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Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich

NCJ Number
I Muller
Date Published
367 pages
This survey of the German legal system before, during, and after Hitler's rule during the Third Reich reminds readers how fragile the safeguards of a civilized society can be when the legal system cannot, or does not, resist rampant misrule.
Beginning with an overview of the German judicial system during the Weimar Republic, this book's main focus is on the country's legal system from 1933 to 1945. Various difficult issues are addressed: how many German jurists and lawyers acquiesced in the Nazi seizure of power, collaborated with the regime and legitimated it, became involved in promoting the Aryan ideals of Nazism, meted out justice during the Nazi era, and, in short, violated their professional standards and basic morality. The final section examines the reconstruction and restoration of the legal system following World War II, discusses the punishment of Nazi war criminals, and notes that many of the lawyers associated with Hitler were able to escape blame for their abuses of justice, reintegrating themselves into the judicial system of the Federal Republic of Germany. The author contends that an understanding of the legal experience under Nazism is necessary to protect Germany's future as a free nation.


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