Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. David Goodlett
The Trial of the Major War Criminals at Nuremberg, the personalities associated with the trial, the verdicts rendered, and criticisms directed toward both those verdicts and the tribunal itself have generated a multitude of historical works. However, few historians have explored the American print media's coverage of the trial and even fewer have studied how a newspaper's disposition towards the trial reflected that publication's political ideology and influenced the newspaper's coverage of the trial itself. For this reason, it is the objective of this thesis to examine this neglected area, thus contributing to the scholarship of the first Nuremberg Trial. The newspapers chosen for assessment reflect varying degrees of ideological affiliation and are somewhat diverse geographically. Of the five publications selected, two, The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Daily Tribune, were recognized to be solid supporters of the political right. Likewise, during the period examined, the other publications, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, were considered politically moderate to liberal in their ideology. This study examines editorials, columns (both unique to the specific publication and those syndicated nationally), and letters to the editor dedicated to the trial, in conjunction with the actual reports filed by the newspaper's correspondents and wire services. This thesis also examines the regularity of each newspaper's coverage of the trial and its selection of the information published within its pages, including a comparison with the other publications. After an intense examination of the materials listed above, this study finds that there exists a strong correlation between the political ideology associated with the individual newspapers and their disposition towards the trial, a bias that often manifested itself in the newspaper's coverage of the proceedings. As one might expect, those publications considered traditionally moderate to liberal endorsed the trial and viewed it as a positive step towards strengthening international law and establishing global security. Those newspapers often identified as being politically conservative questioned the trial's legitimacy, believing that its mechanisms were anathematic to western legal principles and infringed on national sovereignty.
Gribben, Brian, "Weighted scales: American newspaper coverage of the trial of the major war criminals at Nuremberg" (2010). Master's Theses. 170.
© 2010 Brian Gribben