Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
High Command Trial

High Command Trial

Discussion
Ask a question about 'High Command Trial'
Start a new discussion about 'High Command Trial'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The High Command Trial was the last of the twelve trials for war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 after the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials were a series of twelve U.S...

" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).

The accused in this trial were all high-ranking generals of the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

(one was a former Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

) and former members of the High Command of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's military forces. They were charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war.

The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal V-A, were John C. Young (presiding judge) from Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Winfield B. Hale from Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, and Justin W. Harding from Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor
Telford Taylor
Telford Taylor was an American lawyer best known for his role in the Counsel for the Prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, his opposition to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, and his outspoken criticism of U.S...

. The indictment
Indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

 was filed on November 28, 1947; the trial lasted from December 30 that year until October 28, 1948. Of the 14 defendants indicted, two were acquitted on all counts. Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Albrecht Blaskowitz was a German general during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

 committed suicide during the trial. The remaining nine defendants received prison sentences ranging from three years including time served to lifetime imprisonment.

Indictment


The accused faced four charges of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:
  1. Crimes against peace by waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.
  2. War crimes by being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents.
  3. Crimes against humanity by participating or ordering the murder, torture, deportation, hostage-taking, etc. of civilians in occupied countries.
  4. Participating and organizing the formulations and execution of a common plan and conspiracy to commit aforementioned crimes.


All defendants were indicted on all counts; they all pleaded "not guilty".

Count 4 of the indictment—the conspiracy charge—was soon dropped by the tribunal because it was already covered by the other charges.

On count 1, the tribunal considered all accused not guilty, stating that they were not the policy-makers and that preparing for war and fighting a war on orders was not a criminal offense under the applicable international law of the time.

Defendants

Name Function Charges Sentence
    1234  
Wilhelm von Leeb Former Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 (until 1941)
I I G I 3 years' imprisonment; released after the trial-died 1956
Hugo Sperrle
Hugo Sperrle
Hugo Sperrle was a German field marshal of the Luftwaffe during World War II. His forces were deployed solely on the Western Front and the Mediterranean throughout the war...

Former Field Marshal I I I I acquitted-died 1953
Georg von Küchler
Georg von Küchler
Georg Karl Friedrich Wilhelm von Küchler was a German Field Marshal during the Second World War. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...

Former Field Marshal I G G I 20 years' imprisonment; reduced to 12 years in 1951; released 1953 due to medical reasons-died 1968.
Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Albrecht Blaskowitz was a German general during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

Former Generaloberst I I I I Committed suicide during the trial on February 5, 1948
Hermann Hoth
Hermann Hoth
Hermann "Papa" Hoth was an officer in the German military from 1903 to 1945. He attained the rank of Generaloberst during World War II. He fought in France, but is most noted for his later exploits as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front...

Former Generaloberst I G G I 15 years' imprisonment; released 1954-died 1971.
Georg-Hans Reinhardt
Georg-Hans Reinhardt
Georg-Hans Reinhardt was a German general of World War II. He commanded Third Panzer Army from 1941 to 1944, and Army Group Centre in 1944 and 1945. His highest rank was Generaloberst . He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

Former Generaloberst I G G I 15 years' imprisonment; released 1952-died 1963.
Hans von Salmuth
Hans von Salmuth
Hans Eberhard Kurt von Salmuth was a German general during World War II. A lifelong professional soldier, he served his country as a junior officer in World War I, a staff officer in the inter-war period and early World War II, and an army level commander...

Former Generaloberst I G G I 20 years' imprisonment; reduced to 12 years in 1951, released in 1953-died 1962
Karl-Adolf Hollidt
Karl-Adolf Hollidt
Karl-Adolf Hollidt was a German commander during the Second World War.-Early life:His father was a local secondary school teacher and he was educated in his hometown of Speyer...

Former Generaloberst I G G I 5 years' imprisonment; released December 22, 1949-died 1985
Otto Schniewind
Otto Schniewind
Otto Schniewind was a General Admiral with the Kriegsmarine during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross . The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.-Career:Schniewind entered the...

Former Admiral I I I I acquitted-died 1964
Karl von Roques Former Generalleutnant I G G I 20 years' imprisonment; died December 24, 1949.
Hermann Reinecke
Hermann Reinecke
Hermann Reinecke was a General der Infanterie of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II.He was a former Lieutenant General and the head of the General Office of the Armed Forces at OKW ...

Former Generalleutnant; head of the General Office of the Armed Forces at OKW (Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt, AWA), also head of the office for the NSFO (National-Sozialistische Führungs-Offiziere, Nazi officers charged with political propaganda in the Wehrmacht) I G G I lifetime imprisonment; released 1954-died 1973
Walter Warlimont
Walter Warlimont
Walter Warlimont was a German officer known for his role in the OKW inner circle .-World War I:...

Former Generalleutnant; deputy head of the Wehrmacht-Führungsstab (WMFS), the Armed Forces Operations Staff. I G G I lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 18 years in 1951; released 1954-died 1976.
Otto Wöhler
Otto Wöhler
Otto Wöhler was a German general of infantry, serving during World War I and World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves...

Former Generalleutnant I G G I 8 years' imprisonment; released 1951-died 1987
Rudolf Lehmann Former Generalleutnant, Judge Advocate-General of the OKW and as such responsible for the elaboration of the Commissar order
Commissar Order
The Commissar Order was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. Its official name was Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars...

, the Barbarossa order, and others.
I G G I 7 years' imprisonment-died July 26,1955

I — Indicted   G — Indicted and found guilty

All sentences included time already served in custody since April 7, 1945.