Faculty Research Seminar – ‘The Nuremberg Trials Public Communications Apparatus: Propaganda for WWII Healing and Cold War Positioning at the Dawn of PR in ICL’ by Prof. Gregory Gordon (Online)

Faculty Research Seminar – ‘The Nuremberg Trials Public Communications Apparatus: Propaganda for WWII Healing and Cold War Positioning at the Dawn of PR in ICL’ by Prof. Gregory Gordon (Online)

If the Nuremberg Trials represent the birth of international criminal law (ICL), then the public relations efforts of their personnel represent the birth of ‘communication in international criminal justice’. This aspect of the Allied post-World War II prosecutions of Nazi war criminals has been hitherto underexplored in the literature. This presentation fills the gap by examining the origins and development of American efforts to give an account of the Nuremberg Trials while they were unfolding and in their immediate aftermath. It begins with the public relations (PR) efforts of Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor for the initial International Military Tribunal (IMT) trial of the major Nazi war criminals, and his PR ‘right hand man’, Gordon Dean. Jackson and Dean took a multi-prong approach to messaging about the IMT, seeking to educate their Allied partners about the strategic advantages of a due-process-oriented proceeding, while persuading the American political establishment about the nascent Cold War-positioning advantages of such a justice strategy, as well as disabusing the global citizenry of the ‘victors’ justice’ narrative in favour of a ‘global rule of law’ mythology. Once the IMT trial was concluded, and confrontational US-Soviet bipolar reality became entrenched, American personnel for the subsequent Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT) trials took a different tact. In terms of outreach efforts, PR now focused on German attitudes toward prosecution efforts: NMT staff used appeals to justice in a heroic effort to keep resources flowing and the trial timelines open-ended. Bureaucratically, the PR apparatus eventually flowed to the creation of a ‘Special Projects Branch’, which sought to present the public with key excerpts from the NMT trials and provide various German prosecutors’ offices with transcripts and evidence for potential future trials. From its inception, therefore, ICL’s embryonic PR-sphere served as a battleground for competing concerns of transnational justice versus global realpolitik. Between those diametrically opposed policy poles, it carved out a space for education efforts vis-à-vis the local population, preservation of the historical record, and creation of a nascent bureaucratic structure for PR efforts. These modest achievements would lay the groundwork for the modern development of the field of communication in international criminal justice, which will be touched on in concluding remarks.

About the Speaker: Prof. Gregory Gordon, Professor, CUHK LAW 

Register here  by 12:00 noon, 14 November 2023 to attend the seminar.

Date

15 Nov 2023
Expired!

Time

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location

Online
Online

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