Fran Hirsch Profile picture
Historian: UW-Madison; Author of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg,
Oct 10 5 tweets 2 min read
As a bandit state in full breach of international law, Russia should be expelled from all international institutions and designated a state sponsor of terrorism. A bandit state = a state that invades other countries and makes a mockery of the principles and the norms recognized by civilized humanity in pursuit of predatory goals.

Aron Trainin, The Criminal Responsibility of the Hitlerites, July 1944
Sep 23 4 tweets 1 min read
“In the Security Council (where it possesses and has abused the veto), and in the General Assembly… the USSR has increasingly attempted to cover its aggressive aims… with vicious charges of fascism, war-mongering and imperialism against [other] states..." 1951 "The most menacing examples of Soviet behavior in the United Nations... may be called offenses against peace through various forms of aggression. In each of these cases the USSR has used its... special position in the United Nations to ham-string the United Nations." 1951
Jun 7 7 tweets 2 min read
Talk of a "Mariupol Tribunal" has me doing a deep dive into the history of Soviet show trials... and how they were covered by the New York Times and other Western media outlets.

Walter Duranty's coverage of the Moscow Trials is of course particularly egregious. Lots of great examples of what not to do.
Jun 6 11 tweets 4 min read
Russian show trials in Donetsk will begin by targeting three foreign prisoners-of-war--two from Britain and one from Morocco. Russian news sources proclaim that "this public trial will be watched by the whole world." And that "it will be a kind of mini-Nuremberg. trial of Ukrainian and European Nazism."…
Apr 12 17 tweets 3 min read
Russia has become a totalitarian society. Public opinion does not matter. It's all about complacency. I teach a course on Totalitarianism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here are some reading recommendations from my syllabus.
Apr 6 14 tweets 6 min read
As a result of the efforts of Raphael Lemkin, the term #genocide was included in the Indictment for the #Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46 under the category of War Crimes. British deputy chief prosecutor Sir David Maxwell Fyfe used the term in June 1946 #Nuremberg during his cross-examination of Konstantin von Neurath, former Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
Apr 5 10 tweets 3 min read
In his closing speech at the #Nuremberg Trials in 1946, British chief prosecutor Sir Hartley Shawcross used the term #genocide to describe the Nazis’ “deliberate and systematic plan” to wipe out peoples and cultures. Shawcross revisited the evidence about the Einsatzgruppen and Auschwitz.

But he also reminded the Tribunal that #genocide had not been limited to the murder of Jews and Gypsies.
Apr 5 11 tweets 4 min read
The RIA-Novosti article--a horrifying treatise for #genocide--is a ramped-up and developed version of a "plan" for "deukrainization" advocated by the Russian economist and publicist Mikhail Khazin back in 2016. Chilling to re-read Khazin's "vision" for a divided Ukraine. He had called for the transformation of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy into "agricultural hinterland stripped of industry and armed forces" with "excess population" deported to Russia's Far East.
Apr 4 4 tweets 1 min read
Yes, the word genocide was indeed created to describe what is now transpiring in Ukraine. And the term totalitarianism was invented to describe the kind of regime that is now in place in Russia. To me, this much is obvious.

We've seen it before. I've spent my career as a historian studying it.
Apr 3 4 tweets 2 min read
Crimes against humanity as defined in the #Nuremberg Principles of 1946
"Atrocities and offenses, including but not limited to murder, extermination, deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, or other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population…” Russia hasn't broken "western" rules of law. It has violated universal principles.

These were principles that the jurists and diplomats in the Russian Empire and in the Soviet Union had once had a major role in formulating.
May 23, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
On the morning of May 23, 1946, Soviet assistant prosecutor Nikolai Zorya was found dead in his hotel room in #Nuremberg. Zorya, below, had presented key parts of the Soviet case. Zorya’s death was reported to Moscow as a suicide. In Nuremberg, the Soviets put forward another story: Zorya had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.
May 22, 2021 12 tweets 4 min read
On May 22, 1946 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a full transcript of the secret protocols to the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) of 1939, accompanied by an article by the paper’s #Nuremberg correspondent Richard L. Stokes. Stokes explained that this “purports to be the authentic text of the famous ‘Secret Protocol’ for partitioning Poland and disposing of the Baltic states which was signed by Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop at Moscow on... Aug. 23, 1939.”
May 20, 2021 13 tweets 3 min read
On May 20 in #Nuremberg the Soviets finally had the chance to cross-examine Admiral Erich Raeder. Deputy chief prosecutor Yuri Pokrovsky (below) approached the witness box and began to challenge the defendant’s claims to have favored a peaceful relationship with the Soviet Union. Hadn’t Raeder known in 1940 that Hitler was planning to attack Russia? Pokrovsky began. No, Raeder responded. Hitler had not said that he wanted to go to war, just that the German military must “be prepared.”
May 18, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
On May 18, 1946 the International Association of Penal Law held its first postwar session at the Palace of Justice in #Nuremberg. French judge Henri Donnedieu de Vabres had organized the gathering--and had personally invited his fellow Nuremberg judges and prosecutors to attend. Image The Nuremberg judges and prosecutors were joined by other international law experts, like Romanian jurist Vespasian Pella, who had come to Nuremberg expressly for the occasion. The attendees discussed the postwar peace and the creation of a new organization of criminologists.