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The Betrayal: The Nuremberg Trials and German Divergence (Hardback)
  • The Betrayal: The Nuremberg Trials and German Divergence (Hardback)
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The Betrayal: The Nuremberg Trials and German Divergence (Hardback)

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£72.00
Hardback 496 Pages / Published: 15/09/2016
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At the end of World War II the Allies faced a threefold challenge: how to punish perpetrators of appalling crimes for which the categories of 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity' had to be coined; how to explain that these had been committed by Germany, of all nations; and how to reform Germans. The Allied answer to this conundrum was the application of historical reasoning to legal procedure. In the thirteen Nuremberg trials held between 1945 and 1949, and in corresponding cases elsewhere, a concerted effort was made to punish key perpetrators while at the same time providing a complex analysis of the Nazi state and German history. Building on a long debate about Germany's divergence from a presumed Western path of development, Allied prosecutors sketched a historical trajectory which had led Germany to betray the Western model. Historical reasoning both accounted for the moral breakdown of a 'civilised' nation and rendered plausible arguments that this had indeed been a collective failure rather than one of a small criminal clique. The prosecutors therefore carefully laid out how institutions such as private enterprise, academic science, the military, or bureaucracy, which looked ostensibly similar to their opposite numbers in the Allied nations, had been corrupted in Germany even before Hitler's rise to power. While the argument, depending on individual protagonists, subject matters, and contexts, met with uneven success in court, it offered a final twist which was of obvious appeal in the Cold War to come: if Germany had lost its way, it could still be brought back into the Western fold. The first comprehensive study of the Nuremberg trials, The Betrayal thus also explores how history underpins transitional trials as we encounter them in today's courtrooms from Arusha to The Hague.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199669752
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 848 g
Dimensions: 236 x 159 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Priemel's comprehensive, broadly researched book covers the Nuremberg Trials' prehistory, the actual proceedings, and their immediate aftermath ... Its strength lies in the meticulous research, the precise detail, and in its degree of differentiation. * Milo Vec, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [translated] *
Alongside the analytical through-line focusing on the use (and abuse) of history in the Nuremberg courtrooms, Priemel's volume is full of new information and keen insights into individual moments in the trial. His meticulous research means that there is hardly any aspect of the trials where he merely accepts the conventional wisdom without deep empirical investigation of his own. The Betrayal is in many ways magisterial. It will almost certainly become the standard work on the Nuremberg trials for the foreseeable future. * Devin Pendas, The Lawfare Book Review *
Kim Priemel's The Betrayal is a very thoroughly researched historical but also philosophical and critical narrative of the Nuremberg Trials ... an excellent volume questioning and scrutinising the role of courts ... We recommend The Betrayal especially for peace and justice scholars and for those interested in the possible functions and purposes of courts. Furthermore, legal practitioners and law students might find Kim Priemel's discussion around the contextual aspects of the Nuremberg Trials useful in order to learn more about the historical context, development and genesis of international criminal law. As Priemel himself takes an interdisciplinary approach in analysing the Nuremberg Trials, The Betrayal also serves those with an academic interest in social sciences and international relations. * Kerry-Luise Prior and Marjana Papa, Voelkerrechtsblog *
Priemel works to explain why Nuremberg looked the way it did, why actors within the system behaved as didactically, and where the cases share commonalities ... Priemel's narrative seeks to offer an illumination, not a defense, of Nuremberg. * Ellen Chapin, Yale Journal of International Affairs *
What makes Priemel's study stand out is the scope of research, the breadth of analysis, and a well-defined thesis ... What scholars and college students would probably appreciate most about Priemel's study is his ability to weave all the tribunals into a single, uninterrupted narrative ... The Betrayal is a superbly researched and argued book on its way to becoming a standard work. * Anton Weiss-Wendt, Genocide Studies and Prevention *
Kim Christian Priemel's revealing new analysis should inspire historians to carefully reassess the Nuremberg Trials, their consequences and limitations. His deep knowledge of the pertinent legal scholarship on Nuremberg and Germany's putative Special Path inform throughout this unique history of a touchstone in international law. The Betrayal is not a book for the casual reader, but serious students will overlook it at their peril - it has set the standard for the next generation of scholars of the Nuremberg Trials. * Brian K. Feltman, Michigan War Studies Review *
This book about 'Nuremberg' investigates the highly original question how criminal trials change our views of history, and this is what it makes it so important ... The detailed description of political and legal planning, drawing on private correspondence of judges, analysts, and journalists, as well as the short biographies of less prominent figures interspersed in the narrative, make for fascinating reading. The explanation why Nuremberg evolved the way it did ... is compelling ... Priemel's work will definitely become seminal reading. A brilliant achievement. * Kerstin von Lingen, H-Net [translated] *
With this excellent work, Priemel has written the most complete account of the American trials at Nuremberg we have ... The Betrayal is an exceptional work of legal and intellectual history that highlights powerfully the role that ideas - most notably that of a German Sonderweg - played in Allied efforts to prosecute the crimes of the Third Reich. Just as these trials benefitted historical scholarship in diverse ways, as the author points out, so too should this book contribute to a wide array of fields, from German history to intellectual history to that of transitional justice and human rights. * Charles B. Lansing, German History *
Priemel's book on the Nuremberg Trials is a brilliant achievement and certainly the major work on the subject for many years to come. It benefits from the richness of its sources and from many, often surprising connections with which the author integrates the courtroom proceedings at Nuremberg in the larger contemporary political and intellectual debates. * Annette Weinke, Sehepunkte *
knowledgeable and in command of his material, even engagingly written ... Priemel has managed to show the complex dynamics of the no less complex Nuremberg proceedings by focusing on the protagonists. He shows how Germany, the genuine 'other' at Nuremberg, was welcomed back into the western community only a few years after its alleged 'betrayal' of the West's very values. * Kai Ambos, Zeitschrift fur Internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik *
Priemel's research in the American, French, and British government files and in the papers of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys expands our understanding of the debates that took place among the Allied prosecution teams. * Jeffrey Herf, American Historical Review *

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