Anti-Semitism on Trial: The Case of Julius Streicher Before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg Open Access

Williams, Michael Bennett (2009)

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Anti-Semitism on Trial: The Case of Julius Streicher Before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg
By Michael B. Williams

The use of courts of law in the effort to combat anti-Semitism has been prevalent in many Western nations since at least the late nineteenth century. However when anti-Semitism is placed on trial, in legal frameworks not designed with that purpose in mind, the results tend to come to less than what those who initially brought the cases had hoped. Julius Streicher's trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (IMT) was one such case. Selected due to his notoriety as one of Nazi Germany's most prolific Jewbaiters and the publisher of an anti-Semitic tabloid, his case did not fit well within the charges laid out by the IMT, and as such the prosecution was forced to try his case using evidence that only tangentially related to the charges brought against him. This study seeks to examine his trial through the lens of anti-Semitism, and specifically the role anti-Semitism played in his trial and subsequent execution. I argue that the people charged with setting up the IMT did not have a clear conception of the role anti-Semitism had played in Germany from the Imperial era through Hitler's rule, and as such misinterpreted the degree of Streicher's influence on the acceptance of anti-Semitism by the German population, granting him a larger stature than he deserved. In order to examine this case, I used several primary sources, chiefly the papers of Francis Biddle, the American judge at Nuremberg, as well as extensive secondary literature written about anti-Semitism as well as the Nuremberg trial itself. My aim is to place Streicher's trial in the context of other trials in which anti-Semitism was the real focus, and in doing so provide insight onto an area of the IMT that could be improved upon in subsequent trials.

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Der Sturmer in Context: German Anti-Semitism from Bismarck to Hitler

On the Origins of anti-Semitism...15
Julius Streicher and the rise of Nazi anti-Semitism...21

Chapter II: The International Military Tribunal: Origins and Aims...32
Chapter III: Julius Streicher at Nuremberg

Streicher on Trial...46
Judgment at Nuremberg...54

Chapter IV: In the Judges' Chambers: The "Little Jew Baiter" is Guilty...59

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