Lesson Plan

War Crimes

Students will learn the process for and the outcomes of the Nuremberg Trials.

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Enduring Understanding

The Nuremberg Trials were the first international war crimes trials to take place. The extenuating circumstances and the volume of people being prosecuted meant that the international courts were in unfamiliar territory. Years would go by with thousands of cases in order to bring justice to the victims of Nazi terror.

Essential Question

  • 1Is there a right or wrong way to prosecute perpetrators of all levels?


5 Min

Ask students if they have heard of the Nuremberg Trials. If so, what do they know about them?


30 Min

Direct students to the resource, War Crimes Trials by Echoes & Reflections. If not all students have access to a computer, print copies of the resource for your students so they can fill in the Discussion Questions worksheet on the last page.

Read through the resource as a class before having the students answer the questions on their own.


15 Min

Go over the questions as a class. Did everyone come up with the same answers?

Did anything stand out to them when they read through the charges against the perpetrators?

*Hint* The term “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1943-44 but the crime against genocide was not put into effect until 1948.

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.