The Defense of the Nazis
A common theme that the Nazis used during the Nuremberg Trials was blaming others for their own charge. Those that had done the actual killing stated that they were just following orders. Those that ordered the killings, reported that they did not murder anyone. I feel that no matter what situation a soldier is in, they always have a choice in doing what is morally right. This defense that the actual murders gave was their only defense that they could give for killing innocent lives. I can understand that the Nazis did not want to be charged because of the punishment of being guilty, but to blame someone else for personally killing multiple humans is insane to me. Hermann Goring gave a different reason for attacking the Jews. While under testimony, he stated, “All this naturally resulted in a strong defensive attitude on the part of the Party and led from the very beginning to an intensification of the fight” (1). He was blaming the Jews for threatening Germany politically and culturally. This was obviously incorrect because the Jewish population made up less than one percent of Germany’s population. There was no way that the Jews could possibly impact Germany’s way of life.
After the Nazis were found guilty, what type of punishment is suitable for their actions? The easy quick answer would be death, but does the executioner then become a hypocrite? If he is killing a person for the crime of killing others, is that just? Is not killing a person who killed another, just? I believe that the Nazis were horrific people with terrible intentions that deserve death, but I do not think they should have been executed. I do not have an answer for a proper punishment for them, but violence leading to more violence is not just to me.
(1) “Nuremberg Trial Transcripts,” uwgb.edu. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/imt.htm. Accessed December 4, 2015
Photo: “Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg Trials,” Unkown Photographer, 1945-1946. National Archives and Records Administration.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defendants_in_the_dock_at_the_Nuremberg_Trials.jpg. Accessed December 5, 2015.