is a 2000 miniseries based on the main Nuremberg Trials against the Nazi criminals of war. It consisted of two episodes and starred Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox, Michael Ironside
, Jill Hennessey, Christopher Plummer and many, many others
Depending on your point of view, it might appear as the typical celebration of the heroic Allies
against Nazi Germany
or a good miniseries with well-developed characters.
The plot spaces from the capture of the main Nazi war criminals to the end of the trial, as the historical accuracy varies from one point to the next.
Provides examples of:
- Anti-Villain: Albert Speer. In Real Life, before the war he was a brilliant architect, and he entered Hitler's inner circle because of his grand designs for re-shaping Berlin and building a strong foundation for the German people. During the war he was charged with maintaining industrial production of armaments, and was shocked and horrified once he found out how the workers in these factories were treated. He did little about it back then, but after the war he spent literally the rest of his life atoning and accepting responsibility for Nazi atrocities. He demonstrated none of the sociopathic qualities that many of his compatriots showed.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Does Herman Göring actually believe in his ideals more than you believe in yours?"
- The Atoner: Hans Frank and Albert Speer.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed:
- Robert Ley hangs himself in his cell before the beginning of the trial.
- Hermann Göring swallows cyanide before the executions start.
- Blunt Yes:
- When discussing the trial.
Nikitchenko: You would allow a man such as Ernst Kaltenbrunner, responsible for the Gestapo, concentration camps, for killing millions of innocent people, to stand before a court of law and declare himself not guilty?
Jackson: That is precisely what we would allow.
Jackson: Witness, there is evidence before this court that nearly 10 million people have been exterminated; murdered in cold blood; ''you mean to say that you did not, and in your opinion Hitler did not, know what took place in the concentration camps?
- Break the Haughty: Happens to Ribbentrop and Funk.
- The Brute: Ernst Kaltenbrunner.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Rudolf Hess.
Wilhelm Keitel: "He's pretending. Hess is very smart."
Alfred Jodl: "If he was so smart, he wouldn't have spent the last four years in an English prison."
- Dirty Communists: Averted.
- Dissonant Serenity: Rudolf Hoss doesn't see the murder of nearly three million people at Auschwitz as anything to get upset about. In fact, he is always polite and very well-mannered. And yes, he is quite the Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Half played straight and half subverted when Höss explains that in Auschwitz he did not tolerate gratuitous cruelty... because he was there to carry on an extermination.
- That said, in Real Life he made this statement relating to his first test trial of the same formula of gas that would eventually execute millions of human beings:
"We knew when the people were dead because they stopped screaming."
- Some defendants show uneasiness as they see the clips about the concentration camps.
- Famous Last Words: Some of defendants who are sentenced to death are shown while delivering their last speeches on the gallows. The writers goofed with Field Marshal Keitel, whose last words weren't "Deutschland über alles!" but "Alles für Deutschland!".
- Foregone Conclusion
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The "dueling scars" on Kaltenbrunner's face. They were actually caused by a driving accident.
- Greedy Jew: Julius Streicher openly and proudly admits considering this stereotype as a matter of fact.
- Hanging Judge: Soviet judge Iona Nikitchenko. Justified by what people like Keitel, Rosenberg and Frank did in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union.
- Heel Realization: Years before the Nuremberg trials, Albert Speer finally realised that Hitler was insane and dragging the entirety of Germany with him in a downwards spiral. He put together a plan to assassinate him but was foiled... by a wall. Which could also be due to Speer being an Unreliable Narrator.
- Hollywood History:
- Averted when Göring reminds Dr. Gilbert that Nazi anti-Semitic laws were inspired by English and American racist theories.
- Wilhelm Keitel is referred to as an admiral, when in reality, he was a general.
- Hot-Blooded: Julius Streicher is a capricious, rude, loud anti-semite.
- Implausible Deniability: Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner's strategy of legal defense is to deny everything he's done and everyone who claims that he engaged in war crimes as a liar, even when the prosecution presents him with incontrovertible evidence and multiple witness testimonies to prove it.
- Just Following Orders: Wilhelm Keitel builds up his defense on this principle.
- Lack of Empathy: Dr. Gilbert pegs this as the reason the defendants were able to commit such terrible acts.
- Laughing Mad: Rudolf Hess, who has received a life sentence, burts into a fit of manic laughter after the executions.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Not So Different: Göring points out this when talking about Hiroshima and segregation laws.
- Punch Clock Villain:
- After quietly telling the court how many people were killed in Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss explains to Dr. Gilbert that outside the concentration camp he lived a perfectly normal life.
- Albert Speer.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The actors chosen to portray Rudolf Hess (Roc LaFortune), Alfred Rosenberg (Alain Fournier) and Arthur Seyss-Inquart (René Gagnon) would have spoken with a strong French Canadian accent. Thus, they were given very few lines in the script, while in the Real Life their characters played a very important role during the progress.
- Redemption Equals Death: Hans Frank shows repentance for the crimes he committed while he was Gauleiter of Poland, but this isn't enough to spare him the gallows.
- Smug Snake: Joachim von Ribbentrop.
- The Sociopath: Rudolf Hoss killed over 2 million jews when he was overseer of Auschwitz. He not only never gave it a second thought, he found a way to kill people faster!
- Those Wacky Nazis: Played straight by Julius Streicher, somehow subverted by the repentant ones.
- Too Dumb to Live: Joking, Göring states that Ribbentrop should be hanged for his foolishness.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- Hess has a big damn one in the end (including an Evil Laugh).
- Ribbentrop has a minor one when he starts weeping as the clip about the concentration camps is shown to the court.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Strangely, some sentences aren't read by the judges. However, we get to see the executions of all the defendants sentenced to death.
- Worthy Opponent: Göring to Jackson.
- Yes-Man: All of the defendants, according to Göring. In his words: "all the no-men are dead."