Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

Excerpt

The whole conception of war crimes gained prominence after World War II when the victorious Allied powers together prosecuted and judged the principal surviving German war leaders at Nuremberg. There has been a revival of interest in the Nuremberg idea since the Vietnam War. North Vietnam threatened at one time to prosecute captured American pilots as war criminals; Bertrand Russell organized a tribunal of inquiry which passed judgment on the American leadership responsible for executing war policies in Vietnam; and draft resisters and other opponents of the war in the United States have generally based their positions, in part at least, on the Nuremberg idea of complicity in a criminal war and in crimes of war.

In this section we offer some central materials arising out of the efforts after World War II to hold leaders of Germany and Japan responsible for war crimes. The questions raised after World War II in relation to war crimes are a very relevant part of the present discussion. The position of the United States Government has changed. After World War II the United States took the lead in urging that the action against the German and Japanese leaders and wrongdoers would create a precedent for the future. What opinions are held today about the wisdom of such a precedent? Who are the criminals? What means are available for their apprehension and punishment?

The first three short selections are all part of the buildup to Nuremberg after World War II. Of particular interest is President Roosevelt's appeal to the German people to collect evidence of war crimes that might be of use in postwar prosecutions.

THE MOSCOW DECLARATION ON GERMAN ATROCITIES, 1943

The United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union have received from many quarters evidence of atrocities, massacres and cold-blooded mass executions which are being perpetrated by the Hitlerite forces in the many countries they have overrun and from which they are now being steadily expelled. The brutalities of Hitlerite domination are no new thing and all the peoples or territories in their grip have suf-

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