The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism

1629 Words 7 Pages
Historiography
Stefan Kühl explores this relationship between German and American eugenicists in his book, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. He states, “Attempts to separate eugenics from the Nazi program of race improvement were only partially successful. The personal and ideological links between eugenics and mass sterilization and extermination were too obvious to be overlooked.” Indeed, the two movements were linked, and this relationship influenced the racial policies of Nazi Germany. He concludes that “Nevertheless, the involvement of American eugenicists with Nazi policies reveals that the ideology of race improvement that was at the root of the massacres was by no means limited to German
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Campbell was president of the Eugenics Research Association and was a representative of the American Eugenics movement at the Berlin Conference in 1934. During the conference, he gave a lecture and discussed the accomplishments of Eugenics and also emphasized the importance of Nazi race policies. At the end of the conference, he presented a toast, “To that great leader, Adolf Hitler!” Campbell also published an article in the Eugenical News which was popular for the Eugenic Research Association, the Galton Society, the American Eugenics Society, and the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations. These organizations used this medium to share ideas regarding eugenics. In attempts to garner support for the Nazi Germany;the article praised the Nazi race policies. Making it a tool for propaganda, Eugenical News was an avenue in which Americans were able to read about German eugenics to American readers. Nonetheless, Kelves provides an appealing argument regarding the relationship between German and American Eugenics movements. It would appear that this connection between the two movements was rather superficial and not as personal. However, there is substantial evidence in which that proves this relationship was multilayered. The German journal Grossdeutscher Pressdienst which states in 1936, “For us Germans it is especially important to know and to see how one of the biggest states in the world with Nordic stock (the U.S.) already has race legislation which …show more content…
This allowed an exchange of eugenic ideas. These eugenic ideas would be crucial in developing sterilization laws in America and Germany. This weakened the American Eugenics movement and strengthened their opponents. Yet, the transnational exchanges between American and German eugenicists reveal that the cooperation between Germany and America were crucial in the success of the international eugenics movement. This relationship plays a major role in the history of eugenics throughout the 20th century. But, this relationship contributed to the decline of the American eugenics movement because of the the established working relationship between the two countries within the international eugenics movement. The happenings and outcome of World War II damaged the reputation of the American eugenics movement. One example is Karl Brandt who was in charge of the Nazi euthanasia programme justified Germany’s actions by referring to American support for Nazi racial hygiene and linked eugenics in his defense. He also considered that America was the birthplace of Eugenics. The relationship between California Eugenicists and German Eugenicists reinforces this notion that the two movements were well-developed and close. Both relied on this international cooperation to further develop eugenic ideas and garner support as well. It is important not to soften this relationship

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