The early days of December 1945 saw a series of opening statements outlining the major counts of the indictment as well as those being brought against organizations such as the SS and Gestapo. Although not necessarily exciting, the presentations served to outline the case and evidence to support the indictments against the Nazis and the Third Reich, as well as their allies, collaborators and specific actions leading up to and throughout the years of World War II.
On December 5th, 1945, Chief British Prosecutor Harley Shawcross began his opening statement for the case of Conspiracy to Commit Aggressive War. Dodd wrote that the Attorney General of Great Britain “did a lawyer like presentation and his presentation was well received.” [pg. 209, 12/6/1945]. The following day, Sidney Alderman continue his presentation on the aggression against Czechoslovakia. “[H]e is so slow and he drones on by the hour”, Dodd continued in his letter to Grace. Alderman was expected to wrap up his continuing presentation about Japanese aggression against the U.S. and German aggression against
Russia the following week. Dodd was expecting to begin his presentation on slave labor, to be followed by his statement on concentration camps once Alderman concluded.
On a more personal note, the holidays were approaching and the staff was unsure if the court would take a recess in observance. If there was to be a break, Tom hoping to be granted permission to make a quick trip home to spend Christmas with his family in Connecticut.
It is to be noted that tomorrow marks the 67th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris (10 December 1948). The Declaration came into existence as a result of the Second World War and the Crimes against Humanity illuminated during the International Military Tribunals.
–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.