CANCELED: Francine Hirsch: Bonnie G. Smith Lecture in European History
Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 05:00pm - 06:30pm
RUTGERS HISTORY, IN CO-SPONSORSHIP WITH THE RUTGERS CENTER FOR HISTORICAL ANALYSIS,
PRESENTS THE Spring 2023 BONNIE G. SMITH LECTURE IN EUROPEAN HISTORY:
“Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg”
(University of Wisconsin at Madison)
Tuesday, April 11, 5 PM
Academic Building West Wing, Room 6051
All are invited to the talk and the reception to follow
Francine Hirsch is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of prize-winning monographs, including: Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), and Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).
Professor Hirsch’s talk recovers a major piece of the 1945-1946 International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that has routinely been omitted from standard accounts: the part the Soviet Union played in making the trials happen in the first place. Soviet jurists conceived of the legal framework that treated war as an international crime, giving the trials a legal basis. The Soviets had borne the brunt of the fighting against Germany, and their almost unimaginable suffering gave them moral authority. For the other Allied prosecutors, however, participation of the Stalinist state in the judgment undermined the credibility of the trials and indeed the moral righteousness of the Allied victory. The plan for a joint tribunal misfired as Soviet war crimes were exposed in open court. As relations among the four countries of the prosecution foundered, Nuremberg turned from a court of justice to an early front of the Cold War. Professor Hirsch also discusses the enduring legacy of the International Military Tribunal, including its relevance for war crimes committed in Russia’s war against Ukraine today.