America and Nazi Germany
growing up, I invested much time visiting libraries. One reason for my
life-long habit of library visiting is to learn about history by
reading news reports in old magazines. One example of much interest
that I came across recently was a September 9, 1935, Time magazine
article titled "Praise for Nazis." The article was a favorable
reporting about a eugenics conference in Berlin attended by a prominent
American physician. Eugenics as a discipline was formally begun by
Francis Galton (1822-1911), who got the idea from reading the
evolutionary writings of his cousin, Charles Darwin (1809-1882).
is based on the idea that differences in humans exist which allow
survival of the fittest process to select the superior organisms, thus
ratcheting up evolution to higher levels. Consequently, the inferior,
less-evolved humans are more apt to become extinct, and the superior
humans will likely thrive. Eugenics, meaning good genes, was applied by
encouraging sterilization of inferior humans and encouraging superior,
more-fit, humans to produce more offspring. If all humans were equal in
fitness level, and all descendants of Adam and Eve as the Bible
teaches, evolution could not take place because evolution would have
nothing to select from.
many mainline church denominations during WWII accepted the belief that
evolution played a major role in propagating eugenics. The Methodist
Church later formally apologized for their role in supporting eugenics.
Denominations that rejected evolution also rejected eugenics because
evolution led to eugenics for the reason that evolution leads to
differences in fitness. What Darwin called the favored races in the
title of his famous book published in 1859, On the Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in
the Struggle for Life, included the white Aryan races, such as Germans
and Scandinavians, and excluded the inferior races, which were all
non-whites, and included Jews, Blacks, Poles and all Slavic peoples.
Galton came from a very wealthy family that, incidentally, made their
fortune from the slave trade, he was not required to work for a living
as did most everyone else then. Consequently, he spent his life
attempting to make a better world by propagating his eugenics
theory. Although most of the Western world both accepted and
widely implemented eugenics, only Germany carried it to its extreme in
what history today refers to as the Holocaust. They did so because the
German government first attempted to export their inferior races,
mostly Jews, to other countries, most of which, due to their own
eugenic beliefs, rejected them. The U.S. Immigration Act of 1924
established immigration quotas based on race, extending preferential
treatment to whites and discriminating against brown and black people
who wanted to move to America and become citizens.
result was the December 11, 1941 Wannsee Conference located in the
suburbs of Berlin; the conclusion was, because no other country wanted
Jews, Germany’s only choice was to kill all of them. From this
conference the camps were developed to effectively achieve just that
goal. Singling them out for the firing squads, as was the policy
for years, became too expensive (in terms of ammunition, etc.), too
time consuming, and involved the mental anguish of having to shoot
people, young and old. The camp gas chamber program was seen as a
simple solution designed to deal with all these problems. The new, more
efficient method of disposing of the unwanted 11 million European Jews
was to gas them in fake "showers" using the common insecticide called
Zyklon B delivered through shower heads in the ceiling. In this way,
millions would be efficiently killed, and the bodies cremated in ovens.
Problem solved, the Nazis thought.
as American race and immigration law specifically recognized the
inferiority of certain races, notably blacks, so too German law
specifically recognized the inferiority of the Jews and Gypsies and all
non-Aryans. In both cases, the positive term "race protection," was
used to save the white native majority from the contamination posed by
interbreeding with evolutionarily inferior races.
Time magazine article I discovered reported on a eugenic conference in
Berlin where it was reported that "Adolf Hitler, ably supported by Dr.
William Frick and guided by Germany's anthropologists and social
philosophers, has been able to construct a comprehensive racial policy
of population development and improvement. This policy promises to be
epochal in racial history." The goal was "to prevent marriages between
hereditarily tainted persons" comparable to a marriage between an Aryan
and a non-Aryan, and "to influence the choice of life partners
from a health as well as a racial viewpoint." These goals sound
laudable until one realizes that the logical outcome guided by
Germany's anthropologists led to the murder of 12 million persons, a
horrible end that, once it became widely known, rapidly ended the
entire Eugenic Movement. The Time magazine article continued, adding
that Arthur Giitt, the chief of the
Worked Together to Implement Eugenics
(Investigator 192, 2020 May)
Public Health Department bluntly told the Congress: Our penal code will
shortly make compulsory a health examination for all marrying persons.
The purpose of this is first to dissuade bodily or mental inferiors
from marrying and especially from procreation. Second, to prevent
marriages between hereditarily tainted persons, the same as a marriage
between an Aryan and a non-Aryan. Third, to influence the choice of
life partners from a health as well as a racial viewpoint.
began the eugenic dream of both Darwin and Galton. Minister of the
Interior, Wilhelm Frick, observed that during the War, the best,
most-fit men from all embattled nations were dying at the front and the
inferior men rejected for military were at home reproducing. Thus, Dr.
Frick and Nazi eugenists' plans to breed "Germans like prize cattle are
especially vital." Time also observed that "while the German Press
quoted Dr. Campbell by the yard",
Jewish editors tried to dig up something against him, [but] found
nothing more remarkable than that his wife was named Helen Fahnestock.
Socialite Dr. Campbell's boldest dicta: "The difference between the Jew
and the Aryan is as unsurmountable as that between black and white….
Germany has set a pattern which other nations must follow."
Time magazine then opined that
Campbell, though too polite to wound racial sensibilities by calling
[people] names [like inferior race], was unobtrusively teaching that if
"Americans," as that term is generally understood, do not speed up
their birth rate, the result after a few more generations will be to
leave control of their country in the hands of some more pushing race.
pushy races, I assume, include Jews and possibly Poles. Furthermore,
Jewish criticism of Germanys Nazi race policy was blunted by the "warm,
approving speech from Dr. Clarence Gordon Campbell, president of the
American Eugenics Research Association, delivered before the World
Population Congress in Berlin." At the closing Congress banquet
Manhattan's Dr. Campbell gave the toast: "To that great leader, Adolf
Hitler!" This is only one example of how closely the Nazis and the
American eugenic movement worked closely with each other to achieve
eugenics. One study concluded that the
race laws were the precise equivalent of the Democratic Party’s race
laws. It isn’t merely that the former provided for the latter; the 2
sets of laws also had the same functional purpose. Just as the
segregation and discrimination were intended to supplement, and in some
respects replace, the random violence of the KKK, so too the Nuremberg
Laws and Nazi discrimination laws were intended to supplement, and in
some respects replace, the random violence of the brown-shirts. In this
respect, as in so many others, the Nazis and the Democrats draw so
close that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell one from the other.
big question in both America and Germany was "who is a Jew?" The
moderates observed it was not easy to identify a person’s ethnicity due
to the commonality of mixed marriages in Germany. In contrast, the Nazi
radicals observed that "Southern segregation laws were based on the
so-called ‘one drop rule.’ In other words, having any discernible black
ancestry—theoretically even a single drop of black blood—made one
count as black." Eventually, the radicals prevailed, and the infamous
1935 Nuremberg Laws
termed the Law for the Protection of German Blood and the Reich
Citizenship Law—were in fact modeled on the U.S. anti-miscegenation
laws, immigration laws, and Jim Crow laws. The laws prohibited marriage
and sexual relations between Jews and "citizens of German or kindred
blood." And Jews were denied German citizenship; they were now
considered resident aliens, stripped of all rights but certainly of all
political rights. Jews were rendered second class citizens, just the
way most blacks were in the United States.
end, the Nazis rejected the American "one drop rule" as too strict and
determined in order to be deemed Jewish required three Jewish
grandparents. Those who were one-fourth or one-half Jewish would be
counted as Jews only if they actively practiced Judaism culture or were
married to a Jew. All other Jews would count as Germans. In the end,
"Nazis took the softer line in defining racial identity than their U.S.
precedents. Historian George Frederickson writes, "German anti-Semitism
was less rigorous in its attitude toward racial purity than was
American white supremacy." Furthermore
institutionalized a comprehensive system of state-sponsored
discrimination against blacks throughout the South. They were excluded
from virtually all government positions except the most lowly and
menial. This state-sponsored discrimination persisted for
three-quarters of a century, from the 1880s through the 1960s.
Germany copied the American rule but added an "Aryan Clause"
effectively banned Jews from government employment. Soon Jews were
excluded from Journalism, farming, teaching, and the theater. By 1938
Jews could not practice investment banking or the profession of law and
medicine. This combination of segregation and state-sponsored
discrimination against Jews mirrors what the Democrats did to African
In short, there is enough blame to go around when placing blame for the cause of the Holocaust.