After World War I, the Allies aimed to prosecute Germans accused of war crimes but ultimately agreed to allow the Reichsgericht in Leipzig to try them. This is the first systematic, highly readable scholarly assessment of all these cases. Of the 900 Germans on Allied extradition lists, only a few faced court investigations; seven were convicted, ten found not guilty; charges against all others were dropped. Hankel demonstrates how German courts' war crimes definitions revealed differences between German and international interpretations of existing agreements on the treatment of civilians, partisans, or prisoners of war. The Leipzig trials reinforced German perceptions that their conduct of war was legitimate, with disastrous effects in World War II, but also paved the way to the Nuremberg Trials.
PART I: PRIOR HISTORY - FROM THE END OF THE WAR TO THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIALS (1918-1921)
1. The Allied Demand for Punishment
2. German Countermeasures and Allied Concessions-The First Step Towards Revising Versailles
3. From the Start of the Investigations to the First Trial Before the Reich Court
4. Digression: The Planned Trial of Wilhelm II and its Failure
PART II: THE TRIALS BEFORE THE REICH COURT AND THE REICH PROSECUTOR'S INVESTIGATION (1921-1927)
1. Subject and Progress of the Trials
2. On the Charges: Atrocities and Systematic Inhuman Behavior by German Troops
3. On the Charge of Murder and Manslaughter of Members of the Enemy Civilian Population
4. The Charge of Mistreatment of Prisoners of War
5. On the Charge of Deportation and Forced Labor
6. On the Sea War in General and the Charge of Sinking Ships without Warning, Particularly in "Unrestricted" Submarine Warfare
7. On the Difficulty of Prosecuting Crimes in the Air War
PART III: REPERCUSSIONS AND ADJUSTMENTS (1928-1945)
1. Trials in Absentia in Belgium and France and Their Aftermath
2. Once Again: The Sinking of the Llandovery Castle, or How a Crime Disappears
3. The Laws of War and War Crimes in World War II
About the Author:
Gerd Hankel, Dr. jur., M.A. (1957) is a legal scholar and guest fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. He has published extensively in the field of international (humanitarian/criminal) law and human rights.
Dr. jur. Gerd Hankel, geboren 1957, Sprachwissenschaftler und Jurist, ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter der Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur.