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The Nuremburg Precedence History will judge these trials wholly by whether the victors themselves adhere to the standards and the law they impose on the vanquished In judging the vanquished the victors also judge themselves New York Times editorial May 14 1946 quoted in Piccigallo 1979 p 18 Although they were not without precedent the Allied trials of war criminals at Nuremberg and elsewhere represented new legal principles and extensions of existing legal principles in an attempt to create new higher standards of behavior in future conflicts Even though aggressive wars and atrocities still occur the principles of Nuremberg may be seen to be taking root in the modern world to the extent that there is now an expectation that investigation and trial of atrocities and war crimes should take place even if the application of these principles is still relatively inconsistent Demands for the punishment of the military and political leaders of Germany and Japan as well as for soldiers who committed specific war crimes had been building throughout the war While the concept of trying soldiers for specific war crimes had been established in international law and especially by the Hague Rules of Land Warfare Treaty of 1907 there was much uncertainty in legal circles about trying enemy leaders for atrocities against their own populations such as Germanys slaughter of the Jews There was also doubt about many other legal points such as applying international law to individuals or trying enemy leaders for aggression In particular the precedence set following World War I was not encouraging nor An attempt to try Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had failed when the Dutch government refused to turn him over to the allies on the grounds that he was being charged with political crimes which were not in Dutch law Woetzel 1962 pp 22-31 Taylor 1971 pp 21-24 66-7 Piccigallo 1979 pp 3-4 Perhaps more damaging was the failure of the British to
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