WHAT HAPPENED ON - 20 November

November 20 1945 – The Palace of Justice in Nuremberg Hosts War Crimes Trials for 24 Nazis

November 20 1945 – The Palace of Justice in Nuremberg Hosts War Crimes Trials for 24 Nazis
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*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Six months after World War II in Europe came to an end, officials from all over the planet gathered in Nuremberg, Germany to put prominent Nazi administrators on trial for war crimes on November 20, 1945. With 24 of the top leaders standing trial for nearly a year, the quest for justice in the wake of the horrifying conflict started.

The idea for a proceeding to create penalties for those who led the Nazi effort first surfaced in earnest near the end of 1944, as the Allied armies were just beginning to make progress against the weakened German war machine. Among the leaders of the three military powers — the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union — there was a unanimous belief that at least some should face execution for the damage they had done. US President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Chairman Joseph Stalin, with varying levels of seriousness, both went so far as to advocate firing squads for large numbers of the German military leadership.

Upon Roosevelt’s death and the ascension of Vice President Harry Truman to the highest office in America, the focus shifted to something along the lines of a court martial. With the London Charter agreed to on August 8, 1945, stipulations written into the Instrument of Surrender of Germany were used to establish a judicial system for any atrocities which occurred after September 1, 1939 — leaving the deaths of thousands of Jews in the lead up to official combat outside the panel’s jurisdiction. …(Read more)

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