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Georgetown Law Library

War Crimes Research Guide

This guide is a starting point for your research on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.


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Historical Research

Historical research often means consulting print materials and journals. Use the library catalog to locate books on your topic. In on order to a thorough periodical literature search on a historical topic (Nuremberg, Vietnam, American civil war, etc.), you will need to consult print indexes - most of the electronic indexes provide coverage back to 1981. This guide will help you locate print indexes.


The Nuremberg trials, heard by the International Military Tribunal, consist of twelve trials with over a hundred defendants and took place from 1945 to 1949. There was the Justice Trial, which considered the criminal responsibility of judges who enforced certain laws. There was also the Doctors Trial, which were about, in part, the medical experiments preformed on prisoners of war and civilians in occupied territory. The one most known is the first trial, generally referred to as the Major War Criminals trial. The materials below focus on the Major War Criminals trial, but included are other historical war crimes trials.

  • The Andersonville Prison Trial: the Trial of Captain Henry Wirz available in print and online through Making of Modern law (Georgetown Law Only) and as e-book (Georgetown Law Only)
    This is trial from the Civil War, includes excerpts from the trial, historical research such as newspaper and magazine passages and illustrations of the camp grounds.
  • German War Trials: Report of Proceedings before the Supreme Court in Leipzig: with Appendices available online (Georgetown Law Only)
    These post World War I trials were allowed under Articles 228-230 of the Treaty of Versailles (called the Treaty of Peace in this text). Those articles allowed for the prosecution of those who had committed "acts in violation of laws and customs of war".
  • Nazi conspiracy and aggression INTL KZ1176 .U54 1946 
    These are also known as the "Red Set". There are eight volumes plus supplements A-B and opinions. These have an indexed sampling of the evidence used to support the charges made in the Major War Crime trial. There is also a glossary, short biographies of the German defendants, as well as summaries of the individual cases against them.
  • The Tokyo War Crimes Trial INTL KZ1181.I57 1981 The complete transcripts of the Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Use in conjunction with the following guide. The Tokyo War Crimes Trial : Index and Guide INTL KZ1181.I57 1981 Suppl.
  • The Trial of German Major War Criminals by the International Military Tribunal sitting at Nuremberg, Germany (commencing 20th November, 1945) : opening speeches of the chief prosecutors for the United States of America, the French Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics INTL KZ1176 .I58 2001
    These speeches are generally viewed as not only important historical documents but also key in shaping how war crimes were to be prosecuted and brought to trial.
  • Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945-1 October 1946 INTL KZ1176 .T73 1947
    These are also known as the "Blue Set". There are forty-two volumes in total. These are the official record of the Major War Crime trial, which include basic, official, pre-trial documents, together with the Tribunal's judgment and sentence of the defendants. They also include full trial proceedings and documents admitted into evidence.


These subscription databases are available to Georgetown Law Only. Sometimes the best (or in some cases the only) way to locate information on your topic is to use periodicals which are journals, magazines and newspapers. You can locate scholarly publications, first hand accounts and other relevant materials. Below is a sampling some relevant resources.

    A searchable full text article database which includes history, economics, political science, social sciences and other scholarly journals. Coverage extends back to volume one of each journal.
  • HarpWeek (1857-1912)
    Offers full text and images of Harper's Weekly from the Civil War Era and early years of the Reconstruction Era (1857-1871), through the Gilded Age (1878-1912), with searchable index.
  • Historical Abstracts
    Provides indexes and abstracts, articles, book chapters, books and dissertations dealing with non-U. S. history from 1450 to the present.
  • The New York Times Historical Newspapers
    is a full text searchable database providing PDF images of the New York Times from 1851 to 2002.
Research Guides and Bibliographies for Historical Research
  • German Legal Research
    This Georgetown Law research guide has a section on Nuremberg Trials Materials.
  • Holocaust Research Guide (Emory University)
    Click on the tab listings (e.g. Reference Sources) to view the different sections of the guide. Remember to check Georgetown main campus library for the materials if the law library does not have the listed materials.
  • European War Crimes Trials : A Bibliography in print and online
    A survey of the scholarly materials published on this topic between 1941-1950 with limited annotation of the materials presented.
  • The Tokyo Trial : A Bibliographic Guide to English-Language Sources INTL K5000.W47 2005
    A good place to start for both locating relevant materials in English, but also for a accessible overview of the both the Tokyo Trials and other Asian Pacific region trials between 1945 and 1956.