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Hermann Göring was head of the German air force. He was one of 22 major war criminals tried by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Here, Göring testifies about his order of July 31, 1941, authorizing Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, to plan a so-called "solution to the Jewish question in Europe." The Tribunal found Göring guilty on all counts and sentenced him to death. Göring committed suicide shortly before his execution was to take place.
After the defeat of Germany, the Allies tried leading state and party officials and military commanders of the Third Reich before a tribunal of military judges from the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and the United States. This International Military Tribunal tried 22 major war criminals during what is commonly known as the Nuremberg Trial, which lasted from November 1945 to October 1946. This footage shows the accused entering pleas following their indictment on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Hjalmar Schacht, Franz von Papen, and Hans Fritzsche were acquitted by the tribunal. Twelve of the defendants, including Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, were sentenced to death. Others served prison terms ranging from ten years to life in prison.
In the summer of 1945, representatives of the victorious Allied nations—the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union—met in London to discuss the formation of an International Military Tribunal. The questions on the table were daunting: how and where such a court would convene, what the criminal charges would be, and which perpetrators would be put on trial. US President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order designating Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson to be the US representative and chief prosecutor. This film clip contains part of Jackson's opening statement to the International Military Tribunal.
British Chief Prosecutor Sir Hartley Shawcross makes a final plea to the International Military Tribunal.
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