In November of 1945 at Nuremberg, Germany, the Allies were represented by various deputies who spoke our minds concerning what constituted justice in relation to the leaders of the German people, who were put on trial. These men were held for the most terrible crimes in the history of the World – among which was the extermination of the Jews on Europe’s mainland.
Adolph Eichmann, the German, generally considered to be the one most responsible for the carrying out of this crime was not present at these trials, he had disappeared.
Justice Jackson was the American representative as a judge at this court in Nuremberg, Germany. In relation to the overall picture of the war, with all its misery, violence, and crime; he considered the Jewish extermination to be simply another atrocity – a part of the great crime of international aggression, and the consequences of it.
He held that, due to the voluntary agreement between the nations made in 1928, which was called the “Pact of Paris” or the “Briand-Kellogg Pact, in which some 53 countries declared that they condemned war as a way of settling quarrels. They also agreed to solve all their disagreements in the future by peaceful means. It was, therefore, murder, said Jackson, for Goering to give troops illegal orders to kill Dutch troops. Under international law he had no right to give that order. We know, said he, that under American, German, and Dutch law it is illegal to murder.
Moreover, Mr. Jackson took the position that, since murder is a crime under every code of law, it is a crime under international law, or the law of all nations, and Goering was now to be tried under world law. Mr. Jackson contended that before the “Pact of Paris” no ruler was accountable except to his own government. If his country was defeated, he could not be punished by international law – but his country could. Mr. Jackson called this anarchy or the absence of law, be it then on an international scale. He wanted it to be a clearly established law of the world – that any citizen thereof, be he private citizen or emperor, king, or president, commissar or general, who wages a war of aggression, commits a crime for which he can be arrested and tried, the fact that he was an official in a sovereign power proves no defense.
Adolph Eichmann, who became a power in Nazi Germany, used this delegated power to accomplish his assignment, namely, the greatest mass murder in all history. He will go on trial in Israel, by Israeli intelligence, this coming April having been captured in Buenos Aires in May of 1959; fifteen years after his disappearance.
Eichmann is being held personally accountable for carrying out the orders which resulted in the killing of some 6,000,000 Jews. Undoubtedly Israel will seek to legally establish this, and will borrow considerably from Mr. Jackson’s position, even perhaps, making it their own.
What About All This?
Does that accountability which is peculiar to the way of God’s dealing with the children of men, as they are made up of nations, and as nations are responsible for their doings, come to its own under this type of jurisdiction? Can the German nation as it is made up of men, women, and children, the Nazi and the Anti-Nazi, the living and the unborn thus escape their mutual accountability? – I don’t think so. It just seems to me that this is more like the application of the thinking of the governmental theory of the atonement, expounded by Grotius; only now in relation to the German Nation and its leaders.
Let us then reflect and try to establish the time stetting of things. The German people, in spite of many who were certainly not in favor of the trend of things, when in 1933 the Reichstag lost all of its law-making powers to Hitler and his cabinet, nor that anti-sematic platform laid down by the National Socialist Party, were not mechanical stooges but German citizens. All of them were an organic part of the German nation which expressed itself thru the organizational set-up with Hitler as its head.
This holds true, even and although the Nazis did not gain control by a majority of their own in 1933, but had to combine with the National Party to gain control of the Reichstag. This Reichstag consisted of 472 members deputized by the people to act in their behalf. On March 23, 1933, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which turned the German Government in to a dictatorship. After this, opposition was either killed off, or it left the country.
At the time of Hitler’s rise there was great economic chaos all over the world, the great depression was on, and Germany had over 6,000,000 unemployed. No one seemed to know what to do about the certain economic and perhaps social ruin which lay ahead, except Hitler; and to most Germans he personified the solution. Hitler appears to have been a good organizer. Men of vision and capacity were placed in positions of authority; and soon Germany’s industrial and military might was on the way to recovery.
Germany felt herself to have become, under such dynamic leadership and with a superman complex, the destined ruler of the world, destined to inevitably change the course of history for a thousand years.
However, to achieve a permanent stability, the Jews, an international people with an identity peculiar to themselves, were considered to be a major obstacle. The Jews are a people with brains and ability and show it in every field of endeavor. They are generally reputed to work together for their best interest collectively in spite of a show which they may exhibit to the contrary. They usually succeed in maintaining themselves, without assimilation, with the people of whichever country they make their abode. As their rights as German citizens were gradually denied them, many left the country; but it appears that most of them considered this to be another phase in their long history of persecution which they have had to endure as God’s Messianic people and would again pass away.
“But It Didn’t Pass Away”
Germany took to war because of her so-called “lebensramn” problem. In this adventure of world conquest, an international people such as the Jews, with ability and brains plus influence in the World’s great powers, were it appears, considered a major threat.
Now we know that the propaganda which came from Goebel, the German minister of that particular branch of government operation, played an important role in directing their thinking. However, he too was an integral part of the German organizational setup calculated to attain the desired end.
And because every German citizen participated to the extent of his ability in whatsoever sphere of life God placed him. From the individual who contributed in a very limited way, because his abilities were small, to the most gifted organizer, from the lowly floor sweeper to the exalted scientist, all stand accountable for this mighty monster which they created. This guilt is equal. Thus also is their accountability because so did they all respond with their several abilities.
Therefore, to take some of their leaders and punish them is not the application of justice where it belongs, but it delivers Germany from an undesirable leadership, inimical to our interest, which the Germans would just as soon repudiate anyway, considering what a colossal failure they were, after so much blood, toil, and suffering.
Thus I differ from Justice Jackson who would hold individual leaders accountable, depending how close they were to the organizational set-up. He judges them as citizens of a world order with a Briand-Kellogg or Paris Pact as a mutually agreed upon basis. Whereas I hold that this Pact or the U.N., is made up of nations organically constituted, these nations, as nations, with all their organizational mechanics, make up the individuals held accountable by God and really by man too.
Until such a time when all the nations merge into one constituted whole with one government, and perhaps one leader, to merely execute judgment upon leaders of aggressive nations on the basis of Justice Jackson, is justice wrongly applied.
These are my thoughts on the matter, what are yours?