THE ROAD TO NUREMBERG by Bradley Smith
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THE ROAD TO NUREMBERG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of Reaching Judgment at Nuremberg (1977) here analyzes, to equally strong effect, the development of Allied war crimes trial policy during and immediately after the war. He starts off with the conflict between Secretary of War Henry Stimson's plan to bring the German leaders to trial and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau's desire to impose a ""Carthaginian peace"" on Germany via de-industrialization. Then, Morgenthau overruled, debate centered on implementation of the trial plan. Given the vast scope of German war crimes and the absence of legal precedent, the drafting teams faced some sticky questions: of ex post facto law legitimizing the trial; of culpability for membership in organizations (like the SS) which had ""conspired"" to commit war crimes; of whether or not to treat aggressive war as a major crime. Bradley places the decisions in the political context of wartime Washington and its relations with the allies. Britain continued to advocate summary execution of the Nazi leadership, while the Soviet Union and the French favored the US trial option. The issue remained unresolved during Roosevelt's presidency--and through Yalta. But when the Allied forces began to overrun Nazi concentration camps and death camps, ""genocidal atrocities"" suddenly became ""more than abstract shadows."" The Allies accepted the American interpretations of war crimes and created a joint body to implement them: the trial process would reveal the horrors of the Nazi regime and validate the struggle. A fascinating account of the process and a penetrating examination of the legal, political, and moral issues.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1981
Publisher: Basic Books