War Crimes and Punishment

‘To the justice of the firing squad!”

That was the toast proposed by Stalin to Roosevelt and Churchill over dinner in 1943 in Tehran. They were meeting for the first time, and the discussion had turned to the fate of Nazi leaders following Germany’s defeat. Stalin wanted no fewer than 50,000 of them executed. Churchill, much as he despised Nazis, considered mass summary executions dishonorable. Roosevelt, “in an apparent attempt to lighten the conversation, suggested perhaps 49,000 would be adequate.”

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