November 20 - 1945 - The Nuremberg Trials Begin
The International Military Tribunal was specifically organized to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity against Nazi Party leaders immediately after World War II. The Allied Powers sought to punish the Germans who had been the key agressors of the war. They also knew that the Nazis were anti-Semitic and had been persecuting Jews in some ways, and there was clear evidence of war crimes committed by Nazi soldiers. Yet actually putting together an international court was extraordinarily difficuclt. Many key figures had already died, most notably Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels. The British, American, French, and Soviet authorities who were in charge did not agree on the best approach. There were also Nazi leaders who were willing to provide evidence themselves. In the end, of the 24 men brought to trial at Nuremberg, twelve were sentenced to death and seven others were given lengthy prison sentences for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.