HUMA 1825 Note 10
Judgment at Nuremberg:
- A city in Germany (medieval dating from the middle ages)
- It was practically destroyed during WWII.
- Nuremburg Rallies were held in here, and these were Nazi rallies (1933)
after Hitler was chosen to power.
- Nuremburg is also infamous because of its racial laws:
o Passed based on race: notably they concerned how to define groups.
These laws were necessary because of the intermarriage and
conversions that have taken place.
- It was also the location of the trials. These took place after the Germans were
o There were four countries that sat on the bench.
France, UK, USSR, and US sat on it.
o They tried the leaders against crimes against humanity, conspiracy to
wage aggressive war, war crimes, doctor’s experimentations trials,
and then they judged the lawyers, judges and ministers of justice
- This film deals with the subject of laws that were passed as a result of the
Regime’s power, not because of them being “moral” laws
o Creon’s law: consider it a power-to-do-it type of law, despite everyone
telling him that it is not the right thing to do.
Nazi laws do the same thing (castration, racial and wartime
crimes, not because of moral reasons, but instead because of
o There are laws that are put into place by someone who can do so.
However, there were forced sterilization of people in USA and
Canada) Buck v. Bell 1927 who were deemed to be mentally
Holmes concluded his decision of “three generations of
idiots is enough”
o This movie has a Kafkaesque theme where people are charged,
convicted and killed for crimes that they didn’t commit
o There’s a theme of ignorance: Aristotle talks about the defence and
culpability of ignorance: people who didn’t know
Willful ignorance or controlled stupidity: you could know, but
you chose not to know.
This isn’t a real defence
o The principle theme is the debate of legal positivism and natural law
Prosecution makes arguments on natural law: law must be
moral to be considered law and just
Consider Aquinas and St. Augustine: an unjust law is no
law at all. Legal positivists in where the accused says an argument (as
best he can) for judges not to make the law, they interpret the
law. They’re not responsible for it they simply apply it.
If Ernst is guilty, then everyone is guilty