"I am told that Germany must be punished. I ask: When did punishment begin? It certainly seems to have been going on for a long time. It began in 1943, and continued during 1944 and 1945, when the most frightful air bombardments were cast upon German cities, and when the general exhaustion of their life under the cruel Nazi regime had drained the last ounces of strength from the German race and nation."
- Winston Churchill MP, House of Commons, November 12, 1946
In 1949 Churchill actually made a donation of £25.00 (roughly $1,130.00 in today's money) to the defence fund of Field Marshall Erich von Manstein, after denouncing the "belated trial of an aged German general."
But Churchill made earlier and harsher pronouncements on the war trials of Germans. As early as November 1946, when the main Nuremberg trial had recently ended, he spoke out in parliament against the continuous war trials. I can only wonder what he'd think of Jewish groups, 66 years later, still seeking out aged men to put on trial.
Winston Churchill, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, November 12, 1946:
"In the forefront of any survey of the world stands Germany, a vanquished nation. "Stands," I said—no, prostrate, shattered. Seventy or 80 millions of men and women of an ancient, capable and terribly efficient race are in a ruined and famished condition in the heart of Europe. This confronts us with problems which at present are quite unsolved by the victors. We and the Americans continue to rule and administer the German people in our zones at extravagant and almost unbearable cost—I think in this I carry the Chancellor of the Exchequer with me—to ourselves, and with increasing dissatisfaction to the Germans. We have not been told, and I will not attempt to discuss what is happening in the Russian zone. We are all agreed that the proper course is, as I said before we separated, to make the Germans earn their own living, and make them manage their own affairs as soon as possible, and to give them all possible aid while preventing every form of rearmament. If we are agreed on that, let us enforce it. Let us stick to it and enforce it on every occasion as opportunity serves. Though we have not been informed of any attempt which has been made to forecast the form of the peace treaty with Germany, surely it is urgent to make a peace with the German people, or as many of them as lie within our spheres of responsibility. There must be an end to vengeance and retribution.
I am told that Germany must be punished. I ask: When did punishment begin? It certainly seems to have been going on for a long time. It began in 1943, and continued during 1944 and 1945, when the most frightful air bombardments were cast upon German cities, and when the general exhaustion of their life under the cruel Nazi regime had drained the last ounces of strength from the German race and nation. The Nuremberg trials are over, and the guilty leaders of the Nazi regime have been hanged by the conquerors. We are told that thousands yet remain to be tried, and that vast categories of Germans are classed as potentially guilty because of their association with the Nazi regime. After all, in a country which is handled as Germany was, the ordinary people have very little choice about what to do. I think some consideration should always be given to ordinary people. Everyone is not a Pastor Niemoller or a martyr, and When ordinary people are hurled this way and that, when the cruel hands of tyrants are laid upon them and vile systems of regimentation are imposed and enforced by espionage and other forms of cruelty, there are great numbers of people who will succumb. I thank God that in this island home of ours, we have never been put to the test which many of the peoples of Europe have had to undergo. It is my hope that we shall presently reach the end of the executions, penalties, and punishments, and that without forgetting the hard lessons of the past, we shall turn our faces resolutely towards the future."