The Nuremberg Trials opened on November 20, 1945 and ended on October 1, 1946. Out of the hundreds of thousands of Germans that were responsible for numerous war crimes and atrocities during WW2, only 19 were convicted and were held accountable for those monstrous crimes.
Subsequent mass trials that were held in post WW2 Germany convicted another number of token of German Nazi businessman and politicians and sentenced some of them to death and most of them to a few years in prison.
All the other hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of German psychopathic murderers and criminals got away Scot free.
Thousands of them were even shipped to the US, while the Nuremberg Trials were going on, where they ended up on the US government payroll, in what was code named "operation paperclip".
The Nuremberg Trials
Following the end of WW2, in the early months of denazification, there was a great will, especially among the Americans, to be utterly thorough, to investigate everyone and hold every supporter of Nazism to account; however, it turned out that the numbers simply made that goal impractical.
It soon became evident, too, that pursuing denazification too scrupulously would make it impossible to create a functioning society in post war western Germany. The reason for that being that almost everyone in Germany was either part of or was affiliated with the NSDAP (the Nazi party) in one way or another, or had supported it and its leadership during the war.
The US wanted a Germany that would be able to support itself economically and not become a burden on the victorious nations. so the Americans quickly abandoned the denazification project and handed it to the local German government.
Diese Schandtaten: Eure Schuld! ("These atrocities: your fault!") One of the posters distributed by U.S. occupation authorities in the summer of 1945
In 1951 the provisional West German government granted amnesties to German war criminals, and stopped pursuing any German Nazis and ended the de-Nazification program altogether.
This led to the reintegration of all the German Nazis back into the “new” western German society, industry, politics and power structures.
Many former Nazis served in the new German military, media and government, attaining high offices. They also rebuilt western Germany, with the generous help of billions of dollars of US taxpayers money under the “Marshal Plan”, and became an integral and founding part of the “new” German elites which ended up ruling the “new” Germany.
A notorious example was SS Gruppenführer Heinz Reinefarth. In 1944 He was in charge of the German army forces which massacred innocent Polish citizens in Warsaw, in what would later become known as the “Wola Massacre”, where 50,000 Polish people in the Wola district of Warsaw were brutally murdered by German troops and their allies during the early phases of the Warsaw uprising.
After the war, Reinefarth became the mayor of the town of Westerland in wetern Germany and member of the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag and a very well respected public figure in Germany. This despite repeated requests by Polish authorities to be extradited to Poland to face justice for his crimes.
SS Gruppenführer Heinz Reinefarth.
And this was just one example of numerous German war criminals that were never persecuted, and simply resumed their lives in the “new” western Germany.
In fact, western Germany made it a point never to extradite any of its former Nazis to face justice in the countries they helped destroy.
The Americans, who fought a war to defeat the Nazi regime and the criminals who were part of of it, shipped thousands of Nazi war criminals to the US after the end of WW2 during operation “paper clip”.
Once in the US they played a critical and important role in the setting up of NASA and the CIA.
The most famous of these Nazi war criminals was Wernher von Braun. The Nazi Rocket scientist who helped Hitler kill tens of thousands of innocent people with his V-1 and V-2 rockets, and who later became the head of NASA's Apollo program, and helped JFK send Americans go to the moon.
In conclusion: the farce that was the "Nuremberg Trials" helped convinced the world that the Nazi regime has been dealt with and that justice was served.
But while in reality, the hundreds of thousands to millions of Nazi German war criminals that had killed, raped and robbed with impunity for six years during WW2 just went back to their normal lives, and rebuilt a new and prosperous Germany with American tax payers money, and lived out their lives in an open, comfortable free western society.
This was in contrast to the destroyed and war torn victims of German barbarity and insanity in central and eastern Europe, who bore the brunt of the German Nazi war crimes during WW2.
They never received, to this day, any justice or meaningful compensation as a way of German atonement for those hideous crimes, and while the Nazi German criminals were enjoying life in the west, they were left to face to horrors of a Stalinist, totalitarian, Communist dictatorship.
Read more about Adolf Heusinger, Hitler's chief of staff who later became the head of Western Germany's army and NATO's chief of staff.
Read more about Wernher von Braun, the Nazi scientist who helped Hitler murder tens of thousands of people and later became the head of NASA.