Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial (Nurnberg – Die Prozesse) is a three part BBC docu-drama about the Nuremberg trials.
The whole world was closely observing the Nuremberg trials from 1945 to 1949 when Nazi-Germany’s most prominent leaders were indicted and punished for wartime atrocities and crimes against humanity. It was the first international trial for such crimes and set standards for today’s prosecution of war crimes all over the world.
This critically acclaimed BBC documentation retells the trials of three of the most infamous Nazis leaders that were caught alive during the days of the European liberation: Albert Speer (played by Nathaniel Parker), Hermann Goering (Robert Pugh) and Rudolf Hess (Ben Cross). Newly researched material and the protocols of the trial’s psychologist Gustave M. Gilbert enforce a detailed insight into the minds of war criminals, each one representing archetypes of men who misuse their powers. The documentary employs both the use of archival film footage of the actual trial activity, combined with dramatic reenactments of these historic events.
A BBC/Discovery Channel co-production
Part 1: Albert Speer
Episode one focuses on Nazi Albert Speer, who used his charisma to, according to some, fool the court into a lighter sentence than he deserved.
In the first episode, Nathaniel Parker plays the most inscrutable Nazi on trial at Nuremberg, Hitler’s architect and armaments minister Albert Speer. He was the only defendant who unreservedly accepted responsibility for the Nazis’ crimes. But was Speer’s remorse genuine or just a clever defense strategy to get off the hook? The film tells the intriguing behind-the scenes-story of Speer’s trial and his showdown with unrepentant rival, Hermann Goering.
Part 2: Hermann Goering
The second episode tells the story of the trial of Hermann Goering, Hitler’s charismatic and ruthless second-in-command, and how it turned into a battle for his legacy with the German people.
On trial for his life at Nuremberg, the unrepentant Reich Marshal turned the tables on the Allies. So much so that Chief Prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson began to wish the Allies had followed Churchill’s suggestion and shot the leading Nazis out of hand. This documentary drama traces the behind-the-scenes story of Goering’s attempt to re-ignite Nazism from the courtroom and reveals the role that Jewish psychologist, Gustave Gilbert played in Goering’s final defeat.
Part 3: Rudolf Hess
Episode three details the trial of fanatical Nazi Rudolf Hess, whose trial was marked by his increasingly bizarre and paranoid behavior.
In the third and final episode, Ben Cross delivers a compelling performance as Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. After his bizarre flight to Scotland in 1941 to offer peace to Britain, the Fuehrer had Hess declared insane. At Nuremberg, Hess’s fitness for trial was at the center of his case. He claimed not to remember his Nazi past and seemingly suffered from paranoid delusions. American psychiatrist Douglas Kelley and prison psychologist Gustave Gilbert sought to unlock the mystery of Hess’s state of mind. What they found offers revealing insights into the psychology of Nazism.