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Fighting Justice at Dachau: U.S. War Crimes Trial Policies and Cold War Politics in the Concentration Camp Trial of 'Nordhausen-Dora', 1947

Grieb, C; (2017) Fighting Justice at Dachau: U.S. War Crimes Trial Policies and Cold War Politics in the Concentration Camp Trial of 'Nordhausen-Dora', 1947. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

An underrepresented aspect of German studies of the post-World War II era is how, and why the interests of the U.S. intelligence in the early Cold War era obstructed the U.S. war crimes trial programme at Dachau. The politicisation of the American war crimes trial programme at Dachau (1944-1948) has not yet been fully recognised in historical studies of post-Nazi Germany. Legal and historical research methods are applied in this thesis to inquire into the legal foundation of U.S. war crimes trial policies for Germany and into the consequences of conflicting U.S. military intelligence policies for the U.S. military war crimes trial programme in Germany. In the last atrocity case tried in the autumn of 1947, USA v. KURT ANDRAE et al., a key focus of the trial was the forced labour programme for the secret missile weapon production in the underground Mittelwerk plant and the crimes committed in the attached concentration camp complex of Mittelbau-Dora. It promised to be a text book case for the application of the legal concept of ‘common design’ to commit war crimes in the Nazi armament programme. However, the trial was a failure. It was obstructed by clandestine intelligence operations for German missile technology during the investigations and the trial, and by competing interests among the U.S. Army departments in Washington and Germany. Washington’s interests in the protection of both seized Nazi missile technology and Nazi scientists clashed with the Deputy Judge Advocate for War Crimes (European Command) office’s interest in a successful prosecution at Dachau. This case study illuminates the significance of intelligence operations in creating limits for achievable justice in war crimes trials. It would appear that whenever extra-judicial agendas are declared of superior importance, justice and historical truth are sacrificed for the appearance of adequate judicial procedures.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Fighting Justice at Dachau: U.S. War Crimes Trial Policies and Cold War Politics in the Concentration Camp Trial of 'Nordhausen-Dora', 1947
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532863
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