Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

This lecture covers the background of Robert H. Jackson and the story of "Nuremberg," which is Jackson's Nuremberg. The program of this Nuremberg conference states that Prof. Barrett will speak about "The Crucial Role of Robert H. Jackson." In fact, there were multiple Jackson roles at Nuremberg—many, many roles and moments were encompassed in the undertaking that has come to be so significant historically that the primary, global meaning of the word "Nuremberg" today is, and probably always will be, the 1945-46 international trial of the principal surviving Nazi criminals. Justice Jackson's Nuremberg was over 15 months of full time involvement in an unprecedented, post-World War, two continent, five major world capital, wreckage-strewn, military occupied, twenty-plus nation, alliance-based, alliance fraying, four language, multi-million page, prisoner-inundated, debris- and body- and victim-surrounded, cold, hungry and unsafe, Nazi-fearing, Germany-fearing, World War Ill-fearing, fact-finding, institution creating, law building, crime defining, criminal guilt proving, punishment imposing and historical record publishing human endeavor. Given all of that, to understand "Nuremberg"—Jackson’s Nuremberg roles and the 1945-46 proceedings before the International Military Tribunal ("IMT")—really requires one to look at Nuremberg not merely as a sixty-year-old finished product, preserved in the London conference record in forty-two volumes of trial transcripts, in ten volumes of trial briefs, documentary exhibits and interrogation transcripts and in the IMT's judgment, all of which sit on library shelves throughout the world and much of which is available in virtual form on the Internet. History should see and remember Nuremberg from the front end: as it unfolded, and as Justice Jackson unfolded it; as something that was far from easy or foregone; and as something that in many ways could have turned out very differently. This sense of the contingency of Nuremberg is captured in many moments. Nuremberg was about that soup, and about flailing in it, and about managing to swim well enough not to drown in it, and thus about accomplishing what is commemorated today. Nuremberg was all of the dimensions that I have mentioned, including many, many people. At the top, however, Nuremberg was Robert H. Jackson—its course, its accomplishments and thus its legacy bear too distinctly the qualities and imprint of Jackson himself as Nuremberg's distinctly gifted, and distinctly human, architect, chief prosecutor and leading figure to overlook this personal identification.

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