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Phillips Nuremberg Trials Collection: Trial 12 - High Command Case

Materials donated to the law school by General Eugene Phillips.

Additional Reading

Summary of Charges

The accused were all high-ranking officers of the German Wehrmacht (one was a former Admiral) and former members of the High Command of Nazi Germany's military forces. They were charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war.

The accused faced four charges of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:

  1. Crimes against peace by waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.
  2. War crimes by being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents.
  3. Crimes against humanity by participating or ordering the murder, torture, deportation, hostage-taking, etc. of civilians in occupied countries.
  4. Participating and organizing the formulations and execution of a common plan and conspiracy to commit aforementioned crimes.

All defendants were indicted on all counts; they all pleaded "not guilty".

Count 4 of the indictment—the conspiracy charge—was soon dropped by the tribunal because it was already covered by the other charges.

On count 1, the tribunal considered all accused not guilty, stating that they were not the policy-makers and that preparing for war and fighting a war on orders was not a criminal offense under the applicable international law of the time.

Trial Records

Style of the case: United States of America v. Wilhelm von Leeb, et al.

Indictment filed: 28 November 1947

Trial dates: 5 February 1948 - 10 August 1948

Judges:  John C. Young (Colorado) (presiding judge), Winfield B. Hale (Tennessee), and Justin W. Harding (Alaska)

Chief Prosecutor:

Defense Counsel:  

Judgment: 27 & 28 October 1948

Sentencing: 28 October 1948

Defendant Position Sentence
Wilhelm von Leeb
  • Former Field Marshal (until 1941)
3 years imprisonment; released after the trial
Hugo Sperrle
  • Former Field Marshal
Georg von Küchler
  • Former Field Marshal
20 years imprisonment; reduced to 12 years in 1951; released 1953 due to medical reasons.
Johannes Blaskowitz
  • Former Generaloberst
Committed suicide during the trial on February 8, 1948
Hermann Hoth
  • Former Generaloberst
15 years imprisonment; released 1954.
Georg-Hans Reinhardt
  • Former Generaloberst
15 years imprisonment; released 1952.
Hans von Salmuth
  • Former Generaloberst
20 years imprisonment; reduced to 12 years in 1951
Karl-Adolf Hollidt
  • Former Generaloberst
5 years imprisonment; released December 22, 1949
Otto Schniewind
  • Former Admiral
Karl von Roques
  • Former Generalleutnant
20 years imprisonment; died December 24, 1949.
Hermann Reinecke
  • Former Generalleutnant;
  • Head of the General Office of the Armed Forces at OKW (Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt, AWA),
  • Head of the office for the NSFO (National-Sozialistische Führungs-Offiziere, Nazi officers charged with political propaganda in the Wehrmacht)
lifetime imprisonment; released 1954
Walter Warlimont
  • Former Generalleutnant
  • Deputy head of the Wehrmacht-Führungsstab (WMFS), the Armed Forces Operations Staff
lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 18 years in 1951; released 1954.
Otto Wöhler
  • Former Generalleutnant
8 years imprisonment; released 1951
Rudolf Lehmann
  • Former Generalleutnant
  • Judge Advocate-General of the OKW and as such responsible for the elaboration of the Commissar order, the Barbarossa order, and others.
7 years imprisonment


Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10

The 15-volume series, also known as “The Green Series,” focuses on the 12 trials of almost 200 defendants. This publication by the United States Government Printing Office is the official abridged record of the individual indictments and judgments, as well as the administrative materials that were common to all the trials.

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