: U. S. Military
: 62.48 MB
This study explores the complicit role the German judiciary played in the rise of the National Socialist Party--known as the Nazis--the legalization and enablement of the Holocaust, and other programs to purify the German Volk. After World War I, Germany forcibly evolved to a democracy. During this period of chaos, the German judiciary was extremely anti-republican and their verdicts reflected this bias. After Hitler's rise, the judiciary legally enabled the Nazis. The judiciary was ultimately complicit in legalizing murder, stripping individual rights, regulating marriage, and supporting all Nazi discriminatory practices. In 1942, Hitler formally stripped the judiciary of its independence, announcing the removal of judges if they failed to uphold the law to his satisfaction. For the remainder of the war, the judiciary complied with all laws and directives. In January 1947, the senior jurists faced the same charges as the primary leaders of the Nazi government, the armed forces, and the medical community. During the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, the high-ranking judiciary members raised the defense that they were only enforcing the laws of the state as their sworn duty. Ten of the sixteen tried were convicted and sentenced to prison sentences. All were released by 1956.CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION * The German Judicial Construct before 1933 * Other Legal Differences * The Weimar Republic * The Origin of the Weimar Republic * The Treaty of Versailles * The Judiciary * The Application of Laws * Hitler and the Law * The Path to the Third Reich * CHAPTER 2 - LEGAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE THIRD REICH * The Reichstag Fire and Trial * Changing the Laws * Legal Educators * The Oath * Prisons, Penitentiaries, and Concentration Camps * CHAPTER 3 - LAW IN THE THIRD REICH * The Nuremberg Laws * Establishment of the Volksgerichtshof * Legal Sterilization and T4 Programs * The Final Evolution of the German Legal System * CHAPTER 4 - NUREMBERG AND BEYOND * Historical Background to Nuremberg * Nuremberg Tribunals * The International Military Tribunal (IMT) * Nuremberg Military Tribunals * The Justice Trial * De-Nazification of the German Legal System * CHAPTER 5 - CONCLUSION/LESSONS LEARNEDThe German judiciary has much to account for in the early years of the Weimar Republic and it capitulated completely to the ideals and goals of the Third Reich. This thesis studies the trajectory of the law and judges during the Weimar Republic, a time of much upheaval within German society, followed by a review of the laws and cases of the 1930s after the Nazis came to power; this is a critical connection between the judiciary and the emboldening of the Nazis. Finally, this exploration provides analysis of the judiciary during World War II and links earlier legal decisions as concessions of power. It is imperative to study this fall from legal grace to educate and build awareness to prevent it from occurring again. In the words of BG Telford Taylor, "Great as was their crime against those who died or suffered at their hands, their crime against Germany was even more shameful. They defiled the German Temple of justice, and delivered Germany into the dictatorship of the Third Reich, 'with all its methods of terror, and its cynical and open denial of the rule of law'."