progress.

The conclusion drawn is, therefore, that the result of the program for the trial of ‘war criminals’ was not to advance the cause of civilization or the elimination of warfare among nations, but instead to increase the probability of unlimited warfare and to raise problems of a sort not yet fully apparent.”


From 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.

Layout 1
Establishment historians characterize National Socialist Germany as a uniquely barbaric, vile and criminal regime that was totally responsible for starting World War II and carrying out some of the most heinous war crimes in world history. Germany’s War by John Wear refutes this characterization of Germany, bringing history into accord with the facts. Discover more about Germany’s War and purchasing options here.