World War II Essays & Paper Examples

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Term Paper On Struggles And Trials

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The horrors of the death camps became apparent to the Allied troops as soon as they met the sight of it all. History narrates that most soldiers felt as if most, if not all, their senses were overwhelmed. The horrible sight was incomparable; the sound of people moaning in pain on the brink of death; others were overcome with hysterics, unable to discern their freedom. The smell overpowered the camp that you could almost taste it. Piles and piles of dead bodies were left to rot, some half-buried, with toes, elbows, and noses peeking from the underground. Human remains decorated the area like wildflowers, as ashes move gingerly with the wind. The survivors were barely alive – starvation and disease became the new enemies, and in the first few months after liberation, many succumbed to the aftermath of the war. The war against Jews and lesser beings, as deemed by Nazi Germany, has finally come to an end, but the horrors and truths will be on the lips of many generations to come. 

In many cases, many of the surviving Jews chose not to return to their homes. Most of their hometowns were completely obliterated, and some refused to face the emotional turmoil brought about by their past lives. Accounts speak of local residents persecuted Jews who tried to return, proof that the anti-Semitism preached by the Nazis remain in effect. In Poland, Jews returning to Kielce fell into slaughters by Poles in 1946 – 42 Jews were perished. Many locals have also been reported to have ransacked and destroyed empty Jewish homes. To Holocaust survivors, going home was almost never the option. Due to these circumstances, hundreds of thousands of Jews wandered without homes in Europe, a continent ravaged by war. In extreme cases, the Jews had to be placed in camps – the very same ones they have endured and lucky to have survived in the war. The Jews, after suffering a genocide, had earned another title –“displaced persons”- and for most nations, a Jew was declared a persona non grata. Neighboring countries closed their doors on them.

The perpetrators, on the other hand, also had to face war consequences. Following the war, Nazis were persecuted. From high-ranking officials and military leaders, all who bore and believed in what the swastika represented were persecuted through what is known in history as the Nuremberg Tribunal. The International Military Tribunal was established in August 1945 in Nuremberg, which was later followed by other tribunals. Set up by the Allied forces, the accused were prosecuted for crimes against peace, (which includes planning and execution of war crimes of racism and aggression) and crimes against humanity. The convicted were top Nazi politicians and commanders, along with military personnel. Twelve of the convicted were subjected to death by hanging, while others were sentenced to life in prison. 

It is vital to note that war criminals were sentenced in accordance to European judicial principles of defense, examination of witnesses, evidence, and the like. This makes it necessary to prove the accused guilty, which should be in line with the law before declaring a sentence. The results of the trials, however, aided the circulation of information – the public came to know more about the Nazi party’s atrocities, deemed crimes against humanity and especially against the Jews.  

Not every member of the Nazi party, however, was caught. However, war crimes do not fall under a statute of limitations. This means war criminals can still be persecuted to this day. The hunt for the Nazis who escaped still stands today – many of them lived an anonymous life in and out of Europe, and a number of them have been tracked for conviction. The most famous of cases of an escaped Nazi was that of Adolf Eichmann. He escaped from Austria in 1946 and hid in Argentina. He was eventually tracked down in 1960 by Israeli agents, and a year later was brought to Israel. Adolf Eichmann was a key figure of the Final Solution, as he orchestrated the deportation of Jews from all over Europe to death camps in Poland. He was convicted and executed in 1962, for crimes against the Jews and a war founded on racism. The Eichmann Trial, as history calls it, gave a voice to many Holocaust survivors.

To this day, Nazis are still being tracked down. However, many of them are believed to have succumbed to old age, as with many Holocaust survivors. While the generation that brought about and endured the horrors humans are capable of, their story lives on as a warning – too much of hate, violence, prejudice, and racism can lead us once again into the darkest of times. 

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