Law and War: An American Story

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"During the twentieth century, the United States attempted to redefine war crimes to include acts previously considered beyond the realm of objective judgment, and to determine appropriate punishments. This movement to replace blind vengeance with law culminated with the Nuremberg trials, one of the great historical dramas of modern times."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

McGuire, a specialist in law and war, discusses the revolutionary legal and political precedents set by the Nuremberg trials. Drawing on secret correspondence between State Department legal advisors and the American members of various Allied war crimes parole boards, he analyzes how the Nazi war criminals were paroled well before the end of their original prison sentences in the interest of international politics, thus revealing the range and gradations of justice across three continents. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
American Historical Review - Michael R. Belknap

Outstanding... impressive... this is a terrific book.

Journal of American History - Peter Black


Harvard Law Review

[An] intriguing historical analysis.


A 'must read' book for all those interested in international criminal law, war crimes, and war crime trials.

American Historical Review
Outstanding... impressive... this is a terrific book.

— Michael R. Belknap, University of California, San Diego

Journal of American History

— Peter Black, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


A 'must read' book for all those interested in international criminal law, war crimes, and war crime trials.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231120500
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2001
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Maguire has taught the law and theory of war at Columbia University and Bard College. He was the historical advisor for the documentary Nuremberg: A Courtroom Drama.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The End of Limited War 19
2 The Changing Rules of War and Peace 47
3 The American War Crimes Program 101
4 A Shift in Priorities 145
5 Nuremberg: A Cold War Conflict of Interest 203
6 The War Criminals and the Restoration of West German Sovereignty 235
Conclusion 283
Notes 297
Glossary 393
Bibliography 397
Index 423
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