The High Command Trial (or, officially, The United States of America vs. Wilhelm von Leeb, et al.)
On December 23, 1947, the U.S. Military Government for Germany created Military Tribunal V-A to try the High Command Case.
The 14 defendants, formerly all leading command or staff officers in the German armed forces, had been indicted on November 28 in a four-count indictment. They were charged with committing crimes against peace by participating in the initiation of invasions of other countries and wars of aggression in violation of international treaties; war crimes and crimes against humanity by participating in atrocities and offenses, including murder, ill-treatment, denial of status and rights, refusal to quarter, and employment under inhuman conditions, against prisoners of war (POWs) and members of armed forces at war with Germany; war crimes and crimes against humanity by participating in atrocities and offenses, including murder, extermination, torture, use for forced labor, deportation to slave labor, persecution on religious, political, and racial grounds, and destruction of cities, towns, and villages, against German nationals and civilians of territories under German occupation; and with participation in a common plan or conspiracy to commit crimes against peace.
The High Command Trial (or, officially, The United States of America vs. Wilhelm von Leeb, et al.) was the last of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).
The accused in this trial were all high-ranking generals of the German Wehrmacht (one was a former Admiral) and former members of the High Command of Nazi Germany's military forces. They were charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal V-A, were John C. Young (presiding judge) from Colorado, Winfield B. Hale from Tennessee, and Justin W. Harding from Alaska. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor. The indictment was filed on November 28, 1947; the trial lasted from December 30 that year until October 28, 1948. Of the 14 defendants indicted, two were acquitted on all counts. Johannes Blaskowitz committed suicide during the trial. The remaining nine defendants received prison sentences ranging from three years including time served to lifetime imprisonment.