November 20, 1945: Nuremberg Trials Begin
On this day in 1945, twenty-four high-ranking Nazis went on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, for the horrific crimes committed during World War II. The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by an international tribune made up of representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain. The proceedings lasted ten months and consisted of 216 court sessions. All defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On October 1, 1946, twelve Nazi war criminals were sentenced to death, seven were sentenced to prison terms ranging from ten years to life, and three were acquitted.
Explore American Experience’s “Nazis on Trial in Nuremberg,” which features the trial of the most important defendant, Hitler’s acknowledged successor, Hermann Göring.
Photo: National Archives