The week of February 14-20 marked the end of the second full month of the Trial and routine had settled in. The prosecution teams had all begun portions of their assignments and initial presentations had been completed. The Russians took the week to continue the presentations they had begun the week before. “The Russians continue to present their case. It sounds like the report on a Chinese flood…And ever so gory.” [p. 232, 2/14/1946] Dodd’s correspondence home reflected his mounting frustrations and difficulties with staff, prosecutors and the endless amount of work that kept him in the office when not in the courtroom.
It is in his correspondence that Dodd documents the behind the scenes interactions or closed sessions with the Tribunal that the more administrative facets that support what is going on in the courtroom emerge. “This morning we had a long session with the tribunal–a closed session at which both the defense and the prosecution were
represented. Justice Jackson and I represented the U.S. The purpose was to find ways and means to cut down the trial time without depriving the defendants of any rights to a fair trial.” [p. 233, 2/16/1946] It is likely that the shared interest in moving things along, but not at the expense of a fair trial, influenced Dodd’s long hours in the office as he struggled to organize the U.S. team. He regularly reports to Grace the arguments, posturing, clash of personalities and cultures, and general bad behavior between individuals forced to spend many hours together in confined spaces under stressful conditions. Over the course of the week, he writes
“This afternoon all of the chief and assistant prosecutors met in my office. The Russian was a young general and very difficult.” [p. 232, 2/14/1946] “John Amen–who is quite a windbag and thinks he is a great lawyer” [p. 233, 2/16/1946] “last night I had a blowup with General Gill” [p. 233, 2/16/1946] and concludes with “We are all fed up with this place and I suppose we fuss a good bit.” [p. 234, 2/16/1946]
The end is no where in sight, however, so it is hoped that the fussing is resolved and rough edges worn away as the lawyers on both sides dig in to move beyond the presentation of background and organizational cases and begin the preparation for the prosecution of the defendants.
–Owen Doremus and Betsy Pittman
[Owen Doremus, a junior at Edwin O. Smith High School, is supporting this blog series with research and writing as part of an independent study.]
The majority of the letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace have been published and can be found in Letters from Nuremberg, My father’s narrative of a quest for justice. Senator Christopher J. Dodd with Lary Bloom. New York: Crown Publishing, 2007.
Images available in Thomas J. Dodd Papers.