The end draws near [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

Tom Dodd’s travels continued throughout September 1946.  After leaving Switzerland, he arrived in Cannes, France by September 19th.  Writing home, he notes that “Cannes is a very, very lovely place.  Everything you read about the brevity of the female bathing suits is true–and worse.  They are all practically nude–really.  I am more accustomed to it tonight–after two days on the beach–but the first session had all of us a bit uneasy.” [p. 355, 9/19/1946]  Sunbathing was left behind as they toured Nice and on to Monaco.  Continue reading

A ramble through Europe [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

On September 1, 1946, Tom Dodd wrote his wife to reassure her that he was not neglecting her but that the “last few weeks have been very difficult” for him with Justice Jackson gone. Dodd has had “to carry on in court and take care of the many matters that he [Jackson] handled outside of court and the entertaining alone has been killing.” [p. 349, 9/1/1946]  With his final presentation to the court completed on 29 August, Dodd began wrapping up his responsibilities–especially the exchange of social obligations amongst the members of the prosecution teams.  Despite the pressures associated with the coming conclusion of the trial, Tom reminded Grace that he plans “to get away from here just as soon as the trial is over with–that is, when the sentences are pronounced.” [p. 350-351, 9/1/1946] Continue reading

Dodd’s final argument for the U.S. [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

On August 29th, twelve days after his predicted date, Thomas Dodd gave his final argument for the U.S. on the organizations.

“Since the 20th day of November 1945, this International Military Tribunal has been in almost continual session. In these many months, a record of more than 15,000 pages has been compiled. Over 300,000 affidavits have been submitted; about 3,000 documents have been offered and oral testimony has been heard from some 200 witnesses. This great mass of evidence, oral and written, almost exclusively of German origin, has established beyond question the commission of the crimes of criminal conspiracy, aggressive war, mass murder, slave labor, racial and religious persecutions, and brutal mistreatment of millions of innocent people. Continue reading

A second summer away [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

On 17 August, Tom wrote to his dearest Grace, “The past week has dragged.  I had hoped to close the testimony by today but now it looks like another ten days or two weeks.  But I believe the judgment will come down very quickly.”  He continues to work on his final argument, but “Once I get the argument finished, all else should be easy sailing.” [pp. 346-347]  As if the mention of sailing has called up fond memories, he continues,

The summer is nearly over–a second summer away from you.  How I miuss that time in New England and how I wish I could be there just for this weekend.  I simply refuse to fix my departure day–even for myself.  I cannot tell yet.  It cannot be too long.


Portion of a letter, 8/17/1946

Portion of a letter, 8/17/1946

–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.

Two hundredth day [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

10 August 1946 marked the two hundredth day of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Over the course of the past months, millions of pages of documentation had been collected and distributed, thousands of pages of recorded testimony had been recorded and hundreds of witnesses brought before the court. This morning saw the continuation of the testimony of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group South. Similar to others testifying regarding the Nazi organizations indicted, von Manstein supported the claim that the German armed forces were not to be held responsible for the atrocities committed during hostilities. Continue reading

Final Summation 26 July 1946 [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

70 Years ago today, Justice Robert Jackson delivered his final presentation of the trial before returning to the United States. According to Tom Dodd, “He has a great style, notable for its clarity and simplicity. In my judgment, his argument will take its place among the great arguments that have been made in great cases.” [p. 340, 7/28/1946] Continue reading

Mask of the doomed [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

Tom Dodd began what would be a very long letter to his wife on 16 July 1946.  Acknowledging that it had been several days since his last letter, Tom continues, “we have been working on the final speech of the Justice and it has been close work and tiring, too.  As far as the trial goes there is really little new–the defense final arguments go on.  Today we are through with more than ten of them and we may finish all by the end of this week.” [p. 335, 7/16/1946]  Speculating on the conclusion of the trial is premature given the variables of the situation is the conclusion to be drawn from Tom’s letter as he continues to report on his activities and the overall atmosphere of the Court. Continue reading

Plausible deniability? [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

On the 15th of July, the defense for Funk continued his summation for the Court, having begun the previous week.  Dr. Sauter, the defense counsel, stressed the point that even as President of the Reichsbank, he would have no direct knowledge of the specific deposits, either value or content, made by any depositor–regardless of the depositor’s position or status.

“Now, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, I turn to the last chapter of my appraisal of the Defendant Funk, of his motives and actions, and will now deal with the gold deliveries by the SS to the Reichsbank, and with the relation of the Defendant Funk to the concentration camp question.”  Continue reading

The main juridical and fundamental problem [70 Years after Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

“The Fourth of July in Germany passes quite unnoticed. The soldiers made it a holiday — there was a ballgame this afternoon, airplanes flew overhead this morning and tonight Judge Parker is giving a party. but the court went on as usual.” p. 334 7/4/1946

Despite the completion of the direct defense and cross examination of the defendants, arguments continued to be presented regarding “the main juridical and fundamental problem of this Trial concerns war as a function forbidden by international law; the breach of peace as treason perpetrated upon the world constitution.”  And so the morning session continued on as usual on the Fourth of July 1946.

Continue reading