About Hartley William Shawcross, GBE, PC, QC
Hartley Shawcross was spoken of as a future Prime Minister when, as "the best-looking man in English public life", he entered the Commons in 1945 and became Attorney-General in the Labour government; but it was his performance as Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom at the Nuremberg war crimes trial that was to be his greatest claim to fame.
Hartley Shawcross's five-hour opening speech at Nuremberg set out the legal justification for the proceedings. He showed that the Tribunal, far from being an instrument of vengeance set up by the victors, was administering rules of international law which had been established before the war, with the full concurrence of Germany. The writer Rebecca West described his final address as "full of living pity, which gave the men in the box their worst hour". Even the accused admired his intellectual grasp.