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The Beginning of World War II, 1939

London Goes to War, 1939

Blitzkrieg, 1940

Evacuation at Dunkirk, 1940

France Surrenders, 1940

Hitler Tours Paris, 1940

France in Defeat, 1940

Battle of Britain, 1940

The London Blitz, 1940

The Siege of Leningrad

Attack At Pearl Harbor

Attack At Pearl Harbor - the Japanese View

Attack At Pearl Harbor - The White House Reacts

The Bataan Death March 1942

The Doolittle Raid, 1942

The Battle of Midway 1942

Attack on an Arctic Convoy, 1942

Reconnaissance Patrol, 1943

Bombing Raid on Ploesti, 1943

The Bloody Battle of Tarawa, 1943

A GI's trip to London, 1944

The Nazi Occupation Of Poland

"Loose Lips Sink Ships"

Life and Death Aboard a B-17, 1944

Shot Down Over France, 1944

Sunk by Submarine, 1944

Normandy Invasion, 1944: On The Beach

Normandy Invasion, 1944: A Civilian's View

The Liberation of Paris, 1944

America's Front Line Soldier, 1944

Lindbergh in Combat, 1944

Inside a Nazi Death Camp, 1944

Rommel Commits Suicide, 1944

Patton Interrogates a SS General, 1944

Kamikaze Attack, 1944

Iwo Jima, 1945

Capturing the Bridge at Remagen, 1945

The Tokyo
Fire Raids, 1945

The Battle of Berlin, 1945

The War Ends in Europe, 1945

London Celebrates VE Day, 1945

Berlin in Defeat, 1945

Germany in Defeat, 1945

The 1st Atomic Blast, 1945

The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, 1945

Hiroshima, 1945

The Sentencing
and Execution of
Nazi War Criminals,


The Sentencing and Execution

of Nazi War Criminals, 1946

In November 1945, twenty-one men sat in the dock of a Nuremberg courtroom on trial for their lives. The group represented the "cream of the crop" of the Nazi leadership including Herman Goering, Hitler's heir apparent until falling out of favor in the closing days of the war, and Rudolph Hess, Hitler's deputy who had been in custody since parachuting
The Defendants
into England in 1941. (A 22nd defendant - Martin Bormann - had escaped capture and was tried in absentia).

Each defendant was accused of one or more of four charges: conspiracy to commit crimes alleged in other counts; crimes against peace; war crimes; or crimes against humanity. Specific charges included the murder of over 6 million Jews, pursuing an aggressive war, the brutality of the concentration camps and the use of slave labor. The judges represented the major victors in the war in Europe - Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States. The defendants all proclaimed their innocence, many declaring that they were just following orders or questioning the authority of the court to pass judgment.

The verdicts were announced on October 1, 1946. Eighteen of the defendants were found guilty while three were acquitted. Eleven of the guilty were sentenced to death by hanging, the remainder received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life.

The Defendants React to their Sentences

Dr. G. M. Gilbert was a prison psychologist assigned the responsibility of monitoring the behavior of the defendants while they stood trial. He became intimately familiar with all the defendants and was present when each was escorted from the courtroom to their prison cell after hearing their verdict. His description of each individual reaction provides insight into the mindset of the Nazi hierarchy. Here are a few of his observations: (Click the name of each defendant for more information.)

Goering came down first and strode into his cell, his face pale and frozen, his eyes popping. 'Death!' he said as he dropped on the cot and reached for a book. His hands were trembling in spite of his attempt to be nonchalant. His eyes were moist and he was panting, fighting back an emotional breakdown. He asked me in an unsteady voice to leave him alone for a while.

When Goering collected himself enough to talk, he said that he had naturally expected the death penalty, and was glad that he had not gotten a life sentence, because those who are sentenced to life imprisonment never become martyrs. But there wasn't any of the old confident bravado in his voice. Goering seems to realize, at last, that there is nothing funny about death, when you're the one who is going to die.

Rudolph Hess
Hess strutted in, laughing nervously, and said that he had not even been listening, so he did not know what the sentence was and what was more, he didn't care. As the guard unlocked his handcuffs, he asked why he had been handcuffed and Goering had not. I said it was probably an oversight with the first prisoner.

Hess laughed again and said mysteriously that he knew why. (A guard told me that Hess had been given a life sentence.)

Ribbentrop wandered in, aghast, and started to walk around the cell in a daze, whispering, 'Death!-Death! Now I won't be able to write my beautiful memoirs. Tsk! Tsk! So much hatred! Tsk! tsk!' Then he sat down, a completely broken man, and stared into space. . .

Keitel was already in his cell, his back to the door, when I entered. He wheeled around and snapped to attention at the far end of the cell, his fists clenched and arms rigid, horror in his eyes. 'Death-by hanging!' he announced his voice hoarse with intense shame. 'That, at least, I thought I would be spared. I don't blame you for standing at a distance from a man sentenced to death by hanging. I understand that perfectly. But I am still the same as before. - If you will please only - visit me sometimes in these last days.' I said I would.

Frank smiled politely, but could not look at me. 'Death by hanging,' he said softly, nodding his head in acquiescence. 'I deserved it and I expected it, as I've always told you. I am glad that I have had the chance to defend myself and to think things over in the last few months.'

Doenitz didn't know quite how to take it. 'Ten years! - Well - anyway, I cleared U-boat warfare. - Your own Admiral Nimitz said - you heard it.' He' said he was sure his colleague Admiral Nimitz understood him perfectly

Jodl marched to his cell, rigid and upright, avoiding my glance. After he had been unhandcuffed and faced me in his cell, he hesitated a few seconds, as if he could not get the words out. His face was spotted red with vascular tension. 'Death - by hanging! - that, at least, I did not deserve. The death part - all right, somebody has to stand for the responsibility. But that -' His mouth quivered and his voice choked for the first time. 'That I did not deserve.'

Albert Speer
Speer laughed nervously. 'Twenty years. Well; that's fair enough. They couldn't have given me a lighter sentence, considering the facts, and I can't complain. I said the sentences must be severe, and I admitted my share of the guilt, so it would be ridiculous if I complained about the punishment.' "

Continued... "The Executions" >>>

Although this was the most prominent trial, there were 11 other trials of Nazi war criminals held in Nuremberg between 1945 and 1949.
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