The swing of the pendulum [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

Routine continued as the defense of Karl Doenitz began on May 8th and continued through the next day.  Cross-examination was the responsibility of Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe and began on May 10th, the 126th day of the Nuremberg Trial. Court recessed later in the afternoon, after which Dodd and others flew to Prague.

We had a fine trip down and arrived about five p.m.  We went to the Ancron Hotel where I stayed last January.  Yesterday morning we all breakfasted early and at nine thirty were taken

Awards presented to Dodd

to the War office and there we were decorated with much ceremony.  I was awarded the highest award that can be given to a civilian foreigner–the Order of the White Lion 3rd Class! [p. 301, 5/12/1946]

The emotional pendulum between the tension of the courtroom–defense and cross-examination–as Doenitz tried to explain the activities of the German Navy and the exultation the Americans saw in Prague, however prosaically written,  must have been exhausting. “[U]p I went on their shoulders and they paraded about the courtyard singing and cheering.  Then up came the festive bottle and I took a good swig as they cheered some more.” [p. 302, 5/12/1946]

Witnesses resumed testimony on the 14th Tom reports to Grace.  In the same paragraph he continues, “On Saturday night, two young soldiers were killed….shot by hidden assailants.”   The workaday, and now mundane, details of the trial are stark in contrast with the understanding that “there have been some ten or fifteen soldiers murdered since last summer.”  And to compound the grief, Tom writes that he is acquainted with the family of one of the young soldiers–Bill Timmons of New Haven–who was due to go home the same day Tom sent the news.  [p. 304, 5/14/1946]  A clear demonstration that although the leaders and regime had fallen, the tragedy of war continued.

Portion of a letter, 5/14/1946

Portion of a letter, 5/14/1946


–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.

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