He was knighted
in 1945 upon his appointment as Attorney-General
and named Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom at the Nuremberg Trials
Shawcross's advocacy before the Nuremberg Trial was passionate. His most famous line was: "There comes a point when a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience".
He avoided the crusading
style of American
and French prosecutors. Shawcross's opening speech, which lasted two days, the 26 and 27 July 1946, sought to undermine any belief that the Nuremberg Trials were victor's justice
(an exacted vengeance
against defeated foes). Instead, he focused on the rule of law
and demonstrated that the laws that the defendants had broken, expressed in international treaties and agreements, were those to which prewar Germany had been a party. In his closing speech, he ridiculed any notion that any of the defendants could have remained ignorant of the thousands of Germans exterminated because they were old or mentally ill
. He used the same argument for the millions of other people "annihilated in the gas chambers
or by shooting" and maintained that each of the 22 defendants was a party to "common murder
in its most ruthless forms".
Attorney-General and UN Factotum
From 1945 to 1949, he was Britain's principal delegate to the United Nations
and was involved in the official adoption of the UN flag
but he was recalled in 1948 to lead for the government's interest at the Lynskey tribunal
. In 1951, he briefly served as President of the Board of Trade
until the Labour government's defeat in the election of that year.
Return to opposition
Shawcross ended his law career in 1951, the same year as the defeat of the second Attlee ministry
. He was expected to become a Tory
, earning him the nickname "Sir Shortly Floorcross" but instead he remained true to his Labour roots.
Shawcross resigned from Parliament in 1958, saying he was tired of party politics.
Defending press freedom
In 1961 he was appointed the chairman of the second Royal Commission on the Press
. In 1967 he became one of the directors of The Times
responsible for ensuring its editorial independence. He resigned on being appointed chairman of the Press Council
in 1974. From 1974 to 1978 he was chairman of the Press Council
and is described as "forthright in his condemnation both of journalists who committed excesses and of proprietors who profited from them" and as a "doughty defender of press freedom".
In October 1974 he poured scorn on a Labour Party pamphlet that recommended the application of "internal democracy" to editorial policy, saying "This means that... there would be some sort of committee consisting at the best of a mixture of van drivers, press operators, electricians and the rest, with no doubt a few journalists, but more probably composed of trade union officials, to deal with editorial policy."
Philanthropy and awards
In 1957, he was among a group of eminent British lawyers who founded JUSTICE
, the human rights and law reform organisation and he became its first chairman, a position he held until 1972. He was instrumental in the foundation of the University of Sussex
and served as chancellor of the university from 1965-85.
He was the President of the charity Attend
(then National Association of Leagues of Hospital Friends) from 1962–72.
Lord Shawcross was married three times. His first wife Alberta Rosita Shyvers (m. 24 May 1924) suffered from multiple sclerosis
and committed suicide
on 30 December 1943.
His second wife Joan Winifred Mather (m. 21 September 1944) died in a riding accident on the Sussex Downs
on 26 January 1974. They had three children - the author and historian William Shawcross
, Hume Shawcross and Dr Joanna Shawcross.
At the age of 95, he married Susanne Monique (née Jansen), formerly wife of Gerald B. Huiskamp,
on 18 April 1997 in Gibraltar
. Lady Shawcross died on 2 March 2013.
He died on 10 July 2003 at home at Cowbeech
, East Sussex, at the age of 101 
and is buried in the churchyard at Jevington in Sussex.
Hartley Shawcross Gravestone - Jevington, East Sussex.
From 1947 to 1960 he was the owner of Vanity V
, a 12-metre class
racing yacht designed by William Fife
to the Third International Rule, built in 1936, which he kept at his home in Cornwall.
A later skipper of the boat, John Crill, recalls being told
that Lord Shawcross, "when the election was due in about 1951, had Vanity V
repainted with a vast 'Vote Labour' banner all the way along her topsides".
Coat of arms
Coat of arms of Hartley Shawcross
- ^ "No. 37238". The London Gazette. 24 August 1945. p. 4294.
- ^ "No. 37222". The London Gazette. 14 August 1945. p. 4135.
- ^ This is the wording usually quoted, and is attested by eyewitness Lord Bruce in a New Statesman article, but it is still a matter of dispute. For full details see Wikiquote, Hartley Shawcross, Baron Shawcross.
- ^ "No. 37243". The London Gazette. 28 August 1945. p. 4345.
- ^ "NAZIS LEADERS LOSING HOPE". Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954). 29 July 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- ^ Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal. 19. 1946. pp. 432–528.
- ^ "United Nations Flag Approved by General Assembly's Legal Committee". United Nations Photo.
- ^ Shawcross, Hartley (29 January 1951). "Prosecutions (Attorney-General's Responsibility)". Hansard. House of Commons Debates (c681).
- ^ Heintzman, Ralph (16 May 2020). "The real meaning of the SNC-Lavalin affair". The Globe and Mail Inc.
- ^ Cullen, Pamela V. (2006). A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams. London, UK: Elliott & Thompson. ISBN 978-1-904027-19-5.
- ^ "No. 41637". The London Gazette. 17 February 1959. p. 1164.
- ^ a b "Obituaries: Lord Shawcross". The Telegraph. 11 July 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- ^ "No. 46162". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1974. p. 7.
- ^ "Attend VIPs | Attend".
- ^ Burke's Peerage 1999, vol. 2, p. 2594
- ^ "Peerage News: The Baroness Shawcross". 6 March 2013.
- ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1218017.stm
- ^ a b "Vanity V". Classic Yacht Info.
Last edited on 25 April 2021, at 08:58
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