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Nazi Leaders on Trial – Nuremberg 1945_Historical Documentary_WW

US Army 1950 documentary film on the Nuremberg Trials.

This film was made as a historical document to record permanently and accurately the trial of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg. It consists of footage from German films documenting Nazi personalities and activities interwoven with film shot during the trials – including testimony and statements from defendants, prosecuting attorneys, judges, and witnesses. It follows the story of the rise and fall of Nazism from the putsch in a Munich beer hall to the Nuremberg trials, and contains flashbacks of a variety of Nazi crimes against humanity.

The Nuremberg Trials was a series of military tribunals, held by the Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945–46, at the Palace of Justice.The first and best known of these trials, described as “the greatest trial in history” by Norman Birkett, one of the British judges who presided over it, was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 23 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich, though one of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, while another, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial’s commencement. Not included were Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, all of whom had committed suicide several months before the indictment was signed. The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); among them included the Doctors’ Trial and the Judges’ Trial.On 14 January 1942, representatives from the nine occupying countries met in London to draft the Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes. At the meetings in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), the three major wartime powers, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics agreed on the format of punishment for those responsible for war crimes during World War II. France was also awarded a place on the tribunal. The legal basis for the trial was established by the London Charter, which was agreed upon by the four so-called Great Powers on 8 August 1945, and which restricted the trial to “punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries”.

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