Popsugar Reading Challenge category: Second of two books set in sister cities
Book: The Nuremberg Trial, by Ann Tusa and John Tusa
This is a deep dive into the famous trial of 22 Nazis after World War II, the first to ever charge for crimes against humanity. The book gets into the minutiae of the infighting among the four nations that handled the prosecution and judging (USA, Great Britain, France & USSR), so that it's only after 150 pages that we get to the start of the trial.
The book gives brief synopses of the defendants' histories, but the main emphasis is on the legal issues: what qualified as "conspiracy," what was a "crime against humanity," and how the defense arguments were overcome. One after another, the most powerful men in the Third Reich either denied knowledge of atrocities that they'd personally authorized, or insisted that they'd somehow been powerless. The most significant legacy of the trial was its rejection of "just following orders" as a defense. The Allied countries were anxious that it not be seen as a mere "show trial" with a predetermined outcome, and I was surprised to learn that 3 of the 22 defendants were acquitted.
A difficult read, but well-researched and informative.
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