Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Judgment at Nuremburg

D-Day special: Judgment at Nuremburg at 11pm on Central ytd

Aft watching that, I started thinking about the basis for the trials of war crime. What exactly amounts to a war crime? Are they against the law? The trials for war crime charges the defendants as acts against humanity. But in another perspective, some of those war crimes were carried out as executions, ie legal and dignified, of people who were seen to be ought to be put to death during the war era. As it was acted out according to law, the defendants actually hadnt broken any law and shdnt be found guilty of anything.

Hitler came to power through democratic means. He became his party’s leader, then through elections, his party emerged as the largest ruling party, it was only after that then Hitler slowly through the passing of bills and amendments to the constitution – all agreed and signed in favour by the legislation – that he cld become a dictator. The defendants were not guilty for crimes, but shd be guilty for the toleration of the decadence of their constitution.

However, if this were so, then wldnt there be more Germans guilty? The Germans who voted for Hitler; those who put Hitler into power; those who readily allowed Hitler to pass his Enabling Act. Not only are the Germans guilty, other countries who saw the rise of power of Hitler but did not intervene to put an end to it shd also be guilty. Russia who signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler shd be guilty, Britain who had an appeasement policy towards Hitler allowed him to become bolder in his demands shd also be guilty; America, France, and other European nations all had a part to play.

In the show, the judge finally found the defendants to be guilty of their charges and sentenced them to life imprisonment. But as the Cold War and the Berlin blockade prevailed, America was desperate in finding an ally with Germany, most of those prisoned war criminals were freed not long aft. It is interesting to note that to the vast Germans, these war criminals were heralded by them, they did not see them as guilty, thus the Americans by freeing them gained the popularity of the masses.

At this point in the show, I became extremely disgusted by the hypocrisy of the Americans. Personally, I dont think that the war leaders shd be found guilty of committing those acts against humanity, but if the Americans were to find them guilty, then they shd jolly well let them serve their sentence and not act accordingly with times.

Personally, I think that in circumstance were right and wrong cannot be quantified, the war leaders in order to preserve their dignity, shd commit suicide. In Japan, aft the war ended, throngs of Japanese war leaders committed suicide as they thought it was a great shame to be tried. Likewise, as defeat loomed near, Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler all committed suicide. Goering committed suicide just before he was tried for his war crimes.

Such committing suicide not only cries out “innocent!”, but also allows one to leave the world with one last shred of dignity. They wld die not as war criminals or defeated foes, but as great leaders.

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