High Command Trial

High Command Trial

__NOTOC__The High Command Trial (or, officially, "The United States of America vs. Wilhelm von Leeb, et al." [Also known as initially as [http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/WCC/warcrimgenrls.htm Case No. 12] (the 13 Generals’ trial), and later as [http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/WCC/ghctrial1.htm Case No. 72] (The German high command trial: Trial of Wilhelm von Leeb and thirteen others)] ) was the last of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. [There was also a "High Command Case" in the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal. In "that" case, the German supreme command of the armed forces (OKW – "Oberkommando Wehrmacht") was acquitted of the charge of having been a criminal organization.] These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).

The accused in this trial were all high-ranking generals of the German "Wehrmacht" (one was a former Admiral) and former members of the High Command of Nazi Germany's military forces. They were charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war.

The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal V-A, were John C. Young (presiding judge) from Colorado, Winfield B. Hale from Tennessee, and Justin W. Harding from Alaska. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor. The indictment was filed on November 28, 1947; the trial lasted from December 30 that year until October 28, 1948. Of the 14 defendants indicted, two were acquitted on all counts. Johannes Blaskowitz committed suicide during the trial. The remaining nine defendants received prison sentences ranging from three years including time served to lifetime imprisonment.


The accused faced four charges of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:

# Crimes against peace by waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.
# War crimes by being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents.
# Crimes against humanity by participating or ordering the murder, torture, deportation, hostage-taking, etc. of civilians in occupied countries.
# Participating and organizing the formulations and execution of a common plan and conspiracy to commit aforementioned crimes.

All defendants were indicted on all counts; they all pleaded "not guilty".

Count 4 of the indictment—the conspiracy charge—was soon dropped by the tribunal because it was already covered by the other charges.

On count 1, the tribunal considered all accused not guilty, stating that they were not the policy-makers and that preparing for war and fighting a war "on orders" was not a criminal offense under the applicable international law of the time.


I — Indicted G — Indicted and found guilty

All sentences included time already served in custody since April 7, 1945.

ee also

*Command responsibility
*Subsequent Nuremberg Trials


*" [http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/WCC/ghctrial1.htm Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, Vol. XII, 1949] " of the United Nations War Crimes Commission.
* [http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/cntrl10_trials.htm#Command Another description]


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