Nuremberg Defense

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The Nuremberg Defense was a defense used during the Nuremberg Trials by several Nazi war criminals.

It essentially argues that the defendant cannot be held responsible for his actions as he was only "following orders". It is generally not accepted as a legitimate defense provided the defendant had a clear moral choice and an actual ability to refuse to carry out illegal orders, which under a totalitarian state such as Nazi Germany would probably just result in the individual being executed for insubordination.

Adolf Eichmann also used the defense during his 1962 trial.