No.1 Information Control Unit Dr.G./M. - 11/10/46
Public Opinion Research Section
Special report: Reaction to verdicts in Nuremburg trial II
Interest in the Nuremberg trial was at its height on the day when the verdicts were pronounced and for a few days after they were the topic of the day. It appears now, however, that the sensation is wearing off somewhat and people, although still widely discussing the trial, do not seem to be quite as keen on getting the latest news and not missing anything.
At first, news of the verdicts was mostly gathered from radio reports. Many of those who are still proud possessors of a wireless set, sat all day listening to the reports and the news was spread quickly from mouth to mouth. One of our field workers reported that shortly before the appearance of the first newspapers reports only one of 30 persons questioned, could not tell what the verdicts were, most of the people stated however, that even in the cases where they had been able to listen to the radio reports, they had afterwards read the newspaper reports as well so as not to miss anything. The overwhelming majority appears to have read not only the reports of the verdicts but all comments as well, most people stating that they read the comments from "a to z".
A small minority only has taken little or no interest in the verdicts, mostly on the grounds that
Merchant, aged 40
"What does it matter whether those blokes are strung up or not. There is only one problem which interests me - reconstruction and what will become of us."
The minority, which read the verdicts only but took no interest in any further comments, is somewhat larger. Most of these people refused to read the comments for the reason that
"The comments come from those circles only, which by criticising the verdicts, hope to earn the good will of the Allies."
As regards the verdicts themselves, opinion would appear to be divided into two main groups - one which considers them as well the whole trial as illegal and without justification, and one which admits of the correctness of the trial but has various objections against the result. Hardly anybody seems to be wholly satisfied.
In many cases the pronouncement of the verdicts reawakened doubts or even a flat denial of the moral justification or the trial.
Many people, particularly from the upper middle classes and the intellegentsia, cannot get used to the ideas that the victorious foreign powers should sit in court to judge Germany's government.
"There has never been such a thing before that the victor should sit in judgement and condemn the government of the beaten enemy. That is plain murder. We can't sink any lower than that."