WITNESS TO HISTORY
THE NUREMBERG 'TRIALS'
".. a libel on the military profession." - Vice Admiral Hewlett Thebaud, USN
"... a fantastic desecration of the ideals of Western Civilisation, and appalling miscarriage of justice... a misuse of evidence for vicious ends, all of which will someday be exposed as a shocking travesty of high legal and moral principles." - Henry M. Adams, Ph.D. Professor of History, University of California
JUSTICE ON TRIAL
The International Tribunal at Nuremberg, set up to pass judgement on the vanquished nations, was neither international nor legal in any accepted sense of these terms.
Most of these 'trials' were arranged independently of other victor nations; Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union along with dictatorships created by the allies, Participation by neutral states or observers was neither invited nor welcomed. Mostly, they were 'military tribunals' such as the American Military Tribunal' which ran 'trials' at Dachau.
The British government set up its own trials, independently of other victor nations so it is difficult to imagine why or how such charades could ever be described as being international in nature. The U.S Supreme Court on December, 20th, 1948, washed its hands of U.S Government responsibility when it stated: "We are satisfied that the Tribunal sentencing these prisoners is not a tribunal of the United States."
"Then why, one might ask, were U.S. citizens and government officials serving as prosecutors and judges, and why has the U.S. Government participated in and endorsed an alien tribunal which does not accord to defendants the same rights which American defendants would receive before U.S. courts at home?" - H.K Thompson and Henry Strutz,M.A. Doenitz at Nuremberg: A re-Appraisal. N.Y., 1976
"The Nuremberg process in itself was not a judicial process, but an act of vengeance against the defeated. Nuremberg was particularly profaned by the fact that the Russians were among the judges and themselves guilty of many crimes and atrocities . . . Being a jurist myself, and a Christian, I abhor the justice of Nuremberg." - Most Reverend. Bishop Vincentas Brizgys, Bishop of Lithuania
"I think the world expected us to give proof of American legal principles and judicial practice by using them when dealing with our defeated enemies. Instead of this, Gestapo and MVD methods were used.
"I have heard evidence and read documentary proofs to the effect that the accused persons were beaten up, maltreated and physically tortured by methods which could only be conceived by sick brains. They were subjected to mock trials and pretended executions, they were told that their families would be deprived of their ration cards. All these things were carried out with the approval of the Public Prosecutor to secure the psychological atmosphere necessary for the extortion of the required confessions. If the United States lets such acts committed by a few people go unpunished, then the whole world can rightly criticize us severely and forever doubt the correctness of our motives and our moral integrity." - Senator McCarthy, American Press, May 20th 1949
At the Dachau U.S Military Tribunals, interrogators poised as priests to extract confessions. The American judge, Edward L. Van Roden, one of the three members of an American Army Commission set up to investigate claims of maltreatment found:
"Posturing as priests to hear confessions and give absolution; torture with burning matches driven under the prisoners' fingernails; knocking out of teeth and breaking jaws; solitary confinement and near-starvation rations. The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four, and five months . . .
"the investigators would put a black hood over the head of the accused and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him and beat him with rubber hoses . . .
"all but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was standard operation procedure with our American investigators."
"Low rank prisoners were assured that convictions were being sought only against higher ranking officers, and they had absolutely nothing to lose by co-operating and making the desired statements. Such 'evidence' was then used against them - when they joined their superiors in the dock. The latter were told on the other hand that by 'confession', they would take all responsibility onto their own shoulders, thus shielding their men from trial."
"A favorite stratagem, when a prisoner refused to co-operate, was to arrange a mock trial. In these, death sentences were passed, then offers of a 'reprieve' if he confessed. Sometimes a prisoner would be threatened with being handed over to the Russians, his family deprived of their ration cards - or worse."
Colonel A.H Rosenfeld upon whose rulings the admissibility was final, when asked about these sham trials replied:
"Yes, of course. We couldn't have made these birds talk otherwise. . . it was a trick and it worked like a charm."
"Hearsay evidence was admitted indiscriminately and sworn statements of witnesses were admissible regardless of whether anybody knew the person who made the statement or the individual who took the statement." - George McDonough, American Lawyer, New York Times
The circus aspect of these show trials was such that when a certain gentleman of the name Einstein tearfully accused a German named Menzel of murdering his brother, the defendant pointed out that his brother was alive and well, and sitting in the court. The presiding investigator scolded Einstein.
"How can we bring this pig to the gallows if you are so stupid as to bring your brother into court?"
Hardly surprising therefore that the highest ranking military commanders, predominantly but not exclusively from the allied side, condemned the Nuremberg Trials as a judicial farce and a disgrace to civilized behavior. Their condemnation was echoed by thousands of eminent statesmen, jurists, intellectuals, writers, journalists, ecclesiastics and educators.
In 1956, H.K Thompson, Jr, a Yale graduate in naval science and history with a background in military and maritime law came together with Henry Strutz, M.A, a linguist, university teacher and associate member of the U.S. Naval Institute. They marked the release of Grand Admiral Doenitz by beginning a project of contemporary and informed opinion on the validity or otherwise of the Nuremberg Trials.
The book, Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal, Amber Publishing Group, NYC. 1976, was hailed as 'the most important work on the Nuremberg 'War Crimes Trials' to appear in 25 years.'
Over a period of twenty years, they invited, read and evaluated many thousands of letters, briefs and manuscripts offering comment on the trials. Those supporting the trials made up an insignificant minority and fell into three categories.
(1) A hard core who still maintained the legality of the trials, of which it was interesting to note that most had played a part in them.
(2) Those who whilst admitting their illegal status felt that they were politically necessary, and
(3) those who felt that the trials whilst unique were set to establish legal precedents to limit future wars, on the presumption that application would be applied equally, which of course it has not.
The compilers of Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal saw no reason to unnecessarily duplicate the many thousands of informed comment critical of the Nuremberg Trials. These in essence were repetitive. They preferred instead to provide a cross sampling of views whilst depositing the entire results of their research with the H.K Thompson Collection at Hoover Library on War, Revolution and Peace, Stamford University.
THE WAR CRIMES 'TRIALS' ON TRIAL
"The Nuremberg Trials have made the waging of an unsuccessful war a crime; the generals on the defeated side were tried and then hanged." - Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery. June 9th 1948
"The truth of the matter is that no one of the victors was free of the guilt which its judges attributed to the vanquished." - The Chicago Tribune, October 2nd 1946
"In my judgement, the procedure by which the Nuremberg Tribunal was created and the criminals trials thereunder conducted, was completely fraught with illegality." - William L. Hart, The Supreme Court of Ohio
"This kangaroo court at Nuremberg was officially known as the 'International Military Tribunal.' That name is a libel on the military profession. Nuremberg was, in fact, a lawyers' tribunal, although I can readily understand why the legal profession is ashamed to claim it, and deliberately stuck a false label on it.
"I am glad our real military men had nothing to do with the travesty on justice that the lawyers and 'statesmen' conducted on Nuremberg." - Rear Admiral Dan V. Gallery. U.S.N. (Ret.)
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
In his book, Profiles in Courage, President John F. Kennedy praised Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, for having the courage to publicly denounce the Nuremberg Trials and reveal them to have been held in, "a spirit of vengeance, and vengeance is seldom justice. In these trials we have accepted the Russian idea of the purpose of trials - government policy and not justice - with little relation to Anglo-Saxon heritage."
"A step backward in international law." - Honorable Justice, Learned Hand
"A travesty of justice." - Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, U.S.N Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Asiatic Fleet
"...wholly unjustified and a disgrace to the national governments sanctioning it." - Rear Admiral Reginald R. Belknap, U.S.N. Atlantic Fleet
"Not in accordance with justice." - Hon. William Cosgrave, LL.D, President, Dail Eireann, 1922
"I could never accept the Nuremberg Trials as representing a fair and just procedure." - Dr. Igor I. Sikorsky, Aircraft Designer
"What we did in this case was to resort to private vengeance. Admiral Doenitz and other leaders who were imprisoned should be recompensed for their treatment." - - Dr. John L. Gillin, Emeritus Professor of Criminology, University of Wisconsin
"I have been boiling mad for years over the 'war crimes trials which I think were despicable and contemptible, and smack more of ancient Rome's barbarism than of a so-called civilized country. Not only were the 'war crimes trials' one of the blackest spots on our recent black (and Red) history, but the bombing of the only two Christian cities in Japan in August, 1945, via the atomic bomb calls to high heaven for retribution." - Taylor Caldwell, American novelist
To Grand Admiral Doenitz:
"I have always felt, and still feel that you were treated unfairly.... your conviction by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal was a miscarriage of justice." - U.S. Senator William Langer
"A monstrosity and a nameless injustice." - Admiral Thomas Pizarro, Peruvian Navy
"The Nuremberg Trials were contrary to legal precepts." - - Alfonso of Bourbon and Orleans, Infante of Spain; Great-grandson of Queen Victoria
"It is not right to bring to trial officers or men who have acted under orders from higher authority.... the most brutal act of the war was the dropping of the Atom Bombs on Japan... the allies were far from guiltless and should have taken that into fuller consideration." - Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Chatfield, P.C., G.C.B, Commander-in-Chief, British Atlantic Fleet
"I regard the Nuremberg 'war crimes trials' as one of the worst reflections upon enlightened leadership in world affairs as ever has been known. The trials really were a disgrace upon all who participated therein." - Hon. Michael Francis Doyle, LL.D, International lawyer, Papal Chamberlain
"A most unfortunate and unjustified violation of international law." - Major-General Ulysses S. Grant, 111, U.S.A.
"The idea of trying the leaders of defeated nations as 'war criminals' is but a first step toward the dark ages." - Vice Admiral John F. Shafroth, U.S.N., Commander South Pacific Area
"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." - - Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Champion de Crespigny, R.A.F., C.B., M.C., D.F.C.
"The Nuremberg Trials were a tragic mistake. They will haunt us always." - Major General James E. Chaney, USAF
".. a libel on the military profession." - Vice Admiral Hewlett Thebaud, USN
"The Nuremberg Trials have created a deplorable precedent in international law." - Dr. Samuel T. Chambers, Professor of History, University of Baltimore
"... a vindictive travesty of every canon of old military law." - Dr. Francis Neilson, Author and historian
"Aside from the horrendous demand for 'Unconditional Surrender,' certainly the most stupid error of America's World War Two policies was to sponsor and participate in the so-called Nuremberg Trials." - Honorable Howard Buffett. Lawyer, U.S Congress
"My attitude towards the War Crimes Trials is epitomized in a terse reply by Colonel McCormick (Chicago Tribune): 'I will never lend my presence where legalized murder is imposed." - Major General Charles L. Mullins, Jnr. USA
"They (The Nuremberg Trials) set a very dangerous precedent." - Honourable Frank A.W Lucas, Judge of Appeal, High Commission Territories, Union of South Africa
"I believe the trials in general were a travesty of justice." - Honourable Joseph H. Ball, U.S. Senator, Minnesota
"The dangerous precedent set at Nuremberg must be removed." - Rear Admiral Nils Wijkmark, Royal Swedish Navy
"... a great shame, the direct responsibility for which rests upon the legal fraternity of Great Britain and the United States." - O. Glenn Saxon, LL.B., AM. Professor of Economics, Yale University
"A barefaced hypocrisy." - Major General William Church Davis. USA
"... one should consider with disgust and sorrow this (Nuremberg Trials) and similar deeds which are dishonourable not only for the winners but also for the developments of the morals of humanity." - Lieutenant General Fahri Belen, Turkish Army
"Unjust and completely outrageous." (The conviction and imprisonment of Admiral Doenitz) - Honourable George H. Earle, LL.D, D.C.L
"Unwarranted, unjust and illegal." - Major General George L. Eberle, USA
"Unjust ands a reflection on the United States." - Brigadier General Robert E. Wood, USA
"What's the difference between Nuremberg and chaining the captured vanquished to the chariot of the victor to be dragged around an arena to the plaudits of the victor's henchmen?" - Hon. George Bell Timmerman, LL.D. American jurist.
"... could not have been fair and impartial and therefore should not have been held at all." - Admiral Felix B. Stump, U.S.N
"A disgrace upon America and should never have taken place." - J.H Gipson, Sr. President, The Caxton Printers Ltd, Economist and author
"Our government has set a precedent that can come back to plague it." - William R. Mathews. Editor, Arizona Daily Star
"I can well remember, at the time of the Nuremberg Trials, my great uneasiness about the justice of placing senior, or indeed any officers, on trial for carrying out orders from higher authority." - Vice Admiral Cyril St. Clair Cameron, Royal Navy, C.B.E
"A grave mistake and illegal." - Major General Harry H. Vaughan, U.S. Army Reserve
".. one of the greatest, most unjust crimes ever committed by so-called civilised people. Undoubtedly military leaders of the so-called allies, were just as guilty of the charges made against those who were tried." - Hon. J. Bracken Lee, Governor, State of Utah
"I consider that the trials have done an immeasurable amount of harm." - - General Richard J. Mulcahy of Ireland; Minister of Defence
"I applaud and endorse this effort to call attention to the injustice of the Nuremberg 'war crimes trials and to the dangerous precedent set by them." - Hon. Henry P. Fletcher, LL.D. U.S. Under Secretary of State
"In my opinion, the trials of professional military men as for instance the Nuremberg Trials remind of the barbarian days when prisoners-of-war were killed just because they had fought." - General Hendrik J, Kruls, Royal Netherlands Army
"Our country could never live down its participation in such a shameful travesty of justice." - Major General John Shirley Wood, USA
"... the result of hysteria on the part of those responsible." - Vice Admiral Glenn B. Davis, U.S.N
"I would like to say that I regard the 'war crimes trials' as a crime." - Rev. Dr. John H. Holmes, D.D. (Jewish Institute of Religion), Director, American Civil Liberties Union
"I am of the opinion that the war crimes trials were illegal." Hon. W. Dahanayake, Prime Minister of Ceylon
"This reminds us of the Dark Ages and proves that the spiritual development of our World lags far behind the miraculous materialistic progress." - Honourable Najeeb-Al-Armanazi, LL.D. Secretary General, Presidency of the Republic of Syria
"... a great miscarriage of justice." - Vice Admiral Frederick M. Trapnell, U.S.N
"I have always felt that the 'War Crimes Trials' were the brain child of Stalin and sold to the U.S. and Britain." - Commodore Carlos Augustus Bailey, U.S.N
"There was no authorization or precedent in International Law for those trials and I consider the precedent set at that time to be most dangerous and an international disgrace." - Rear Admiral James D. Barner, U.S.N
"... a fantastic desecration of the ideals of Western Civilisation, and appalling miscarriage of justice... a misuse of evidence for vicious ends, all of which will someday be exposed as a shocking travesty of high legal and moral principles." - - Henry M. Adams, Ph.D, Professor of History, University of California
"The Nuremberg process in itself was not a judicial process, but an act of vengeance against the defeated. Nuremberg was particularly profaned by the fact that the Russians were among the judges and themselves guilty of crimes and atrocities... Being a jurist myself, and a Christian, I abhor the justice of Nuremberg." - Most Rev. Bishop Vincentas of Lithuania
"The 'Military Tribunals' constituted by the allies to judge the military and civilian authorities of the vanquished country have no legal basis whatsoever." - Edison Diaz Salvo, General of Aviation of the Republic of Chile
"I was and am against the War Crimes Trials in principle. .... a dangerous precedent which will someday back-fire." - Major General Orlando Ward, USA
"A serious mistake." - Major General Paul W. Baade, USA
"I believe that no sane person can approve what was done by the Nuremberg Tribunal, where all the norms of civilisation were violated." - - Admiral Don Francisco Bastarreche, Admiral of the Spanish Fleet
"... the majority of these trials, as being illegal and travestic of justice, ... I regret my country had anything to do with it." - Vice Admiral Walter S. Anderson, U.S.N
"For all such, forgive us. We were wrong." - Admiral John W. Reeves, Jr., U.S.N
"A travesty of legality and violated the basic principles of justice which have been a treasured part of our heritage." - Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, U.S.N. Commander, Allied Forces, S.W Pacific
"To me the Nuremberg Trials have always been totally inexcusable and a horrible travesty of justice." - Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, U.S.N. Commander, North Pacific Force
"I consider the War Trials as one of the most disgraceful manifestations of the post war hysteria." - Vice Admiral Richard H. Cruzen, U.S.N, Commander, Naval Forces, Philippines, 1951
"I feel very strongly on the basic principles involved in 'war crimes trials' and the flagrant travesty on justice resulting from such hypocrisy." - Rear Admiral James E. Arnold, U.S.N.R
"Of course the action against you was grossly unjust; and it is a sorry blot on my country's history. . . I'll only express one bit of satisfaction; - Despite some titles and uniforms worn by my own countrymen in the Nuremberg affair, none of them were really Military or Naval men . . . may I salute you." - Admiral Thomas C. Hart, U.S.N, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, World War 11
"The war crimes trials was a reversion to the ancient practice of the savage extermination of a defeated enemy and particularly its leaders." - Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, U.S.N Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet
"To bring them to trial under post facto law, concocted to convict them, is a piece of hideous hypocrisy and humbug." - Major General J.F.C Fuller, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O. British military historian and author
"The war trials were a low level to which farce was connected." - Hon. Henry W. Shoemaker, Litt.D. Colonel Military Intelligence. U.S.A.R
"an illegal procedure and a 'barefaced hypocrisy'. I felt that way at the time of the trials and so stated." - Hon Burton K. Wheeler, U.S. Senator, Candidate for vice-presidency of United States
" ..... your recent release (Admiral Karl Doenitz) evoke in me the feeling of shame for my country which I felt during the travesty on justice known as the Nuremberg Trials." - Lieutenant General Pedro A. del Valle, U.S.M.C, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, World War 11
"... The criminal trials of military leaders in Germany at the close of World war 11 were not in accordance with international law nor supported by legal authorisation of any civilised country." - Hon. Usher L. Burdick. Member of Congress
"...unjust and fundamentally wrong in principle." - Hon. Spruille Braden, U.S Assistant Secretary of State
"I have always regarded the Nuremberg Trials as a travesty upon justice and the farce was made even more noisome with Russia participating as one of the judges." - Charles Callan Tansill, Ph.D. Professor of History
"A political stunt." - Field Marshall Lord Henry Maitland Wilson of Libya. Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, 1941
"A libel on the military profession and barefaced hypocrisy." - Vice Admiral Ralph Edward Jennings, U.S.N
"The war crimes trials were an abomination and will plague our people for centuries." - Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, USA, Planning Group, O.S.S World War 11
"I have been greatly shocked and disturbed by this international action." - Honourable William Phillips, U.S. Under Secretary of State
"I have a very long record of opposition to the holding of these trials." - The Rt. Hon.Lord Hankey, P.C., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.., LL.D. Minister in War Cabinet, World War 11
"I was from the beginning very unhappy about the Nuremberg Trials . . . the weak points of such trials are obvious." - T.S Eliot. English poet and author
"I have neither read nor followed the testimony concerned in the so-called 'War Crimes Trials' at Nuremberg because the entire procedure, in my opinion, became a nauseating farce through the participation of the Soviet 'judges'. The presence of these minions of a barbarous and mediaeval autocracy elevated this disgraceful episode to the stratosphere of hypocrisy." - Hon. James H.R Cromwell. U.S. Minister to Canada, 1940
"The precedent of the infamous Nuremberg trials constitutes an unparalleled blunder." - Admiral Alexander E. Sakellariou, Royal Hellenic Navy, Commander-in-Chief, Greek Naval Forces
"... was a lapse from present-day standards of civilisation and justice to the Dark Ages. Let us fervently hope that we have seen the last of such action." - Vice Admiral Everett C. Morsell, S.C., U.S.N
"I apologize to Admiral Doenitz and the German people for what, done then in our name without our approval or consent, has resulted in such injury to everybody involved." - Professor Dr. Herbert C. Sanborn. Historian and author
"I am wholly in agreement as to the hypocrisy and illegality of the Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Trials set a dangerous precedent and must be exposed...." - Air Commodore G.S. Oddie, D.F.C., A.F.C. Deputy Director R.A.F, World War II
"The Nuremberg Trials were a disgrace to civilisation, and, as a teacher of young men and women, I have deeply regretted that my country joined in this outrageous action." Kenneth Colegrove, Ph.D. Consultant to General Douglas MacArthur
"There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that these trials were 'a libel on the military profession.' I am sorry." - Vice Admiral Mahlon S. Tisdale, U.S.N. Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet, World War 11
"An outrage against good morals, an absurdity in point of international law, and a deplorable error in policy. They set a precedent for what amounts to the legalised lynching of the leaders of the defeated side in any future war." - Hoffman Nickerson, American author
"I have no doubt that the Nuremberg 'War Crimes Trials' were an instrument of revenge rather than of justice. As an American citizen, I apologise to Admiral Doenitz." - Colonel Ulius L. Amoss, U.S.A.F. Deputy Chief of Staff, 9th Air Force, World War II
"I consider the 'war crimes trials' in general and the trial of Admiral Doenitz in particular, a matter of mass hypocrisy resulting from a war-bred hangover." - Vice Admiral A. Stanton Merrill, U.S.N Commander, Cruiser Division
"... they were most unjust and cruel." - Admiral of the Fleet, The Rt. Hon. 12th Earl of Cork and Orrery, G.C.B. Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet and Portsmouth.
"The Nuremberg Charter under which Doenitz was tried created alleged crimes for which there is no precedent or justification in international law or usage." - Vice Admiral Kenneth G.B Dewar, C.B.E. Commanded H.M.S. Royal Oak and Tiger
"But the real guilty ones are the British Admiralty, the French Department of the Marine, and the Navy Departments of all countries, including our own. They are the guilty ones, not the officers who obeyed their orders." - Commodore Julius F. Hellweg, U.S.N
"It does not seem fair to me." - General Sir Andrew Thorne, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. Commander-in-Chief, Allied Land Forces
"They smell. I have always considered them as legalistic hocus-pocus to give semblance of respectability to barbarous vengeance inflicted upon opponents who have merely done their duty on the losing side of a war. A primitive idea supposed to be in disrepute for some centuries." - Rear Admiral George van Deurs, U.S.N. World War 11
"... had the same legal status as a Kangaroo Court.... The 'War Crimes Trials' can only be justified by Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist and New Dealist doctrines." - - Rear Admiral Henry C. Flanagan, U.S.N. Commander, Transport Divisions, Pacific
"....largely for propaganda purposes and unwise." - Major General William W.P Gibsone, C.M.G., D.S.O., O.B.E., Royal Canadian Army
"Many of us felt that the actions taken were autocratic and had no place in a democracy." - Vice Admiral Edward W. Hanson, U.S.N
"... regrettable and attributable to mass hysteria.." - Rear Admiral George W. Bauernschmidt, S.C., U.S.N
"... contrary to civilised ideals and principles of legal justice. This country owes to Grand Admiral Doenitz and to many other men at the least a humble apology for what we have caused them to suffer. Let us hope that we have learned from these tragic mistakes a lesson we shall never forget, and that never again shall we repeat such conduct." - Honourable Edward Leroy Van Roden, President Judge
Note: The Honourable Edward Leroy Van Roden, President Judge, served as a member of the Commission set up to investigate the cases of German officers and soldiers tried by the American Military Courts at Dachau. He later testified as to the methods of interrogation used which included legal farce, illegal, unfair and cruel (torture) methods and duress to secure confessions of guilt.
"I am glad to join other American citizens in condemning such procedures as those established." - Hon. Hugh G. Grant, American Diplomat
"I think those (Nuremberg) trials were the greatest mistake our government could have made and predict that the precedent set will haunt this country for hundreds of years." - Major General Howard C. Davidson. U.S.A.F World War 11
"The infamous 'war crimes trials' will undoubtedly cause the future inhabitants of this cockeyed planet to blush with embarrassment." - Robert LeFevre, American educator and author
"... is manifestly an injustice." - Admiral Harold R. Stark. U.S.N. Chief of Naval Operations, 1939-42
"I attended the Nuremberg Trials for several days as a guest of one of the legal profession. One cannot help getting the impression that the law was fabricated." - General Sir Henry Charles Loyd, K.C.B., C.B., K.C.V.O., D.S.O., M.C. Commander-in-Chief, Southern Command
"The trials were not based on justice, precedent or international law. They have set a vicious precedent." - Admiral Laurence T. DuBose, U.S.N. Commander, Cruiser Division. World war II
"I was asked if I would sit on the Court which was assembled to try Field Marshall von Manstein about 1948, but refused because I felt that the whole principle of these war crimes trials was wrong.
"In fact, it seems to me that the basis of the majority of the war crimes trials were not founded on true democratic justice, but on revengeful desire to punish a number of military commanders for all the sin and misery and suffering, inseparable from war." - General Sir Frank W. Messervy, K.C.S.I., K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O. Commander-in-Chief, Malaya Command
"... in the past, conquerors sometimes executed their opponents, but I never head of any attempt to legalise it." - Admiral Samuel M. Robinson, Jnr, U.S.N
"An ugly miscarriage of justice... only hate and war hysteria could have permitted such a weird concept of war crime." - Rear Admiral Arthur T. Moen, U.S.N
"... should not be liable to such trials." - Major General Sir William L.O. Twiss, K.C.I.E., C.B., C.B.E., M.C., F.R.G.S. General Officer Commanding British Army in Burma
"Such acts as the Nuremberg Trials of gallant opponents do not auger well for peace in future. They are merely boding more evil, and more severity for the leading victims after a war, and lower the prestige of the victors." - Lady Evelyn Margaret Chetwynd
"The trial of German alleged war criminals, citizens of a defeated country, conducted by judges of a victorious enemy country was in itself a gross infringement of the elementary principles of justice and equity." - Hon. Luigi Villari, Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy
"It had no authorisation or precedent in international law, which has no punitive provisions." - Admiral Charles P. Snyder, U.S.N. Commander, Battleships, Pacific Fleet. 1939
"... the 'war crimes trials' were a disgrace to our American tradition, and equally as bad, they created a precedent which can only mean liquidation of the entire brains of the United States should Communists prevail in this country." - Devin E. Garrity, President, Devin-Adair Company. Publishers
"As far as the 6th Armored Division was concerned in its 280 days in front line contact, there was no atrocity problem. Frankly, I was aghast, as were many of my contemporaries, when we learned of the proposed 'war crimes trials and the fact that military commanders were among the accused.
"I firmly believe that the 'war crimes trials' were ill-conceived, vindictively executed, and served only to lower the dignity and prestige of America." - Major General Robert W. Grow, USA. Commander, 6th Armored Division in Europe. World War II
"I have always looked upon the 'war crimes trials' as an unlawful revengeful act rather than a court of justice." - Admiral John E. Gingrich, U.S.N
"I consider the trial of German officials after World War 11 was outrageous and cannot be condoned." - Major General James Kelly Parsons, USA. Commanding General 3rd Corps
"The trial and condemnation of Admiral Doenitz was an insult to both British and American submariners." - Captain Bernard Acworth, Royal Navy, D.S.O
"It was my opinion at the time of the Nuremberg Trials, and still is, that the officers concerned were not treated in a way corresponding to the principles of justice and democracy." - Vice Admiral Thore Horve, Royal Norwegian Navy. C.B.E., D.S.C
".... a precedent which should not be followed among what are commonly described as civilized nations." - Dr. George Peabody Gooch, C.H. British historian and author
"My view is that the law must be applied to all. Had this been applied at the time of these trials, there would have been a number of ranking officers among the victors who stood trial. I hope you succeed in destroying the dangerous precedent set." - Major General Frederick F. Worthington, C.B., M.C., M.M., C.D. General Officer Commanding, Armored Division, 1942
".... this whole procedure was a result of mass hysteria and conducted in spirit of mob violence." - Major General Thomas O. Hardin. U.S.A.F.R
"On the War Crimes Trials in General and the Doenitz case in particular, I have always thought that these trials were a mistake and that military commanders on the losing side should not be tried for war crimes by international military tribunals set up by the victors...." - Major General William F. Tomkins, USA
"... cannot be considered morally valid." - - Honourable Pierre Etienne Flandin, French jurist and statesman
"I was of the opinion that the victorious nation was indulging in hypocrisy in bringing the reputable German military leaders to trial for war crimes." - Admiral E.T Wooldridge, U.S.N. Commandant, The National War College
"It was a shameful manifestation of the 'Vae Victis' mentality." - Lieutenant General Erik Testrup, Royal Swedish Army
"A throwback to the days of barbarism, a proof of man's inhumanity to man, a complete lack of decent respect for the welfare of our fellow-man, and a violation of all elements of justice and decency." - Major General Clements McMullen, U.S.A.F
"So, the Nuremberg Trials were illegal - a reflection on discipline. I hold Admiral Doenitz in the highest esteem, and his trial and imprisonment were outrageous." - Rear Admiral John Wainwright, U.S.N. (Commanded Yangste River Patrol.)
"I have long held firm views on the trials of military persons for what I always regarded as political 'crimes.' In fact, I felt so strongly that I asked to be excused . . ." - Major General Robert S. Beightler, USA
"... a renewal of the old way of thinking, 'woe to the vanquished,' not worthy of any civilized nation." - Major General L. Melander, Army of Finland
"A false tribunal based on false laws." - General Emile Janssens, Royal Belgian Army
"A permanent blot on the record of the allies." - Professor Harry Elmer Barnes, Ph.D. American historian
"The spirit which led the British and American people to look on complacently while their authorities were committing the monstrous injustice of holding the Nuremberg Trials, was nothing new; for it is latent in every savage beast; . . .
"Consequently, in the matter of chivalry, justice and fair-play, the English record is even blacker than it was after World War I and the savagery and inhumanity that was displayed was far less restrained. . .
"From the looting and the sadistic ill-treatment of the defenceless population of the allied troops and control officials - Englishmen, Frenchmen, Russians and Americans, to the despicable display of troglodytic beastliness in the Nuremberg Trials, where Englishmen, Frenchmen and Americans sank to the level of Russian prosecutors in a 'Great Purge' trial and committed the extra infamy of pretending that the proceedings were 'legal' and 'just'.
"At least when the ancients 'liquidated' the military or other leaders of their defeated enemy, they marched a Caractacus or a Vercingetorix through the streets of Rome, they never aggravated the iniquity by trying to make it appear the outcome of a just and bona fide legal process." - Anthony M. Ludovici, English Army Officer, (World War.1) Philosopher and author of 33 works, 1909 - 1960
"There was something cynical and revolting in the spectacle of British, French and American judges sitting on the bench with a colleague representing a country which before, during, and since the trials, had perpetrated half the political crimes in the calendar." - Lord Hankey, House of Lords, May, 5th, 1949
"I have always maintained, and I have written to this effect, that the war crimes trials were wholly illegal from the point of view of international law." - Herbert A. Smith, D.C.L, Professor of International Law, University of London, 1928-1946
"I think the Nuremberg trials are a black page in the history of the world.... I discussed the legality of these trials with some of the lawyers and some of the judges who participated therein. They did not attempt to justify their action on any legal ground." - Edgar N. Eisenhower, American attorney, brother of President Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Accusations by English scribblers of 'barbarism' on the part of Germans or other troops invariably provoke my indignation by their arrant hypocrisy. Accident of fate has brought it about that much of my military and civil career was occupied with the suppression or attempted suppression, of armed rebellion or severe civilian commotion, and I have seen or investigated enough atrocities committed by British and Irish troops in three countries to fill several books." - Aubrey T.O Lees. English Colonial Administrator and Army officer. Served in Ireland during the revolution (1920 - 1922), in Iraq (1922 - 1925, and for ten years in Palestine.
Space limitations preclude further comment. Clearly, nobody but the most grievously misinformed could lay claim to the Nuremberg processes as being anything other than a disgraceful slide into ancient Rome's barbarism, equaled only by the blood-letting of Stalin's purges.
Suffice it is to say that these comments are as one with the more fully expressed sentiments volunteered by many thousands of similarly well informed and often illustrious men - and women, who were better placed than most to offer an opinion.
Those who do wish to avail themselves of the more fulsome comment offered by the sampling of 388 highly placed authorities, I recommend to Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal. H.K Thompson, Jnr. and Henry Strutz; published by Amber Publishing Corp. 21, Hudson Street, New York City 10013, New York City. ISBN 0-916788-01-6 Library of Congress Card No.75-26202.
Next -- Chapter 25 -- Last Letter From Herman Goering to Winston Churchill