“Most of all, American raceologists were proud to have inspired the strictly eugenic state the Nazis were constructing."
Introduction: Woven throughout this four week-long discussion of eugenics is American complicity, eugenics support and enthusiasm for the Nazi racial state. America’s eugenicists trained their German pupils; American finance built the German laboratories dedicated to creating Hitler’s Master Race.
To American utopians Hitler was a pioneering hero. And Hitler in turn acknowledged his debt to them: “Hitler studied American eugenics
laws… the intellectual outlines of the eugenics [he] adopted in 1924 were made in America.” The law against sex relations between Jews and Aryans followed American laws against sex relations between blacks and whites; American laws promoting involuntary sterilization found themselves adopted whole by the Nazi state. Even the Reich’s furtive attempt to rid itself of its Unfit by poison gas was an adaptation of an American model, the “lethal chamber (later adopted as the death row gas chamber).” In the end American eugenicists chose to murder the Unfit indirectly, by “some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”
"We do not stand alone": Nazi poster from 1936 introducing compulsory sterilization legislation. The United States flag is prominently displayed as one of the eugenic states of the world.
for German “race science” began long before Hitler. “During the '20s
, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany's fascist eugenicists.” He, in turn, acknowledged his debt to America:
“‘Now that we know the laws of heredity
,’ he told a fellow Nazi, ‘it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."
Even the epithets attributed by Hitler to the Jews, “bacteria,” vermin,” etc., were first introduced by American eugenicists decades earlier in referring to their own Unfit.
But it was the model of eugenics introduced into American law that provided Germany the rationale for state controlled social engineering geared to the creation of a superior race. It provided as well the “scientific” veneer justifying those future atrocities which, following Israel’s capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann, would be referred to as “the Holocaust.”
In addition to U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned “involuntary sterilization,” Germany took special not of Virginia’s legislation enacted to preserve “white racial purity
.” That law, and miscegenation laws around the United States, remained on the books until the 1967 Supreme Court ruling against the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924 was ruled unconstitutional.
1924 was also the year the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed its eugenics-conforming Immigration Act of 1924 which fifteen years later sealed the fate of European Jewry. The eugenic intent of the 1924 law and the quota system it established regarding immigration remained in place until finally repealed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.”
Propaganda for Nazi Germany's T-4 Euthanasia Program:
"This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.
" from the Office of Racial Policy's”Neues Volk.
America funds Rassenhygiene:
We have already seen that the Carnegie Institute was supporting German eugenics as early as the 1920’s. But Carnegie was not alone. “The Rockefeller Foundation
also supported German eugenics, even funded the “program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.” The Foundation funded both eugenic research and building projects to house the researchers. Among these was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin.
One important project of the Institute involved distinguishing “racial variation” by blood groups. Another was twin studies:
“At the time of Rockefeller's endowment
, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that Institute continued both directly and through various research conduits during Verschuer's early tenure. In 1935... Verschuer wrote… that Germany's war would yield a "total solution to the Jewish problem.”
Verschuer’s research assistant was a young doctor named Josef Mengele who would be called the “Angel of Death” by Auschwitz inmates. As camp “physician” Mengele conducted gruesome experiments, particularly his “twins” experiments with children, described by Vershuer as, “Anthropological testing of the most diverse racial… being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer [Himmler].”
America teaches Germany eugenics: In 1928 Harry Laughlin, assistant director at the Carnegie-funded Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, the main eugenics research center in the United States, delivered a speech in Munich followed by a paper the following year. In it he claimed that, “It has been proven that sterilization is necessary to the well-being of the state… Most importantly, the ‘prohibition of procreation for certain members of degenerate tribes’ needed to be accompanied by special support for marriages hereditarily valuable,” (The Nazi Connection). As early as 1928 American eugenics was providing the Reich its blueprint for its Herrenvolk (Master Race).
were proud to have inspired the strictly eugenic state the Nazis were constructing… Nazi doctors, and even Hitler himself, regularly communicated with American eugenicists from New York to California, ensuring that Germany would scrupulously follow
the path blazed by the US.”
Just how envious the Americans were of their German disciples and the emerging Nazi state is expressed by the executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society: "While we were pussy-footing around
…the Germans were calling a spade a spade." And in 1934 the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine
] raved, “Germany is perhaps the most progressive nation
in restricting fecundity among the Unfit.” This was one year after Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany and began Germany’s rigorous application of eugenics in pursuit of the blond hair, blue-eyed Master Race.” It was also one year following the legislation of the anti-Jewish Nuremburg Laws.
American support of Nazi eugenics
did not end with Auschwitz (although most eugenicists hid their enthusiasm during between 1941 and 1945). Nor did their loyalty and support for their Nazi disciples end with reports of the horrific crimes they committed. With American assistance accused Nazi war criminals not only escaped judgment at Nuremberg but were assisted to return to prominent teaching and research careers. Mengele’s boss, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer
, “became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics
, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists… In the fall of 1950, the University of Münster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean.”
Afterword: After the Holocaust American eugenics generally adopted new titles, cosmetic changes disguising their continuing racist agenda. The American Society of Human Genetics for example annually celebrates the success of the Human Genome Project. It also conducts an aggressive educational outreach to students K through twelve and beyond.
One present day non-profit organization, the Pioneer Fund, created in 1937, remains openly dedicated to the goal of American race betterment, aspires to an eventual American Aryan state.
Recent writings in this Series:
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