Republican Senator Robert A. Taft in his statement on 5 October 1946 called the Nuremberg trials “a miscarriage of justice”, claiming that the decisions of the International Military Tribunal had been made under ex post facto law and that the conduct of war “shall not be considered an individual crime”. The trial, in his opinion, had adopted the Soviet view of the purpose of the court as a policy of the state, not of justice - without regard to Anglo-Saxon justice. “By using a politicized version of justice, we discredited the very idea of justice in Europe for many years to come”.

Robert Alphonso Taft, the eldest son of the 27th President William Howard Taft, was one of the leaders of an unofficial conservative coalition. Regarding foreign policy, he supported isolationism until the attack on Pearl Harbor. After World War II, he opposed American participation in international organisations, including NATO. His views were shared by many within the US political establishment. Congressman Howard Smith of Wisconsin stated that “the Nuremberg trial is so contrary to the Anglo-Saxon principles of justice that we will be ashamed of this chapter of our history forever. The Nuremberg tribunal represents a policy of revenge in its worst manifestation”. Smith was also known for racism and his dismissive attitude to human rights. He stated that “Southerners will never accept African-Americans as a race of people with the same intelligence, education, and social skills as white people of the South”. “As a representative of the American people, I want to say that what is happening in Nuremberg, Germany, is a disgrace to the United States. Two and a half years after the end of the war in Nuremberg, the racial minority not only hanged German soldiers, but also judged German businessmen on behalf of the United States”, Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi said.

Regardless of party, notorious racists and anti-Semites, who shared reactionary views and were influential in United States politics, stuck up for the Nazis.

Source: Vickers, Kenneth Wayne. John Rankin: Democrat and Demagogue. M. A. Thesis, Mississippi State University, 1993.