Wikipedia says: Eugenics beliefs is a fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population.
In the name of eugenics beliefs, the Nazi state sterilised hundreds of thousands against their will, murdered disabled children and embarked on a programme of genocide.
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We like to believe that Nazi atrocities were a unique aberration, a grotesque historical outlier.
But it turns out that leading American eugenicists and lawmakers like Madison Grant and Harry Laughlin inspired many of the Nazi programmes, from the mass sterilisation of those deemed ‘unfit’ to the Nuremberg laws preventing the marriage of Jews and non-Jews.
Eugenics beliefs pre World War 2
Indeed, before World War Two, many eugenicists across the world regarded the Nazi regime with envious admiration.
The Nazis went further, faster than anyone before them.
But ultimately, the story of Nazi eugenics is one of international connection and continuity.
With contributions from Prof Stefan Kühl from the University of Bielefield, Prof Amy Carney from Penn State Behrend, Dr Jonathan Spiro from Castleton University, Prof Sheila Weiss from Clarkson University and Dr Barbara Warnock from the Wiener Holocaust Library.
Eugenics from its origins
We follow the story of eugenics from its origins in the middle-class salons of Victorian Britain, through the Fitter Family competitions and sterilisation laws of Gilded Age USA, to the full genocidal horrors of Nazi Germany.