This piece, like most entries in a diary, was written in the mood of
the moment and probably has many of the faults and--it may be
--some of the virtues of anything that is composed under such
circumstances. That cold, dismal day amidst the debris of Nurem-
berg, November 20, 1945, was, as I wrote, a climax. Justice did
seem to have caught up with these evil little men who had tried to
enslave or destroy our world.
Since I had watched them in their barbarous pursuits, noted
closely how they had behaved in their moment of monstrous power
and vain glory and had sometimes despaired that they might get
away with their hideous crimes, I felt a certain emotion when I saw
them in the dock for the first time. This feeling, I suppose, colors
my description of the scene.
I also felt that this was a rather important and dramatic moment
in contemporary history. The trial, as Lord Justice Lawrence, who
presided over it, observed, was unique in the history of jurispru-
dence. One felt a certain excitement at being present, especially
when one had lived through so many of the events which had finally
led to this court-room and to what was about to take place in it.
The interest in this excerpt, if any there be, lies, I should think,
in its being a recording of an historic scene by one who happened to
be present. It was scribbled hastily and under the particular feelings
which gripped me that day. Other observers no doubt saw it dif-
ferently--a Nazi German, for instance.
The editor has asked whether after nearly five years my feelings
toward the trial, the defendants and the fate they met have changed.
I cannot honestly say they have. It is fashionable now to discredit
the Nuremberg trial. Some even consider it to have been a beastly
crime against the Germans. My own considered opinion is that
justice, for once, was not badly served.
WILLIAM L. SHIRER