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"The London Conference, which ended on August 8, 1945, with the signing of the London Four-Power Agreement1 with annexed statute, was a crucial step in the planning of the Nuremberg IMT trial of major German war criminals. The joint development of the statute is regarded as an important example historically of the cooperation of the Allied Powers, who, despite their different legal traditions, found ways to reach a consensus acceptable as the legal basis for their common goal: to carry out a trial of the major war criminals. This was particularly remarkable, given that they had to negotiate the substantive, procedural foundations of the future tribunal in just a little over six weeks (June 26 to August 8, 1945).

Given this, it is important to take into account the existing differences and conflicts between each nation's representatives. The minutes of the London Conference published in the Report of Robert H. Jackson,2 the US chief prosecutor in 1945, revealed that each of the four delegations openly viewed the trial from the perspective of their own legal origins, experiences, and agendas, which caused quite a few problems during the negotiations. There were also questions about whether a trial of major German war criminals should even take place. This was further complicated by the fact that no serious political discussions had taken place between the Allies before the end of the war about the nature of the trial. That led to different opinions among the delegates about the binding nature of the decisions made in London. The Soviet delegation, for example, had a very different view of the purpose of the trial and the authority of the tribunal that was to conduct it. These conceptual differences caused the serious conflicts during the London Conference. Jackson noted in his report that the "antagonistic concepts"3 between the Soviet and Anglo-American representatives about the independence of the judiciary were particularly troublesome. However, it is important to question this allegation critically, particularly given the fact that Jackson's attitude toward the Soviet negotiators was far from impartial.4"



Publication Date



Bloomsbury Academic




Cultural History | European History | Military History | Other History | Political History | Public History | Slavic Languages and Societies | Social History


In David M. Crowe (Ed.), Stalin's Soviet Justice: "Show" Trials, War Crimes Trials, and Nuremberg.


David M. Crowe



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