On October 1, 1946, the trial ended in Nuremberg which went down in history as the International Military Tribunal, the Court of Nations. It legally confirmed the ultimate defeat of Nazism.
The trial was among the most important political and legal results of the defeat of Nazi Germany. The importance of this event for humankind cannot be overestimated. For the first time in history, the preparation, planning, unleashing and waging of an aggressive war were qualified as crimes against humanity, the personal responsibility of the top officials of the state for committing them was recognised, and a legal definition for genocide was established.
It is critically important that the historic goal of this process was to administer justice against the key initiators and perpetrators of Nazi atrocities; in no case was it revenge against the German people who, to a certain extent, were held hostage to Hitler’s policies themselves.
The unanimity of the Allies was the key factor in the Nuremberg trials success at all their stages, from the creation to the evaluation of the outcomes.
The Nuremberg trials had a significant impact on international legal practice and modern international law. The conceptual rulings of the tribunal were adopted by the UN as underlying principles for post-war international humanitarian and criminal law and have remained legally and politically significant.
The verdicts of the Nuremberg Tribunal remain fully relevant today with the ever increasing attempts to revise WWII history, to equate the responsibility of the aggressors and the liberators, victims and executioners, and to elevate war criminals to the rank of hero. These attempts must be resolutely rebuffed. Rewriting the history of WWII, revising the outcomes, or justifying the Nazis and their accomplices or the atrocities they committed is unacceptable. The historic significance of the Nuremberg trials is enduring, and its outcomes are not subject to revision.