It is well-known that Adolf Hitler often preferred to issue oral, rather than written, orders (especially when dealing with highly sensitive issues such as mass murders). Consequently, it is often difficult (and sometimes flatly impossible) to prove beyond the reasonable doubt that he has, indeed, ordered this or that mass murder (i.e. the Holocaust).
However, there is enough circumstantial evidence to convince any impartial and unbiased jury that he is, indeed, guilty of all of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis (under his leadership).
First, in Mein Kampf he openly states (and justifies) the necessity of these crimes for the survival and prosperity of the Third Reich (in other words, for winning the existential racial war).
Second, he created both a fundamentally criminal ideology and no less fundamentally criminal structures (NSDAP, SA, SS, etc.) whose objectives, strategies and actions were fundamentally criminal. And thus, the inherently criminal system.
Third, the reports made to him (on Holocaust and other issues) prove beyond the reasonable doubt that he was aware of all these crimes. As he had the absolute power in the Reich, he could stop these mass murders at any time.
But he didn’t – which is a very strong circumstantial evidence that he did order these crimes to be committed. Consequently, he is, indeed, guilty of all war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by individuals and structures under his command:
- The Holocaust – mass murder of Jews (by Einsatzgruppen in the East and in the death camps). Estimated death toll – between 4.5 and 6 million.
- Genocide of Roma and Sinti people. Estimated death toll – around 200,000.
- Mistreatment of Soviet POWs. Estimated death toll – 5 million. Regardless of whether it was the result of a criminal neglect or a deliberate extermination policy (i.e. the infamous “Commissar Order”) or (more likely) a bit of both, the Nazis are still responsible for this horrible crime against humanity
- Mass murder of civilians during anti-guerilla operations on German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and other nations. Estimated death toll – 4 million.
- Aktion T4 Euthanasia Program. Mass murder of “genetically inferior” individuals in Germany and occupied territories. Estimated death toll – 275,000 – 300,000.
- Medical experiments on humans in concentration camps. During World War II, Nazi doctors conducted as many as 30 different types of such experiments, including experiments on twins, bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments, head injury experiments, freezing, malaria and immunization experiments, mustard gas, sulfonamide and seawater experiments, sterilization and fertility experiments, experiments with poisons and incendiary bombs and high altitude and blood coagulation experiments. Death toll is difficult to estimate but it definitely was in the low thousands.
- Forced Labor of Foreign Workers. The use of forced labor and slavery in Nazi Germany and throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II took place on an unprecedented scale. The Nazis abducted approximately 12 million people from almost twenty European countries; about two thirds came from Central Europe and Eastern Europe. At its peak the forced laborers comprised 20% of the German work force. Counting deaths and turnover, about 15 million men and women were forced laborers at one point during the war
- Forced Labor in Concentration Camps. In addition to about 15 million civilians from occupied territories who were abducted, shipped to Germany and forced to work there, the Nazis used millions of concentration camps inmates (both inside and outside Germany) as slave laborers. A list drawn up in 1967 by the German Ministry of Justice names about 1,200 camps and subcamps in countries occupied by Germany. Some estimates run as high as 15,000. It is estimated that about 15 million individuals went through these camps in 1939-45. Estimated death toll – 3 million.
- Mass murder of homosexuals in concentration camps. Estimated death toll – 10,000.
- Murder of Political Opponents (including dissenters, conscientious objectors, etc.). It started even before Nazi came to power (every year dozens if not hundreds of Communists, Social Democrats and other opponents of the Nazis were killed by the SA), continued in secret SA camps throughout 1933 (death toll was in the thousands), culminated (in a way) with the Night of Long Knives in June of 1934 and continued via death sentences passed by the infamous Volksgerichtshof – “People’s Court”. Estimated death toll – 20,000.
- Ethnic cleansing of Poland. In 1940, the SS’s Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) developed the draft version of so-called “Generalplan Ost” whose fundamental objective was the genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale, as the key tool for the colonization of Central and Eastern Europe by Germans. It has not been finalized and only very preliminary efforts at ethnic cleansing of Polish territories were made; however, the Einsatzgruppen (SS Death Squads) conducted two mass murders of Polish intellectuals – Operation Tannenberg in 1939 (20,000 victims) and Aktion AB in 1940 (7,000 murdered).
- Nazi Plunder of Occupied Territories. Nazi plunder refers to art theft and other items stolen as a result of the organized looting of European countries during the time of the Third Reich by agents (Kunstschutz units) acting on behalf of the ruling Nazi Party of Germany. In occupied Poland alone, the total cost of German Nazi theft and destruction of Polish art is estimated at 20 billion dollars, or an estimated 43% of Polish cultural heritage; over 516,000 individual art pieces were looted, including 2,800 paintings by European painters; 11,000 paintings by Polish painters; 1,400 sculptures; 75,000 manuscripts; 25,000 maps; 90,000 books, including over 20,000 printed before 1800; and hundreds of thousands of other items of artistic and historical value.
- Nazi “Scorched Earth” Policy. Retreating German troops stole crops, destroyed farms, and razed settlements of at least city size and smaller during several military operations. The best-known victims of the German scorched-earth policy were the people of the historic city of Novgorod, whose hometown was razed during the Winter of 1944 to cover Army Group North’s retreat from Leningrad. And, of course, Warsaw.
Therefore, had he been captured and tried by an impartial court of law (i.e. by the international tribunal) he would be certainly found guilty and sentenced to death (although I would have voted for LWOP – life in prison without the possibility of parole – as I am firmly against capital punishment of even the mass murderers).