Friday, August 12, 2016

The Nuremburg Trials - Making Sense (Justice) of Nonsense (War)

        I watched “Judgment at Nuremberg” again last night and thought I would write another brilliant blog about my conclusions of how Hitler came to power and did what he did and relate that to the current political situation in the United States today. After spending the afternoon doing a lot of introspection and thinking about the overwhelming tide of political rhetoric from both sides of the aisle and doing some more research about the Hitler phenomena and its aftermath, I decided that historians still don’t have the answers about what happened, but in their attempts to find justice, some kernels of truth gleaned by those seeking justice emerged. I decided to post the YouTube video made in the year 2000 that uses actual film footage and testimony from the trials that were conducted at the end of World War II in an effort to establish an International Court of Justice for crimes committed during war in light of the Jewish experience as well as the introduction of nuclear weapons into the fighting of war. I am posting a link to that movie for you should you choose to read beyond the “empty platitudes” we see posted every day on our face book page. I am, however, posting a few direct quotes from some of the defendants during the course of the trial that I found thought provoking. I will begin with one about “empty platitudes” mentioned above.
            “Germany was built on empty platitudes. Why? Because on hearing them you can give any meaning you want.”
            From Herman Goering answering this question: “How did the idea of a single, all-powerful leader come to be?”  Answer:  “We took our model from the similar dual roles of the President of the United States.”
            When asked about the rounding up and extermination of the Jews Goering answered: “What was Hiroshima? Our protective custody laws were no different than those enacted against the Japanese. Segregation laws in your country are the same as our Anti-Semite laws.”
            When another defendant was asked how he could go along with such atrocious murder, he answered, “I have always been taught that the Jew was an enemy of Germany. Does a rat catcher think it is wrong to kill a rat?”
            One military man spoke this in his defense, “I am a soldier and the most important code for a soldier is obedience. I did what I was told to do.”
            There was a Jewish psychiatrist who did individual interviews of all the defendants to try to come up with an explanation of a moral flaw that existed among these men to explain their actions. Near the end of the movie, the psychiatrist reported:
“The nature of evil is a lack of empathy, an incapacity to feel with ones fellow man.”
            The most prophetic words were spoken by Dr. Albert Spier an industrial scientist who was asked to give a statement before receiving his sentence. “Hitler was able to do what he did because of mass communications. He had the technology to issue an order from one single place that would affect the lives of thousands of people miles away. The more technical the world becomes the more the individual freedom and self-rule of mankind becomes essential.. . This trial must contribute to (make it possible for) the elimination of future wars.”