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Series: Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial. Albert Speer
This remarkable series profiles on the major defendants of the Nuremberg war crimes trials. In the first episode, Nathaniel Parker plays the most inscrutable Nazi on trial at Nuremberg, Hitler's architect and armaments minister Albert Speer.
He was the only defendant who unreservedly accepted responsibility for the Nazis' crimes. But was Speer's remorse genuine or just a clever defense strategy to get off the hook? The film tells the intriguing behind-the scenes-story of Speer's trial and his showdown with unrepentant rival, Hermann Goering.
The second episode tells the story of the trial of Hermann Goering, Hitler's charismatic and ruthless second-in-command. On trial for his life at Nuremberg, the unrepentant Reich Marshal turned the tables on the Allies. So much so that Chief Prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson began to wish the Allies had followed Churchill's suggestion and shot the leading Nazis out of hand. This documentary drama traces the behind-the-scenes story of Goering's attempt to re-ignite Nazism from the courtroom.
Episode three explores the mind of one of the most fanatical of all Nazis and the insight that gives into the psychology of dictatorship. Hess is brought to Nuremberg from the UK where he had flown 4 years earlier much to the bemusement of the British. Overy explains that they must have quickly realised he was not normal. In the intervening time Hess’s mental state has further deteriorated and when interviewed by Chief Interrogator Colonel John Amen proclaims amnesia. Chief Interpreter Richard Sonnenfeldt explains that they brought in Göring to confront Hess but that he too failed to make an impression.
Psychopathologist Prof. Edgar Jones proposes Hess’s behaviour patterns may be his way of escaping reality as he is forced to face the extent of the atrocities and choose between accepting his part of the blame or forsaking his Führer. However, as history Professor Robert Gellatel explains it is difficult to construct a case against Hess as he was imprisoned in England when the worst of the atrocities were carried out so British Prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones must argue a conspiracy charge linking the pre-1939 persecutions to the post-1939 atrocities and a crimes against peace charge proving the flight to Scotland was merely a ruse.
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