Army Jag Corps
Nuremberg Trials, defendants in the dock

The Courts-Martial of Benedict Arnold and John André

In the late 1700s, after a distinguished military career, Continental Army General Benedict Arnold engaged in a conspiracy to surrender West Point to British forces in exchange for money. This scheme followed a court-martial, led by Judge Advocate General Colonel John Laurance, into Arnold’s undocumented expenditures during the Battle of Quebec. Arnold, reportedly angry over the allegations, resigned his command of Philadelphia.

Arnold procured papers that exposed West Point’s defenses, and provided them to British Army Maj. John André. André, however, was captured as he attempted to escape back into British lines. American Soldiers searched
André and found the plans, exposing Arnold's plot. Judge Advocate Laurence would later prosecute André in a second court-martial, where he’d be found guilty and later sentenced to death. Arnold evaded capture and defected to the British Army.

The Nuremburg Trials

In 1944, in the final stages of one of the most destructive wars in modern history, U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson directed the Judge Advocate General to set up an office focused on prosecuting top-ranking German and Japanese officials responsible for the atrocities during the war. Judge Advocates would eventually supervise the trials of 2,500 war criminals.

The Nuremburg Trials opened in Nov. 1945, during which Herman Goering (Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe), Rudolf Hess (Secretary of the Nazi Party) Joachim Von Ribbentrop (Nazi Foreign Minister), and several other German officials were accused of carrying out the Holocaust. Judge Advocates researched the laws governing war crimes and assisted members of allied prosecution team.