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A few months after the end of World War II, with the international community outraged at the atrocities committed by Germany, trials against war criminals were convened in Nuremberg, the symbolic seat of Nazism. There was a series of 12 trials, but the first was the most prominent. Top military and governmental figures including Goering, Hess, Von Ribbentrop, and Durnitz were among those first prosecuted. Later trials followed against doctors, bankers, industrialists, and others.
Entirely composed of historical footage, including some newly discovered archival films, Nuremberg brings to life the challenge of administering justice when crimes are on such a massive scale. Fifty-five million people had been killed in World War II, seven million civilians in the Soviet Union alone. Although the first trial concluded successfully with death or imprisonment for those found guilty, the subsequent trials were compromised by Cold War politics. The Soviet Union was now regarded as a threat by its former allies and a reconstructed Germany was to be a buffer. Many imprisoned Germans were pardoned and restored to power if they were considered useful to the West. In the end, the Cold War overturned the American commitment to justice.
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