The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism

by Stefan Kuhl (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews
Narrowly focused yet chillingly effective indictment of the American scientists
and social theorists who inspired and applauded Nazi racist ideology.
Eugenics--part science, part twisted Social Darwinism, according to German
sociologist Khl--was first defined in 1883 by Francis Galton as the ``science
of improving the stock''--a science that went on to give academic respectability
to the earliest expressions of Nazi racism. Insisting that many of the
assumptions underlying Nazi thought were ``by no means limited to German
scientists,'' the author skillfully dismantles postwar attempts to marginalize
the activities of the worldwide eugenics establishment, particularly in the US.
With European ties frayed post-WW I, America became the main scientific
reference point for German theorists seeking international legitimacy: it
unfortunately proved an influential model, not only intellectually but
politically. A 1907 Indiana law permitting the sterilization of the mentally
handicapped long predated Germany's 1933 Law on Preventing Hereditarily Ill
Progeny, and the 1924 American Immigration Restriction Act was later praised by
the future Fhrer in Mein Kampf. Meanwhile, US sponsors--including the
Rockefeller Foundation and Jewish philanthropist James Loeb--helped fund major
eugenics institutes in Germany. In turn, many of these sought greater
recognition by offering honorary degrees to leading US eugenicists- -two of
whom, Leon Whitney and Madison Grant, are glimpsed here proudly comparing
appreciative letters from Hitler. A brief reference to a resurgence of
scientific racism in today's academia adds an especially pertinent cautionary
note. More a monograph than a fully realized history but, still, a
well-documented revisionist rebuke to those who would isolate Nazism as a unique phenomenon.

"Despite several excellent recent books on the history of eugenics, Kuhl's
little book has moved the history of eugenics to a new level: the international
connections that nationally researched studies have heretofore failed to make.
The role of American intellectual and scientific encouragement for first German
and then Nazi ideas on eugenics--and beyond--is simply dynamite information.
Kuhl's close dissection of the persistence of eugenical ideas despite shifts in
definition over time is a powerfully documented and necessary
contribution."--Carl N. Degler, author of Out of Our Past and Affluence and Anxiety

"Narrowly focused yet chillingly effective indictment of the American scientists
and social theorists who inspired and applauded Nazi racist ideology....A
well-documented revisionist rebuke to those would isolate Nazism as a unique
phenomenon."--Kirkus Reviews

"A thorough-going expose of the multiple and nefarious connections between Nazi
racial hygiene and American eugenics."--Robert N. Proctor, author of Racial
Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis

"An important book that should not be ignored."--San Francisco Bay Guardian

Product Details

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed edition (February 14, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195149785



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