Defense Strategies Rolfe Uses in the "Nuremburg Trials"

Essay by pisces_009High School, 10th grade May 2004

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In the opening argument, Hans Rolfe, the defense attorney, states that, "A judge does not make the laws, he carries out the laws of his country." Throughout the trial, what strategies does he use to defend these laws in an attempt to discredit the prosecution's case?

Hans Rolfe, the defense attorney, uses various strategies to defend the laws the judges on trial carried out in order to discredit the prosecution's case. First of all, in Rolfe's cross examination of Rudolph Peterson he attempts to show the sterilization of the witness was not a war crime. Similarly, Rolfe attempts to discredit the witness, Irene Hoffman, by trying to show that the result of that previous trial was legitimate. Finally, after Janning's testimony, Rolfe attempts to shift Janning's guilt to the world.

During Rudolph Peterson's testimony, Hans Rolfe, tries to show that the verdict carried out by the judges several years ago was not a war crime.

At the same time, the prosecution claimed that the order for Peterson to be sterilized was a war crime because he was singled out because of his political affiliations. After looking through the case, however, Rolfe thought of a way to show that this was not a war crime and Peterson was not singled out. He asked the witness a question from the previous case: to form a sentence using a few simple given words. When Peterson was unable to create the sentence, Rolfe told the judges that the witness' mother had a mental disorder, implying that this was probably passed down to her son. A German law, as well as a law of Virginia, allowed for the sterilization of the mentally incompetent. Rolfe said that the judges' decision to sterilize the witness had nothing to do with being a political opponent of the Nazi...