IMT Records and Defendants

View of the defendants in the dock at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg.  PHOTO CREDIT: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.
View of the defendants in the dock at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg. PHOTO CREDIT: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.

The IMT's single case indicted 24 defendants, all charged with being “leaders, organizers [and] instigators [of] and accomplices” in the crimes defined in the Charter. They were chosen to represent a cross-section of Nazi diplomatic, economic, political, and military leadership. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels could not be tried because they committed suicide at the end of the war or soon afterwards. Hermann Göring was the highest ranking Nazi official among the defendants.

At trial, 21 defendants appeared in court. German industrialist Gustav Krupp was included in the original indictment, but he was elderly and in failing health. The Tribunal decided in preliminary hearings to exclude him from the proceedings, though he was later tried in the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, a series of 12 follow-up trials to the IMT, organized and conducted by the U.S. Army. Nazi Party secretary Martin Bormann could not be located. Bormann was thus tried in absentia and found guilty. Head of the German Labor Front Robert Ley committed suicide on the eve of the trial.

At the conclusion of proceedings, 19 of the defendants would be found guilty of at least one of the crimes charged. Twelve would be sentenced to death, with 10 of the sentences carried out. Göring would commit suicide prior to his execution, while Bormann was, 40 years later, proven to have died in Berlin in the last days of the war.

Adapted from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Joining the lead defendant, Reichsmarschall and Successor Designate to Hitler, Hermann Wilhelm Goering, were:

  • Rudolf Hess, former Deputy to the Führer;
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs;
  • Wilhelm Keitel, Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces;
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Head of the Reich Main Security Office and highest ranking officer of the Nazi party Schutzstaffel (SS) at Nuremberg;
  • Alfred Rosenberg, racial theory ideologist and Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories;
  • Hans Frank, Governor General of the Occupied Polish Territories;
  • Wilhelm Frick, Reich Minister of the Interior and Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia;
  • Julius Streicher, Editor-in-Chief of the antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer;
  • Walther Funk, Reich Minister of Economics and President of the German Reichsbank;
  • Hjalmar Schacht, former Reich Minister of Economics and President of the German Reichsbank;
  • Karl Doenitz, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy and, briefly, successor to Hitler as Head of the German Government;
  • Erich Raeder, former Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy;
  • Baldur von Schirach, Head of the Hitler Youth;
  • Fritz Sauckel, Plenipotentiary of the Nazi slave-labour programme;
  • Alfred Jodl, Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces Operations Department;
  • Franz von Papen, former Reich Chancellor and Vice Chancellor;
  • Arthur Seyss- Inquart, Reich Commissar for the Occupied Netherlands;
  • Albert Speer, Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions and Hitler’s chief architect;
  • Konstantin von Neurath, Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs and later Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia; and
  • Hans Fritzsche, Ministerialdirektor of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda.