Eugenics has been a very controversial science that has existed in the world for centuries. Eugenics is defined as “the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)(Dictionary.com, 2005).”
Its base came from the idea that the human race could be “perfected” by getting rid of its undesirable traits and the desirable ones could be multiplied. Physical appearance, IQ, and social capacity could be controlled in humans just as …show more content…
When Adolf Hitler learned of the theory of eugenics, he took Darwin’s phrase “survival of the fittest” to a completely new level. Hitler, and many other people of that time, took the term “survival of the fittest” and defined “the fittest” as the strongest, smartest and most cunning individuals of a species. Through Darwin’s evolutionary theory, “the fittest” refers to the individuals that have the combination of traits to allow them to survive and produce more offspring in their particular environment. This may not be the strongest, smartest or most cunning individual. In fact it may be the weakest, smallest, least intelligent being, but it possesses the best combination of traits and characteristics for it and its offspring to flourish in a particular environment (O’Neil, 2010).
Nazi Germany took Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” phrase in a literal sense and stated that one of their main goals was to apply this “accepted science” to society. The Nazis became well-known for engineering eugenics programs which would maintain and protect their “pure” and “perfect” German race. These programs were justified by the Nazis as “racial hygiene (Holocaust Encyclopedia, 2010).”
The German Nazis, also referred to as the Aryan race, felt that their evolutionary superiority gave them not only the right, but the duty and responsibility to overthrow all other races. Hitler
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Most of the trait studied by eugenicist have little genetic basis. The probability that other Factors such as environmental, poor housing, poor nutrition, and not proper education were
Hitler, in 1934-1945, believing in the works of Charles Darwin, made concentration camps for the jews. He discriminated against the Jews, and declared The Aryan race to be superior. The killing of the Jews was both out of fear and pride for Hitler. He feared the fact that the Jews might spoil the pureness of the Aryans. He took pride in the fact that his race was superior, and so wanted to maintain his race’s superiority to keep his pride intact.
This view of social dominance and evolutionary superiority is very in line with the views of the Nazi Party and ordinary Germans. This hate for the Jews starts with Hitler’s Ant-Jewish propaganda and the implementation of the Nuremberg laws. In “Perish the Jew,” Hitler puts his views of racial superiority into writing, “The Aryan regards work as the basis for the maintenance of the national community as such; the Jew regards work as a means of exploiting other peoples” (Hitler 223). With this writing and other propaganda, Hitler successfully spread a hate for Jewish people across the country. Hitler then created the Nuremberg Laws, which slowly but successfully stripped the Jews of all their rights and made them second-class citizens in Germany. The Jews slowly became, in the eyes of the German people and the SS, people who could be consciously oppressed and turned into slave workers.
With the ideas of Darwinism the seeds of eugenics were also sown , here a biological shaping of its citizens and those deemed beneficial encouraged those that were not were to be managed. The bodily appearance of groups was used as an indicator of a pre-disposition towards anti-social behaviour based upon the conception of they being more similar to animals and thus less rational, more inclined to criminality and less deserving of rights. This domestically this manifested itself in governing in a biopolitical way and of policies that discouraged these groups from having families and carrying on their genetic traits, many that were physically and mentally disabled or ill were sent to asylums, the poor to work houses. Taken to the extreme it was used as justification for the genocide of Jews
The Nazis also adopted the social Darwinist take on Darwinian evolutionary theory regarding the “survival of the fittest.” For the Nazis, survival of a race depended upon its ability to reproduce and multiply, its accumulation of land to support and feed that expanding population, and its vigilance in maintaining the purity of its gene pool, thus preserving the unique “racial” characteristics with which “nature” had equipped it for success in the struggle to survive. Since each “race” sought to expand, and since the space on the earth was finite, the struggle for survival resulted “naturally” in violent conquest and military confrontation. Hence, war even constant war was a part of nature, a part of the human condition. Hitler and the Nazi party outlined their racial enemies in clear and unequivocal terms. For Hitler and the Nazis, the Jews represented a priority enemy both within and outside Germany. Their allegedly racial and inferior genetic makeup spawned the exploitative systems of capitalism and communism. In their drive to expand, the Jews promoted and used these systems of government and state organization, including constitutions, proclamations of equal rights, and international peace, to undermine the race-consciousness of superior races like the German race and to
Eugenics is the pseudoscience of obtaining desired traits in a population through controlled repopulation, specifically by preventing those deemed “unfit” by “Nordic stereotypes” from breeding. Most modern day Americans do not realize the origins of eugenics, which was planted by Charles Darwin and Sir Francis Galton and bloomed in America, and what effect it had on the attempt to create a master race in Nazi Germany. America played a very influential role in German eugenics by collaboration between scientists and funding from American corporations. The negative connotation associated with this science is usually directed towards the scientists of the Holocaust under Adolf Hitler, and not towards American scientists who also partook in horrific experiments and performed inhumane acts as well. This is absurd when you consider that the United States was the backbone of the eugenics movement internationally and only developed a negative perspective of the research when it became affiliated with the holocaust and the troubling actions of Nazi Germany.
The eugenics movement began in the 20th century by a man named Francis Galton. As the cousin of Charles Darwin, Galton believed that eugenics was a moral philosophy to improve humanity by encouraging the ablest and healthiest people to have more children (Carlson). This Galtonian ideal of eugenics is often thought of as positive eugenics. Eugenics can be defined as the outgrowth of human heredity aimed at "improving" the quality of the human stock (Allen and Bird). At the other end of the spectrum is what can be classified as negative eugenics and is presently in disrepute. Negative eugenics entails selective breeding in which the least able from the population is taken out of the reproduction pool to preserve humanity's best traits.
The idea of eugenics was first introduced by Sir Francis Galton, who believed that the breeding of two wealthy and successful members of society would produce a child superior to that of two members of the lower class. This assumption was based on the idea that genes for success or particular excellence were present in our DNA, which is passed from parent to child. Despite the blatant lack of research, two men, Georges Vacher de Lapouge and Jon Alfred Mjoen, played to the white supremacists' desires and claimed that white genes were inherently superior to other races, and with this base formed the first eugenics society. The American Eugenics Movement attempted to unethically obliterate the rising tide of lower classes by immorally
There is much bias and confusion surrounding the topic of eugenics. Many times the reason for this is the lack of understanding of what the term means, where it states “In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a respected British scholar, and cousin of Charles Darwin, first used the term eugenics, meaning ‘well-born.’ (Genetics Generation, 2015).” This term has evolved to encompass more than just “well-born” as can be seen in the encyclopedia. “The eleventh edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica defines eugenics as ‘the organic betterment of the race through wise application of the laws of heredity.’ (Court, 2004).” The meaning of the word eugenics, due to the way it has been used, confuses many people.
Social Darwinism was a concept that emerged later in the nineteenth century suggesting that what applied to nature could also apply to human society – that the strong prevail over the weak, that superior races prevail over inferior races. This concept with its theme of struggle and survival of the fittest appealed to Hitler. “Struggle” wrote Hitler “is the father of all things…He who wants to live must fight and who does not want to fight in this world where external struggle is the law of life has no right to exist”*.
The theory of Eugenics can be dated back all the way to 400 B.C. but was not popularized until the mid-1800s by an English scientist, Francis Galton. He researched and published the theory that aimed to improve the genetic quality of the human population through selective breeding (NC Office of Archives and History). As the half-cousin of Charles Darwin, Galton applied the Darwinism science (survival of the fittest) to heredity characteristics. Two types of Eugenics stemmed from the theory, positive and negative. Positive eugenics is encouraging the “best” people in the society based on financial and personal features to have more children while negative eugenics is picking people with flaws and defects from the population
By quoting many writers and Nazi documents, Bergman creates collective authority to validate an absurd argument. However, by providing readers with detailed interpretations of various quotes from Hitler's Mein Kampf, he successfully illustrates how Darwin’s ideas of ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ were misused to justify for racial discrimination. Hitler used terms such as ‘superior race,’ ‘lower human types,’‘pollution of the race,’ and the word evolution itself-derived from Darwin’s theories of evolution. This clearly indicates Darwin’s theories influenced Hitler. However if these ideas did not exists, the Nazis might have found another reason to justify for the genocide
Eugenics, the word that got its bad reputation years ago through an event that changed history: the Holocaust. First dubbed by Francis Galton in the 1880’s, the word Eugenics stemmed from the words “good” and “generation.” (Eugenics-Meanings) Eugenics means the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population. This improvement is done through discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics); or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics). (Contemporary)There have always been heated discussions over right or wrong, moral or immoral concerning
The roots of eugenics can be traced back to Britain in the early 1880’s when Sir Francis Galton generated the term from the Greek word for “well-born”. He defined eugenics as the science of improving stock, whether human or animal. According to the American Eugenics Movement, today’s study of eugenics has many similarities to studies done in the early 20th century. Back then, “Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings – by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes.” (www.eugenicsarchive.org) According to Merriam-Webster, the modern day definition of eugenics is, a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of