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nurembergthelastbattleNuremberg: the Last Battle (Focal Point, 1996) by David Irving is a very thought provoking book. It is well researched and written and gives a good larger context and view on what happened before, during and also after the trial.

The book can be found as a free pdf-book from Irving’s webpage where it can also be ordered as a regular book. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the subject.

While the book is throughoutly fascinating from cover to cover I would suggest one to read at least its pages 35-39 (60-66 in the free pdf-book) where Irving summarises how there were few crimes listed in the indictment of the German war criminals, as finally drawn up in October 1945, of which one or other of the four prosecuting powers was not itself guilty.

The list of these crimes should give everyone some fresh reminders of a deep hypocrisy so common in politics. Some keywordwords here: Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dachau massacre, Soviet Unions unprovoked attack on Finland, Katyn massacre, Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, Churchill’s 1939 and 1940 orders for unrestricted naval warfare, Churchill’s 1940 orders for the invasion of Norway, British troops machine-gunning the fleeing survivors of the German fleet auxiliary Altmark in April 1940 and those of the sinking minesweeper Ulm in September 1942, Churchill’s orders for military occupation of Iceland in 1940 and of Persia in August 1941, bombing of Hamburg, Dresden and Pforzheim, sinking of German refugee ship Cap Arcona, and so on (see the pdf-book’s pages 60-66).

See Wikipedia’s summary of criticism against the Nuremberg trial from here.

In the closing remarks of the book Irving writes:

The world saw Nurenberg as the old-fashioned practise of the victors putting the vanquished to the sword, behind a facade of retroactive law and elegant speeches. As the years passed this view was entrenched by the absence of similar trials where aggressive war was clearly established. The Soviet Union planned an aggressive campaign against South Korea, but as the New York Times was to comment in 1951: ‘A powerful aggressor, if undefeated in war, cannot and will not be punished.’ (page 312, pdf-book’s page 452).

When the armed forces of Britain, France and Israel conspired together and lauched their attack on Egypt in 1956, Rudolf Hess’ lawyer Alfred Seidl inquired of the British Foreign Office whether the British prime minister Eden was to be brought before any tribunal to account for himself. The tragic truth was that Nuremberg had set no real precedent in international law. A resolution presented in 1946 to the United Nations Organisation relating to the codification of the principles established at Nuremberg was referred to the organisation’s International Law Committee, and buried without ceremony” (page 312, pdf-book’s page 452).

Well, maybe Nuremberg effected the international law more than Irving gives it credit, but… can you think of some countries and their war criminals (in addition to those mentioned above) after the second world war being guilty (and still not put on trial anywhere) of the same or similar crimes of which the nazis were indicted for and sentenced of at Nuremberg? (as a reminder, those nazis were indicted for: 1) participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace, 2) planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace, 3) war crimes, 4) crimes against humanity). I can easily think of a country or two like that…

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