What Was the Result of the Nuremberg Trials?

result-nuremberg-trials Credit: Frank Kovalchek/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the Nuremberg trials resulted in 19 convictions of the 22 defendants on trial. Twelve received the death penalty, three received sentences of life imprisonment and the remaining four convictions resulted in sentences of 10 to 20 years. In addition, a 23rd defendant was found unfit to stand trial, while the 24th committed suicide before the proceedings began.

After the initial round of trials at Nuremberg, several additional trials were held for less-prominent war criminals of the Nazi regime, including doctors, judges, businessmen and SS officers. However, these subsequent proceedings were held by United States military tribunals, not the international tribunals that administered the original trials at Nuremberg.

Of the 185 defendants in these subsequent proceedings, 12 received the death penalty, seven were sentenced to life imprisonment and 77 received prison terms of varying lengths for their crimes during the war. Many of these sentences were eventually reduced in the years after the trials. The death penalty at Nuremberg was carried out by hanging, despite some countries preferring the use of a military firing squad.

In addition to punishing those guilty of crimes against humanity during World War II, the Nuremberg trials also set an important precedent for international justice that would influence later tribunals.