The Nüremberg trial, background and why interpreting was key to its unfolding
On the 8th of August 1945, a mere three months after the victory of the Allied forces over Nazi Germany, the four major victorious powers (Great-Britain, the United States of America, the Soviet Union and France) signed the “London Agreement”. This agreement led to the establisment of a International Military Court, which aimed at trying and sentencing German war criminals (1).
The choice of venue was highly symbolical as Nuremberg had been, until recently, the pride of Nazism, the very city where the Nazi party held its congresses and, importantly, where Hitler had promulgated in 1935 the “laws of Nuremberg” that served as a backbone to the Reich’s racist ideology (2). The town was now reduced to ruins and ashes. A series of trials took place in Nüremberg but the first and most important one lasted from 20 November 1945 to the 1st October 1946, it spanned over 402 sessions and 22 of the most influential men of Nazism were juged on 4 different charges:
1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
3. War crimes
4. Crimes against humanity (3).
By then it had become public knowledge that the accused, considered “major war criminals” because of the positions they held were responsible for death and destruction throughout Europe as well as enslaving and exterminating more than 10 million men, women and children outside the battlefield. As such, public opinion was incredibly biased against them and many believed that these men should have been executed without a trial, including W. Churchill himself who would have had t...
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16. Gaiba, F. 1998. The origins of simulaneous interpretation: the Nüremberg trial. University of Ottawa Press.
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