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DJCG-300 The Nuremberg Trials

Opening Statement

On November 21, 1945, in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, Germany, Justice Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States, made his opening statement to the International Military Tribunal in Case No. 1,

“That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.” — from Jackson's Opening Statement before the International Military Tribunal

Jackson's opening statement is published in The Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal Volume 2, p.98-155 (Nuremberg: IMT, 1947) (the Blue Set) and in his own book The Nuremberg Case (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1947; republished New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1971)

Jackson Center Homepage

American Society of International Law Symposium

The Laws of War: Past, Present, and Future

Professor John Q. Barrett of St. John's University discusses How the Future Looked from Nuremberg: Mid-20th Century Visions of Humanitarian Law and Prosecutions of Its Violators at the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs.

The conference was hosted by The American Society of International Law (ASIL), in cooperation with The Robert H. Jackson Center, Washington University's Whitney R. Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies, Syracuse University College of Law, and the Chautauqua Institution.  August 29, 2007. 


John Barrett (2016) on Nuremberg and Robert H. Jackson


Henry T. King


Justice Jackson - Opening Statement - IMT Blue Series, Volume 2, pg. 98-155

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, appointed by President Truman to serve as United States Chief of Counsel to prosecute Nazi war criminals, delivers his opening statement to the four-nation International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg on November 21, 1945

Complete text of the statement

Whitney R. Harris

Whitney R. Harris, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial, authored one to the first books on the subject. His book "Tyranny on Trial" was published in 1954.

The Introduction of the book was authored by Justice Robert H. Jackson, the chief American Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial (1945-1946). His letter was one of the last comments by Jackson as he died in October of 1954.

He spoke by video (February 2010) to the Harris Institute Conference at the Brookings Institution, endorsing the launch of a Convention on Crimes Against Humanity.

Tribute to Whitney R. Harris from John Q. Barrett.

This video shows Whitney Harris reading the letter before an audience at the Robert H. Jackson Center in October 2001.

Justice Jackson - Closing argument - July 26, 1946 - Volume 19, pg 397ff

Justice Robert H. Jackson, the chief United States prosecutor, delivered his closing argument to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg on July 26, 1946. This statement has been deemed a forensic masterpiece. In these filmed excerpts, the scenes of Jackson in a long necktie are trial footage; the scenes of Jackson in tuxedo were filmed after hours, in the empty courtroom, for the U.S. historical record.

Complete Text


Harris Interview

Chief Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson

Barrett on Jackson

Professor John Q. Barrett, St. John's University School of Law.   "Finding Nuremberg and Its Legacies" (September 30, 2016)

Ben Ferencz

Ben Ferencz


Chief Prosecutor for the United States in The Einsatzgruppen Case, which the Associated Press called "the biggest murder trial in history."
Twenty-two defendants were charged with murdering over a million people. He was only twenty-seven years old. It was his first case.