This seminar will examine the large-scale war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany during World War II,  as well as arguably similar occurrences during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia and in Africa.  We will focus on three questions of history, law, and ethics.

  1. Who committed these crimes?
  2. Why didn't anyone stop them?
  3. Is it useful (or morally necessary) to hold war-crimes trials afterwards?
We will read one book for each session of the seminar. The books will be available in Courts & Commerce. The books are listed below. The list also includes links for each book to its Web page at and at Barnes and, in case you (a) prefer to buy the books on-line or (b) want to read some reviews of the books.

After the list of book titles are two links related to the Nuremberg war-crimes trials, which will be the subject of our first session.

Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, by Joseph E. Persico (Amazon or Barnes); and
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (Amazon or Barnes); and
Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West, by David Rieff (Amazon or Barnes); and
Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, by Mark Bowden (Amazon or Barnes); and
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch (Amazon or Barnes).


A page on the Nuremberg Trials, and on World War II and war-crimes trials generally
A recent article about a Nuremberg court reporter

For corrections, comments, and questions, please e-mail John Setear.

This page was last updated on 6/27/2000.