Would an alternative timeline where Hitler had free reign over Europe be preferable to what actually occurred?

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Maybe the inmates of concentration camp freed by the Soviets could express their preference
there were quite a lot of them in the East
I wasn't arguing that the Soviets and Nazis were morally equivalent. The Nazis were clearly much worse, but that doesn't mean that the Soviets didn't also commit war crimes. And they sat in judgement at Nuremberg after having invaded Finland and Poland and massacring plenty of civilians in the latter. The Soviet prosecutor at Nuremberg later went on to become commandant of an NKVD camp where 12,000 prisoners died.

With that in mind I'm not seeing how the Soviets making a spectacle out of Hitler would be any less just that went on at Nuremberg. The notion that the Nuremberg Trials weren't a case of victor's justice is complete fiction.

Too be clear about my views on the matter, so as not to be misconstrued, I don't think truly fair war crimes trials are possible at all when conducted by the victorious faction. You're always going to end with the aggrieved party serving as judge, whereas in civilian courts in Western nations judges are supposed to be impartial. No matter how fair that victorious party may try to make the proceedings, it can never be entirely so. War is also an extension of politics, and war crimes tribunals are part of a war's aftermath. They're inherently political in ways most civilian courts are not. Politics are why the Soviets - no champions of human rights - were involved at Nuremberg at all.

Something like the ICC is ostensibly more neutral, but that didn't exist in 1945, and I'm not entirely sure that ICC trials wouldn't be free from outside political pressure.

The Allies did the best they could under the circumstances at Nuremberg, and something had to be done to bring those responsible for the Third Reich's atrocities to justice. If anything some people (like Speer) got off too lightly. But the trials weren't entirely impartial. They couldn't be. To be entirely impartial the trials would need to be conducted by nations that had been neutral during the Second World War, but that would not have been politically acceptable to any of the Allied powers. And even then its likely there would have been significant political pressure from the Allies to come to the correct verdicts.

So I have no issue with the Soviets simply executing Hitler. Whether at Nuremberg or Moscow you're going to have the aggrieved party serving as prosecutor, judge, and executioner. There's just less pretense of impartiality in what the Soviets likely would have done with Hitler, and in either case, it's the outcome Hitler deserved. Either way he'd meet a hangman.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,774
Republika Srpska
Who'd have done the stabbing in the back, though? I mean, Hitler would have still led Germany up to the very end of the war. It's not like some German generals would have killed him nine months before the war ended.
Ludendorff also led Germany up to the end of the WW1 yet he still refused to accept his responsibility for defeat and placed it on the backs of others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,360
Sydney
the purpose of a trial , especially a Soviet show trial is to expose crimes and for the accused to recant his misdeed ,
there wasn't much chance of that ,
it could have become a platform for Hitler to play some heroic Wagnerian doomed hero

as for punishment , how could one be punished enough for millions , it pale into insignificance