Norman Birkett
Historical Figure
Nationality: United Kingdom
Date of Birth: 1883
Date of Death: 1962
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Religion: Methodism
Occupation: Lawyer, Judge
Spouse: Ruth Nilsson
Children: Michael
Political Party: Liberal Party
Political Office(s): Member of Parliament for Notingham East
Fictional Appearances:
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Posthumous(?) reference
Date of Death: 1945(?)
Cause of Death: Assassination by a bomb(?)

William Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett (6 September 1883 - 10 February 1962) was a British politician, lawyer, preacher and judge. In 1945 his government chose him to serve as its alternate judge at the Allied Forces' Nuremberg Trials in conquered Germany. While he didn't have a vote, he was instrumental in shaping the legal decisions of the trial. Afterward, he served on Britain's Court of Appeal for six years. Birket was a devout member of Britain's Liberal Party, and a brilliant orator. A speech he gave in the House of Lords a mere two days before he died successfully killed a questionable piece of legislation.

Norman Birkett in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

In late 1945, the German Freedom Front bombed the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg with 5000 pounds of TNT, killing over 200 and seriously wounding many others. In preliminary reports, the unfortunate Norman Birkett (1883-1945?) was listed among both the dead and the wounded.

Literary Note[]

Birkett's listing in both the "dead" and "wounded" categories is a matter for debate. Harry Turtledove may have meant to kill off either Birkett or the main British judge, Geoffrey Lawrence, and leave the other wounded, and then confused the two. Or he may have been trying to capture the chaotic confusion of the moment with an instance of mistaken reporting. Either way, Birkett's ultimate fate remains unknown.