The Nuremberg Trials

An overview and discussion of the long-term impact of the Nuremberg trials for Nazi war crimes against humanity.

This paper examines how, after World War II, judges from Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States tried twenty-two Nazi leaders, primarily Holocaust perpetrators, for crimes against humanity, violating long-established rules of war, and waging aggressive war, and how these trials would eventually become known as the ?Nuremberg Trials.? It looks at how many have argued that the long-term impact of these trials is that they were able to establish a stigma against governments that engage in genocide. It also discusses how the greatest lasting impact of the Nuremberg Trials is that, in the some 100-plus civil wars since 1945, no international body had been convened to try aggressor nations or individuals accused of war crimes.
“If we look back at Nazi war crimes, we may note that despite the reluctance of nations to unite in common cause and move swiftly toward a lasting road against aggression, the hope of a more lasting peace is likely to serve as a deterrent for all future warring factions. This was essentially the best that many judges and UN officials could hope for
as Nuremberg’s brightest promise. The world had a problem of what to do about the Nazi regime that had presided over the extermination of some six million Jews and deaths of millions of others with no basis in military necessity. Never before in history had the victors tried the vanquished for crimes committed during a war. Though, never in history
had the perpetrators been involved in a plot of such a mass destruction of the human populace.”