Robert Taft Essay

Submitted By Hstrows1
Words: 557
Pages: 3

Senator Robert A. Taft

It was October of 1946. Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, was the chief spokesman for the Republican in Washington, and was likely to be the Republican nominee for President in 1948. That is, until the Senator made one controversial speech that would alter his future dramatically. The Nuremberg trials were concluding, and the Ohio senator disagreed with the way that the Nazi leaders were being tried. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote “no matter how finely the lawyers analyzed it, the crime for which the Nazis were tried had never been formalized as a crime with the definiteness required by our legal standards, nor outlawed with a death penalty by the international community. By our standards that crime arose under an ex post facto law.” Senator Taft saw this, and being a man of principle, and integrity, he spoke out. It was at a conference in Ohio when he spoke his mind, just as Taft’s campaign in a heated race for the Oval Office was taking shape. The Nuremburg trials were not much of a topic for discussion, and at no time were before the Congress for consideration; Taft spoke of them anyway. The senator followed the Constitution correctly, all his life, and used it as a weapon. Hanging those Nazi leaders, to Taft, was unjust, and violated the fundamental principle of American law. “The hanging of the eleven men convicted will be a blot on the American record which we shall long regret.” Said Taft. His speech was considered to be political suicide. People thought he was sympathizing for the Nazis; they were angry, and Taft lost the candidacy for Republican nominee. New York Republican Congressional candidate Jacob K. Javits called Taft’s statement “a disservice to all we fought for and to the cause of future peace.” Democratic Majority leader in the Senate (and later Vice President) Alben Barkely of Kentucky told a campaign audience that Taft “never experienced a crescendo of heart about the soup kitchens of 1932, but his heart bled anguishedly for the criminals at Nuremburg.” Fresh off of a second