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Timeline of Events

International Military Tribunal

The defendants in the dock listen to the proceedings at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg.

The defendants in the dock listen to the proceedings at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of John W. Mosenthal

November 20, 1945

The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, begins a trial of 21 (of 24 indicted) major Nazi German leaders on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit each of these crimes. It is the first time that international tribunals are used as a postwar mechanism for bringing national leaders to justice. The word genocide is included in the indictment, but as a descriptive, not legal, term. Two defendants face the Allied prosecutors because of their propaganda activities: Hans Fritzsche and Julius Streicher. Their cases mark the first time in history that an international court prosecuted propagandists for their role in the commission of such murderous crimes.

"Never before in legal history has an effort been made to bring within the scope of a single litigation the developments of a decade, covering a whole continent, and involving a score of nations, countless individuals, and innumerable events."

US Chief Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson