The pseudo-judicial proceedings at the Nuremberg Trials have been heavily criticized by many people who were anything but Nazis. For example, in The Papers of Robert A. Taft, Senator Taft wrote the following:
„We have fooled ourselves in the belief that we could teach another nation democratic principles by force. Why, we can’t even teach our own people sound principles of government. We cannot teach liberty and justice in Germany by suppressing liberty and justice. I believe that most Americans view with discomfort the war trials which have just been concluded in Germany and are proceeding in Japan. They violate that fundamental principle of American law that a man cannot be tried under an ex post facto statute. The hanging of the eleven men convicted at Nuremberg will be a blot on the American record which we shall long regret. The trial of the vanquished by the victors cannot be impartial no matter how it is hedged about with the forms of justice. I question whether the hanging of those, who, however despicable, were the leaders of the German people, will ever discourage the making of aggressive war, for no one makes aggressive war unless he expects to win. About this whole judgment there is the spirit of vengeance, and vengeance is seldom justice. In these trials we have accepted the Russian idea of the purpose of trials, government policy and not justice, having little relation to our Anglo-Saxon heritage. By clothing vengeance in the forms of legal procedure, we may discredit the whole idea of justice in Europe for years to come.“ (v. 3, p. 200)
But for those who think that despite these, the Nuremberg Trials proved beyond any reasonable doubt the German war crimes, here is something that will make you think twice.
On April 2, 1946, Joachim von Ribbentrop was on the stand, where he was confronted with document 2375-PS:
„M. FAURE: I ask that you be shown Document 2375-PS. This document has not yet been submitted to the Tribunal. I would like to submit it under French Exhibit Number RF-1503. I would like to read with you the second paragraph of this document. It is an affidavit from Mildner, a colonel of the police in Denmark.
As commander, I was subordinate to the Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Best. Since I was opposed to the persecution of the Jews, on principle and for practical reasons, I asked Dr. Best to give me the reasons for the measures that were ordered. Dr. Best declared to me that the Reich Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, obviously knew Hitler’s intention to exterminate the Jews in Europe. He had furnished Hitler with a report about the Jewish problem in Denmark and proposed to deport the Jews from Denmark. Dr. Best declared furthermore that Ribbentrop was afraid of being held responsible in case the Jews remained in Denmark. Dr. Best was now compelled to carry out the measures that were proposed to Hitler by Ribbentrop. From the discussion with Dr. Best I gathered that he must have had a discussion or a telephone conversation with Ribbentrop.
You read that, did you not?
VON RIBBENTROP: What is written in this document is pure fantasy. It is not true. […] It was the Fuehrer’s plan, at the time, to deport the Jews from Europe to North Africa, and Madagascar was also mentioned in this connection. He ordered me to approach various governments with a view to encouraging the emigration of the Jews, if possible, and to remove all Jews from important government posts. I issued instructions to the Foreign Office accordingly, and, if I remember rightly, certain governments were approached several times to that effect. It was the question of the Jewish emigration to certain parts of North Africa; that is true. May I return to this affidavit? This sworn affidavit is pure fantasy of Colonel Mildner’s and is absolutely untrue.
This affidavit was indeed absolutely untrue. Not because Ribbentrop declared it to be so (after all he was defending himself), but because it... never existed! Here is what the second paragraph of that document actually says:
„As commander I was subordinated to Reich plenipotentiary Dr. Best. Immediately, with the approval of Dr. Best, I sent a telegram to the RSHA Gruppenführer Mueller, asking to have the Jewish persecutions stopped. As reasons for this I mentioned that the Jews in Denmark had not yet shown themselves unfriendly toward the Reich, that the whole Danish nation would reject measures taken against the Jews, that action would have an unfavourable effect in Scandinavia, England, and the U. S., that the trade relationship between Germany and Sweden would be disturbed, as well as that with Denmark. In Denmark one could then expect political strikes and the amount of sabotage would increase, etc. The position of the Reich plenipotentiary and the Sipo would be made much more difficult and cooperation of the Danish police, I had an agreement partly worked out, would not become effective, etc. The answer to my telegram was an order by RF SS Himmler through Chef der Sipo and SD Kaltenbrunner that the anti-Jewish actions were to be carried out.“
Incredible as it may seem, only the first sentence is the same. There is not the slightest reference in the actual document to extermination of Jews or even Ribbentrop. What was read at the trial was indeed pure fantasy. But whose fantasy? Obviously not Mildner’s!