Would that it didn't have to be, but at least on this day, October 1, 1946, the Nazi leaders were finally sentenced at the Nuremburg Trials. Most were sentenced to death by hanging with the significant exception of Albert Speer.
The tribunal was given the task of trying 23 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich, though one of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, while another, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial's commencement. (Not included were Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, all of whom had committed suicide in the spring of 1945, well before the indictment was signed.)
The first, and best known of these trials, described as "the greatest trial in history" by Norman Birkett, one of the British judges who presided over it, was the trial of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). It is considered to be a major step in the formulation of modern international law and the establishment of the ICTY, ICTR, the ICC and the ad hoc courts for Cambodia and Sierra Leone.
American tank crews listen as Bernard Herzog who was liberated from the camp of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. Herzog lost 78 pounds (35 kg) and suffered from beriberi, which is most likely the cause of the swollen legs.
On this day, May 11, 1960, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After his execution, his remains were cremated and the ashes scattered at sea.
On this day, May 2, 1933, another step in Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler banned trade unions. Twelve years later, on May 2, 1945, the Soviet Union announces the capture of Berlin and Soviet soldiers hoist their red flag over the Reichstag building.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,