University of Cambridge > > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > The Dachau Trials: an introduction to sentencing practices.

The Dachau Trials: an introduction to sentencing practices.

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The American military conducted trials at the former concentration camp at Dachau in Allied-occupied Germany from November 1945 – December 1947. The tribunal program included 240 trials involving 1045 defendants from the ranks of camp personnel from the concentration camps in the American zone of occupation, namely Dachau, Mauthausen, Flossenburg, Buchenwald, and Nordhausen. For the trials at Dachau, the American army lawyers, led by William Dowdell Densen, chose to frame their prosecution of Nazi criminals on the tradition of international laws of war instead of on the new interpretation of criminal law, particularly the idea of crimes against humanity, developed for the Nuremberg trials. The initial sentences, and reviews of those sentences, were the result of a series of judgments made by American military personnel designed to ensure a fair trial and just punishment for the offenders. This was considered of primary importance to the military’s two, potentially dichotomous, goals of punishing war offenses while pacifying potential German agitation in the American zone of occupation. This paper will focus on the sentences at the Dachau trials.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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