Alleged speech by Sir Hartley Shawcross at Stourbridge, England on May 16, 1984 is believed to be a FORGERY

Sir Hartley Shawcross was the chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal where 22 German war criminals were put on trial, starting on November 20, 1945.

The closing argument, which Shawcross gave for the prosecution at Nuremberg in 1946, is a masterpiece that is widely quoted on many web sites on the Internet. Another speech, allegedly made by Sir Hartley Shawcross at Stourbridge, England on March 16, 1984 and allegedly reported by the Associated Press, is also quoted on numerous web sites and in books such as "The Triumph Of Reason: The Thinking Man's Guide To Adolf Hitler" by British author Michael Walsh, published on December 8, 2002.

The reason that the alleged Stourbridge speech caught the attention of so many people is because seemingly Sir Hartley Shawcross had a complete change of heart in 1984 at the age of 82. In his alleged speech on March 16, 1984 at Stourbridge, Shawcross exonerated Hitler and blamed the British for starting World War II.

In 1999, the alleged Stourbridge speech was being called a forgery on Internet discussion groups. A search of the Associated Press Archives showed that no such speech had been reported and the story had not appeared in either the London Times or the New York Times. When Shawcross died in 2003, there were more allegations of forgery. At that time, British author David Irving did an investigation and determined that the alleged Shawcross speech at Stourbridge was indeed a forgery. Shawcross did not mention a speech given at Stourbridge in his memoirs published in 1995. Neither was his alleged speech mentioned in his obituary when he died at the age of 101. Wikipedia has not been able to verify the Stourbridge speech as authentic.

The webmaster of the web site for the town of Stourbridge has no knowledge of a speech made there by Shawcross on March 16, 1984. Stourbridge is a college town of 54,000 people. If Shawcross had made such a controversial speech there in 1984, the whole town would still remember it. You can be sure that everyone in Missouri knows that Churchill made his famous "Iron Curtain" speech on March 5, 1946 at Westminster College in the equally small town of Fulton.

The forged excerpt of the alleged Shawcross speech is quoted below:

Step by step, I have arrived at the conviction that the aims of Communism in Europe are sinister and fatal. At the Nuremberg trials I, together with my Russian Colleagues, condemned Nazi aggression and terror. I believe now that Hitler and the German people did not want war. But we declared war on Germany, intent on destroying it, in accordance with our principle of the balance of power, and we were encouraged by the Americans around Roosevelt. We ignored Hitler's pleading not to enter into war. Now we are forced to realize that Hitler was right. He offered us the co-operation of Germany: instead, since 1945, we have been facing the immense power of the Soviet Empire. I feel ashamed and humiliated to see that the aims we accused Hitler of are being relentlessly pursued now, only under a different label.

Compare this forged speech to the following quote from the two-day opening statement by Lord Shawcross on the 12th day of the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal on Tuesday, December 4, 1945:

SIR HARTLEY SHAWCROSS (Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, on an occasion to which reference has and will be made, Hitler, the leader of the Nazi conspirators who are now on trial before you, is reported as having said, in reference to their warlike plans:

"I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war, never mind whether it be true or not. The victor shall not be asked later on whether he told the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not the right is what matters, but victory the strongest has the right."

The British Empire with its Allies has twice, within the space of 25 years, been victorious in wars which have been forced upon it, but it is precisely because we realize that victory is not enough, that might is not necessarily right, that lasting peace and the rule of international law is not to be secured by the strong arm alone, that the British nation is taking part in this Trial. There are those who would perhaps say that these wretched men should have been dealt with summarily without trial by "executive action"; that their power for evil broken, they should have been swept aside into oblivion without this elaborate and careful investigation into the part which they played in bringing this war about: Vae Victis! Let them pay the penalty of defeat. But that was not the view of the British Government. Not so would the rule of law be raised and strengthened on the international as well as upon the municipal plane; not so would future generations realize that right is not always on the side of the big battalions; not so would the world be made aware that the waging of aggressive war is not only a dangerous venture but a criminal one.

Lord Shawcross made it quite clear in his opening statement at Nuremberg that Hitler was responsible for starting World War II and that the Germans had forced not one, but two wars, upon the British empire in the previous 25 years. In the forged speech, Shawcross allegedly said just the opposite.

The closing argument by Sir Hartley Shawcross at the Nuremberg IMT was a summation of the crimes which had been proved by the Allies during the trial. The following excerpt shows that Shawcross was emphatic about the Nazis being solely responsible for all the war crimes committed during World War II:

That these defendants participated in and are morally guilty of crimes so frightful that the imagination staggers and reels back at their very contemplation is not in doubt. Let the words of the defendant Frank, which were repeated to you this morning, be well remembered: "Thousands of years will pass and this guilt of Germany will not be erased". Total and totalitarian war, waged in defiance of solemn undertakings and in breach of treaties; great cities, from Coventry to Stalingrad, reduced to rubble, the countryside laid waste, and now the inevitable aftermath of war so fought - hunger and disease stalking through the world; millions of people homeless, maimed, bereaved. And in their graves, crying out, not for vengeance but that this shall not happen again, ten million who might be living in peace and happiness at this hour, soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians killed in battles that ought never to have been.

Nor was that the only or the greatest crime. In all our countries when, perhaps in the heat of passion or for other motives which impair restraint, some individual is killed, the murder becomes a sensation, our compassion is aroused, nor do we rest until the criminal is punished and the rule of law is vindicated. Shall we do less when not one but on the lowest computation twelve million men, women and children are done to death. Not in battle, not in passion, but in the cold, calculated, deliberate attempt to destroy nations and races, to disintegrate the traditions, the institutions and the very existence of free and ancient States. Twelve million murders. Two-thirds of the Jews in Europe exterminated, more than six million of them on the killers' own figures. Murder conducted like some mass- production industry in the gas chambers and the ovens of Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Maidanek and Oranienburg.

(Maidanek is the German name for the Majdanek death camp in Poland and Oranienburg is the location of the Sachsenhausen camp.)

Now comes a Surprising Revelation with a possible explanation on this web site:

The following quote is from the above web site:

The Times (London ), March 13, 1948, p. 4, reports:

"SINISTER AIMS OF COMMUNISM SIR H. SHAWCROSS ON WESTERN UNION Sir Hartley Shawcross, the Attorney-General, speaking at Stourbridge last night [March 12th], said that recent tragic events in Czechoslovakia [communist putsch followed by suicide of Masaryk] had brought a new sense of urgency to the movement for western union. [...] SAME NAZI TECHNIQUE [...] Step by step I have been forced more and more to the conclusion that the aims of Communism in Europe are sinister and deadly aims. I prosecuted the Nazis in Nuremberg. With my Russian colleagues I condemned Nazi aggression and Nazi terror. I feel shame and humiliation now to see under a different name the same aims pursued, the same technique followed, without check. [...]"

This Times article does not claim to be based on an AP press release, nor does it contain the following sentences, sometimes quoted with other wording:

"I believe now that Hitler and the German People did not want war. But we declared war on Germany, intent on destroying her. In this we were encouraged by the Jews around Roosevelt. This was said to be in accordance with our principle of the 'Balance of Power'. We ignored Hitler's pleading not to enter into war. Now we are forced to realize that Hitler was right. He offered us the co-operation of Germany. Instead, since 1945, we have been facing the immense power of the Soviet Empire."

Notice the date of this speech at Stourbridge: March 12, 1948. The date of the alleged forgery at Stourbridge is March 16, 1984.


 This page was last updated on September 7, 2008