High Command Case (NMT)

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Case No. 12 of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals was the High Command Case (NMT), United States against Wilhelm von Leeb, et al.[1] In the four-power International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg), the High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) itself was not determined to be a criminal conspiracy. [2]

Like the Einsatzgruppen Case (NMT) and the Hostages Case (NMT), this case dealt with crimes on civilians, and also prisoners of war.

Two of the defendants were acquitted of all charges. The remaining eleven were all found guilty on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or both, and imprisoned for terms from life to three years.


Defendant Disposition
Wilhelm von Leeb 3 years
Hugo Sperrle Acquitted
Georg von Kuechler 20 years
Johannes Blaskowitz Committed suicide
Hermann Hoth 15 years
Hans Reinhardt 15 years
Hans von Salmuth 20 years
Karl Hollidt 5 years
Otto Schniewind Acquitted
Karl von Roques 20 years (died 1949)
Hermann Reinecke Life imprisonment
Walter Warlimont Life imprisonment
Otto Woehler 8 years
Rudolf Lehmann 7 years


The charges laid against the defendants were:

  1. crimes against peace (i.e., waging aggressive war)
  2. war crimes and crimes against humanity: crimes against enemy belligerents and prisoners of war
  3. war crimes and crimes against humanity: crimes against civilians
  4. common plan or conspiracy.

The conspiracy charge was dismissed on the grounds "as tendering no issue not contained in the preceding Counts." All defendants were judged to have been below the policy-making level and acquitted of the first charge.[3]

The war crimes and crimes against humanity indictments included criminal responsibility in connection with the implementation of the Commando Order, the Commissar Order, the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order, the Night and Fog Decree (Nacht und Nebel), the Hostages and Reprisals Order, murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war and of the civilian population in occupied territories and their employment as slave laborers, cooperation between the Wehrmacht and the SS in connection with the persecution and execution of Jews and other segments of the population, and plunder and spoliation.

Hostage taking was also considered in the Hostages Case (NMT); the taking and execution of hostages was not always impermissible in international law.

War crimes

The charges include denial of prisoner of war (POW) status to lawful combatants,and mistreatment of detained POWs. The defendants were also accused of cooperation with the Einsatzgruppen units for field killing of civilians. The Commissar Order and Commando Order were cited as unlawful orders for summary execution of persons entitled to POW status.

Crimes against Humanity

Murder, extermination, ill-treatment, torture, conscription to forced labour, deportation to slave labour or for other purposes, imprisonment without cause, killing of hostages, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, plunder of public and private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, devastation not justified by military necessity, and other inhumane and criminal acts against German nationals and members of the civilian populations of countries and territories under the belligerent occupation of, or otherwise controlled by Germany. [4]


  1. Papers of the International Military Tribunal and the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, ArchivesHub, a national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges, University of Southampton Libraries Special Collections Reference: GB 0738 MS 200
  2. Airey Neave (1978), On Trial at Nuremberg, Little, Brown,pp. 288-295
  3. United Nations War Crimes Commission, p. 70
  4. United Nations War Crimes Commission, pp.3-4