Invasion of Poland
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, in Germany as the Poland Campaign, was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union; the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak military forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia; as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established defense lines to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was limited. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded Eastern Poland, the territory that fell into the Soviet "sphere of influence" according to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland; the success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, started a campaign of Sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizations formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. On 30 January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. While the Weimar Republic had long sought to annex territories belonging to Poland, it was Hitler's own idea and not a realization of Weimar plans to invade and partition Poland, annex Bohemia and Austria, create satellite or puppet states economically subordinate to Germany.
As part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitler's foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a cooperative front against the Soviet Union. Poland would be granted territory to its northeast in Ukraine and Belarus if it agreed to wage war against the Soviet Union, but the concessions the Poles were expected to make meant that their homeland would become dependent on Germany, functioning as little more than a client state; the Poles feared that their independence would be threatened altogether. How can they demand the rights of independent states?"The population of the Free City of Danzig was in favour of annexation by Germany, as were many of the ethnic German inhabitants of the Polish territory that separated the German exclave of East Prussia from the rest of the Reich.
The so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, inhabited by a Polish majority. The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans wanted the urban port city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig city had a German majority, had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City. Hitler sought to use this as casus belli, a reason for war, reverse the post-1918 territorial losses, on many occasions had appealed to German nationalism, promising to "liberate" the German minority still in the Corridor, as well as Danzig; the invasion was referred to by Germany as the 1939 Defensive War since Hitler proclaimed that Poland had attacked Germany and that "Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier."Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement, although they were not part of the agreement.
It coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 249,023. Kiel lies 90 kilometres north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centres of Germany. For instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, the biggest sailing event in the world; the Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in the Bay of Kiel. Kiel has been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy's Baltic fleet, continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding centre. Located in Kiel is the GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel at the University of Kiel. Kiel is an important sea transport hub, thanks to its location on the Kiel Fjord and the busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal. A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway and other countries operate from here.
Moreover, today Kiel Harbour is an important port of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea. Kiel's recorded history began in the 13th century, but the city was a Danish village, in the 8th century; until 1864 it was administered by Denmark in personal union. In 1866 the city was annexed by Prussia and in 1871 it became part of Germany. Kiel was one of the founding cities of original European Green Regi51 Award in 2006. In 2005 Kiel's GDP per capita was €35,618, well above Germany's national average, 159% of the European Union's average; the city is home to the University of Kiel. Kiel Fjord and the village of Kiel was first settled by Vikings who wanted to colonise the land that they had raided, for many years they settled in German villages; this is evidenced by the architecture of the fjord. The city of Kiel was founded in 1233 as Holstenstadt tom Kyle by Count Adolf IV of Holstein, granted Lübeck city rights in 1242 by Adolf's eldest son, John I of Schauenburg. Being a part of Holstein, Kiel belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and was situated only a few kilometres south of the Danish border.
Kiel, the capital of the county of Holstein, was a member of the Hanseatic League from 1284 until it was expelled in 1518 for harbouring pirates. In 1431, the Kieler Umschlag was first held, which became the central market for goods and money in Schleswig-Holstein, until it began to lose significance from 1850 on, being held for the last time in 1900, until when it has been restarted; the University of Kiel was founded on 29 September 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. A number of important scholars, including Theodor Mommsen, Felix Jacoby, Hans Geiger and Max Planck, studied or taught there. From 1773 to 1864, the town belonged to the king of Denmark. However, because the king ruled Holstein as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire only through a personal union, the town was not incorporated as part of Denmark proper, thus Kiel belonged to Germany. Though the empire was abolished in 1806, the Danish king continued to rule Kiel only through his position as Duke of Holstein, which became a member of the German Confederation in 1815.
When Schleswig and Holstein rebelled against Denmark in 1848, Kiel became the capital of Schleswig-Holstein until the Danish victory in 1850. During the Second Schleswig War in 1864, Kiel and the rest of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were conquered by a German Confederation alliance of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the war, Kiel was administered by both the Austrians and the Prussians, but the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 led to the formation of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the annexation of Kiel by Prussia in 1867. On 24 March 1865 King William I based Prussia's Baltic Sea fleet in Kiel instead of Danzig; the Imperial shipyard Kiel was established in 1867 in the town. When William I of Prussia became Emperor William I of the German Empire in 1871, he designated Kiel and Wilhelmshaven as Reichskriegshäfen; the prestigious Kiel Yacht Club was established in 1887 with Prince Henry of Prussia as its patron. Emperor Wilhelm II became its commodore in 1891.
Because of its new role as Germany's main naval base, Kiel quickly increased in size in the following years, from 18,770 in 1864 to about 200,000 in 1910. Much of the old town centre and other surroundings were levelled and redeveloped to provide for the growing city; the Kiel tramway network, opened in 1881, had been enlarged to 10 lines, with a total route length of 40 km, before the end of the First World War. Kiel was the site of the sailors' mutiny which sparked the German Revolution in late 1918. Just before the end of the First World War, the German fleet stationed at Kiel was ordered to be sent out on a last great battle with the Royal Navy; the sailors, who thought of this as a suicide mission which would have no effect on the outcome of the war, decided they had nothing to lose and refused to leave the safety of the port. The sailors' actions and the lack of response of the government to them, fuelled by an critical view of the Kaiser, sparked a revolution which caused the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of the Weimar Republic.
During the Second World War, Kiel remained one of the major naval bases and shipbuilding centres of the German Reich. There was a slave labour camp for the local industry; because of its status as a naval port and as production site for submarines, Kiel was bombed by the Allies d
Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million. One of Germany's 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south; the city's metropolitan region is home to more than five million people. Hamburg lies on two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille; the official name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a sovereign city state, before 1919 formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. Beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, north Sea flood of 1962 and military conflicts including World War II bombing raids, the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe. Hamburg is Europe's third-largest port. Major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city.
Hamburg is the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis and Unilever; the city hosts specialists in world economics and international law, including consular and diplomatic missions as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, multipartite international political conferences and summits such as Europe and China and the G20. Both the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Angela Merkel, German chancellor since 2005, come from Hamburg; the city is a major domestic tourist destination. It ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016; the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015. Hamburg is a major European science and education hub, with several universities and institutions. Among its most notable cultural venues are the Laeiszhalle concert halls.
It paved the way for bands including The Beatles. Hamburg is known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli's Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts. Hamburg is at a sheltered natural harbour on the southern fanning-out of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the northeast, it is on the River Elbe at its confluence with the Bille. The city centre is around the Binnenalster and Außenalster, both formed by damming the River Alster to create lakes; the islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn, Nigehörn, 100 kilometres away in the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, are part of the city of Hamburg. The neighborhoods of Neuenfelde, Cranz and Finkenwerder are part of the Altes Land region, the largest contiguous fruit-producing region in Central Europe. Neugraben-Fischbek has Hamburg's highest elevation, the Hasselbrack at 116.2 metres AMSL. Hamburg borders the states of Lower Saxony.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate, influenced by its proximity to the coast and marine air masses that originate over the Atlantic Ocean. The location north of Germany provides extremes greater than marine climates, but in the category due to the mastery of the western standards. Nearby wetlands enjoy a maritime temperate climate; the amount of snowfall has differed a lot during the past decades: while in the late 1970s and early 1980s, at times heavy snowfall occurred, the winters of recent years have been less cold, with snowfall only on a few days per year. The warmest months are June and August, with high temperatures of 20.1 to 22.5 °C. The coldest are December and February, with low temperatures of −0.3 to 1.0 °C. Claudius Ptolemy reported the first name for the vicinity as Treva; the name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808. It rose on rocky terrain in a marsh between the River Alster and the River Elbe as a defence against Slavic incursion, acquired the name Hammaburg, burg meaning castle or fort.
The origin of the Hamma term remains uncertain. In 834, Hamburg was designated as the seat of a bishopric; the first bishop, became known as the Apostle of the North. Two years Hamburg was united with Bremen as the Bishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. Hamburg occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and in 1214; the Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires in the medieval period. In 1189, by imperial charter, Frederick I "Barbarossa" granted Hamburg the status of a Free Imperial City and tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea. In 1265, an forged letter was presented to or by the Rath of Hamburg; this charter, along with Hamburg's proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea and Baltic Sea made it a
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
The Poles referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000, of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone. A wide-ranging Polish diaspora exists throughout Europe, the Americas, in Australasia. Today the largest urban concentrations of Poles are within the Warsaw and Silesian metropolitan areas. Poland's history dates back over a thousand years, to c. 930–960 AD, when the Polans – an influential West Slavic tribe in the Greater Poland region, now home to such cities as Poznań, Kalisz and Września – united various Lechitic tribes under what became the Piast dynasty, thus creating the Polish state. The subsequent Christianization of Poland, in 966 CE, marked Poland's advent to the community of Western Christendom. Poles have made important contributions to the world in every major field of human endeavor.
Notable Polish émigrés – many of them forced from their homeland by historic vicissitudes – have included physicists Marie Skłodowska Curie and Joseph Rotblat, mathematician Stanisław Ulam, pianists Fryderyk Chopin and Arthur Rubinstein, actresses Helena Modjeska and Pola Negri, novelist Joseph Conrad, military leaders Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski, U. S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, politician Rosa Luxemburg, filmmakers Samuel Goldwyn and the Warner Brothers, cartoonist Max Fleischer, cosmeticians Helena Rubinstein and Max Factor. Slavs have been in the territory of modern Poland for over 1500 years, they organized into tribal units, of which the larger ones were known as the Polish tribes. In the 9th and 10th centuries the tribes gave rise to developed regions along the upper Vistula, the Baltic Sea coast and in Greater Poland; the last tribal undertaking resulted in the 10th century in a lasting political structure and state, one of the West Slavic nations. The concept which has become known as the Piast Idea, the chief proponent of, Jan Ludwik Popławski, is based on the statement that the Piast homeland was inhabited by so-called "native" aboriginal Slavs and Slavonic Poles since time immemorial and only was "infiltrated" by "alien" Celts, Baltic peoples and others.
After 1945 the so-called "autochthonous" or "aboriginal" school of Polish prehistory received official backing in Poland and a considerable degree of popular support. According to this view, the Lusatian Culture which archaeologists have identified between the Oder and the Vistula in the early Iron Age, is said to be Slavonic. In contrast, the critics of this theory, such as Marija Gimbutas, regard it as an unproved hypothesis and for them the date and origin of the westward migration of the Slavs is uncharted. Polish people are the sixth largest national group in the European Union. Estimates vary depending on source, though available data suggest a total number of around 60 million people worldwide. There are 38 million Poles in Poland alone. There are Polish minorities in the surrounding countries including, indigenous minorities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and eastern Lithuania, western Ukraine, western Belarus. There are some smaller indigenous minorities in nearby countries such as Moldova.
There is a Polish minority in Russia which includes indigenous Poles as well as those forcibly deported during and after World War II. The term "Polonia" is used in Poland to refer to people of Polish origin who live outside Polish borders estimated at around 10 to 20 million. There is a notable Polish diaspora in the United States and Canada. France has a historic relationship with Poland and has a large Polish-descendant population. Poles have lived in France since the 18th century. In the early 20th century, over a million Polish people settled in France during world wars, among them Polish émigrés fleeing either Nazi occupation or Soviet rule. In the United States, a significant number of Polish immigrants settled in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York City, Pittsburgh and New England; the highest concentration of Polish Americans in a single New England municipality is in New Britain, Connecticut. The majority of Polish Canadians have arrived in Canada since World War II; the number of Polish immigrants increased between 1945 and 1970, again after the end of Communism in Poland in 1989.
In Brazil the majority of Polish immigrants settled in Paraná State. Smaller, but significant numbers settled in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Espírito Santo and São Paulo; the city of Curitiba has the second largest Polish diaspora in the world and Polish music and culture are quite common in the region. A recent large migration of Poles took place followi
A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, using child soldiers, declaring that no quarter will be given, violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations; the concept of war crimes emerged at the turn of the twentieth century when the body of customary international law applicable to warfare between sovereign states was codified. Such codification occurred at the national level, such as with the publication of the Lieber Code in the United States, at the international level with the adoption of the treaties during the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Moreover, trials in national courts during this period further helped clarify the law. Following the end of World War II, major developments in the law occurred.
Numerous trials of Axis war criminals established the Nuremberg principles, such as notion that war crimes constituted crimes defined by international law. Additionally, the Geneva Conventions in 1949 defined new war crimes and established that states could exercise universal jurisdiction over such crimes. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, following the creation of several international courts, additional categories of war crimes applicable to armed conflicts other than those between states, such as civil wars, were defined; the trial of Peter von Hagenbach by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1474 was the first "international" war crimes trial, of command responsibility. He was convicted and beheaded for crimes that "he as a knight was deemed to have a duty to prevent", although he had argued that he was "just following orders". In 1865, Henry Wirz, a Confederate States Army officer, was held accountable by a military tribunal and hanged for the appalling conditions at Andersonville Prison, where many Union prisoners of war died during the American Civil War.
The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands, in 1899 and 1907 and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international law. The Geneva Conventions are four related treaties adopted and continuously expanded from 1864 to 1949 that represent a legal basis and framework for the conduct of war under international law; every single member state of the United Nations has ratified the conventions, which are universally accepted as customary international law, applicable to every situation of armed conflict in the world. However, the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions adopted in 1977 containing the most pertinent and virulent protections of international humanitarian law for persons and objects in modern warfare are still not ratified by a number of States continuously engaged in armed conflicts, namely the United States, India, Iraq and others.
Accordingly, states retain different values with regard to wartime conduct. Some signatories have violated the Geneva Conventions in a way which either uses the ambiguities of law or political maneuvering to sidestep the laws' formalities and principles. Three conventions were revised and expanded with the fourth one added in 1949: First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Second Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea. Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Two Additional Protocols were adopted in 1977 with the third one added in 2005, completing and updating the Geneva Conventions: Protocol I relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. Protocol II relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.
Protocol III relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. A small number of German military personnel of the First World War were tried in 1921 by the German Supreme Court for alleged war crimes; the modern concept of war crime was further developed under the auspices of the Nuremberg Trials based on the definition in the London Charter, published on August 8, 1945. Along with war crimes the charter defined crimes against peace and crimes against humanity, which are committed during wars and in concert with war crimes. Known as the Tokyo Trial, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal or as the Tribunal, it was convened on May 3, 1946 to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A", "Class B", "Class C", committed during World War II. On July 1, 2002, the International Crimi
The Nuremberg trials were a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war after World War II. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes; the trials were held in the city of Nuremberg and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law. The first and best known of these trials was that of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal, it was described as "the greatest trial in history" by Sir Norman Birkett, one of the British judges who presided over them. Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 24 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich – though the proceeding against Martin Bormann was tried in absentia, while another defendant, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial's commencement.
Adolf Hitler, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Hans Krebs and Joseph Goebbels had all committed suicide in the spring of 1945 to avoid capture. Heinrich Himmler was captured before he could succeed. Krebs and Burgdorf committed suicide two days after Hitler in the same place. Reinhard Heydrich had been assassinated by Czech partisans in 1942. Josef Terboven killed himself with dynamite in Norway in 1945. Adolf Eichmann fled to Argentina to avoid Allied capture, but was apprehended by Israel's intelligence service and hanged in 1962. Hermann Göring was sentenced to death, but committed suicide by consuming cyanide the night before his execution in defiance of his captors. Miklós Horthy appeared as a witness at the Ministries trial held in Nuremberg in 1948; this article deals with the first trial, conducted by the IMT. Further trials of lesser war criminals were conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the U. S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal, which included the Doctors' trial and the Judges' Trial; the categorization of the crimes and the constitution of the court represented a juridical advance that would be used afterwards by the United Nations for the development of a specific international jurisprudence in matters of war crime, crimes against humanity, war of aggression, as well as for the creation of the International Criminal Court.
The Nuremberg indictment mentions genocide for the first time in international law A precedent for trying those accused of war crimes had been set at the end of World War I in the Leipzig War Crimes Trials held in May to July 1921 before the Reichsgericht in Leipzig, although these had been on a limited scale and regarded as ineffectual. At the beginning of 1940, the Polish government-in-exile asked the British and French governments to condemn the German invasion of their country; the British declined to do so. Bland because of Anglo-French reservations, it proclaimed the trio's "desire to make a formal and public protest to the conscience of the world against the action of the German government whom they must hold responsible for these crimes which cannot remain unpunished."Three-and-a-half years the stated intention to punish the Germans was much more trenchant. On 1 November 1943, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States published their "Declaration on German Atrocities in Occupied Europe", which gave a "full warning" that, when the Nazis were defeated, the Allies would "pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth... in order that justice may be done....
The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of the major war criminals whose offences have no particular geographical location and who will be punished by a joint decision of the Government of the Allies." This intention by the Allies to dispense justice was reiterated at the Yalta Conference and at Potsdam in 1945. British War Cabinet documents, released on 2 January 2006, showed that as early as December 1944 the Cabinet had discussed their policy for the punishment of the leading Nazis if captured; the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, had advocated a policy of summary execution in some circumstances, with the use of an Act of Attainder to circumvent legal obstacles, being dissuaded from this only by talks with US and Soviet leaders in the war. In late 1943, during the Tripartite Dinner Meeting at the Tehran Conference, the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, proposed executing 50,000–100,000 German staff officers. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt joked that 49,000 would do.
Churchill, believing them to be serious, denounced the idea of "the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country" and that he would rather be "taken out in the courtyard and shot" himself than partake in any such action. However, he stated that war criminals must pay for their crimes and that, in accordance with the Moscow Document which he himself had written, they should be tried at the places where the crimes were committed. Churchill was vigorously opposed to executions "for political purposes." According to the minutes of a meeting between Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, on 4 February 1945, at the Livadia Palace, President Roosevelt "said