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Context On Demand – Nuremberg Trials: Exposing the Worst Crimes of WWII with Dr. Finn Ballard
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Led by an expert on twentieth-century German history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this 60-minute webinar will revive the tale of the most significant effort to bring Nazi perpetrators to justice postwar.
In the autumn of 1945, a disheveled collection of war criminals–at their helm, a morphine-addled Hermann Göring–were brought to the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, a city that had once been at the epicenter of Nazi adulation, to face the first-ever International Military Tribunal. The atrocities exposed at the Nuremberg Trials would astonish the world, and the legal precedents which were set would resonate to this day. This webinar will explore this period of uncomfortable history through the lens of the Nuremberg Trials.
Together we will examine the history of the Trials, from the early suicide of two key defendants to the capital sentencing and executions of ten others. We will discuss how the legal concept of crimes against humanity, and indeed of genocide, were consolidated at this unprecedented judicial proceeding. We'll discuss the personalities of the different criminals on trial, from the cringing Walther Funk to the belligerent Göring, the maniacal Rudolf Hess, and the manipulative Albert Speer - a ragtag bunch without their Führer.
We will talk about the impressions of Nuremberg chief psychiatrist Douglas Kelley from California and the heavy toll the trial took on him in later life. We'll see how Göring emerged as an instant ringleader and how he cheated the hangman John C. Woods - himself a diagnosed psychopath - out of one more bungled execution; cunning (and not-so-cunning) defense strategies; smuggled cyanide capsules, and much more.
As you watch the presentation, we encourage you to think about the following questions:
- Can the trial be considered 'successful' in vanquishing National Socialism?
What do you think the Germans (and the rest of the world) thought of the trial while they were ongoing?
Was the treatment of the perpetrators egalitarian, and was the death penalty 'justified'?
Do you believe that the trial represents the culmination of a colossal effort to track down the arch-war criminals - or do you think that more should have been done?
Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.
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Each presentation is approximately 60 minutes long.
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This conversation is suitable for ages 18+.
60 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.