Did the American Eugenics movement fuel Nazi racial theories? Is the Holocaust partially our fault?

I was reading this and the link is interesting

The Nazis copied American eugenics laws, but I don’t think that means the Holocaust was partially our fault.

The concept of eliminating Jews in Germany – with extermination an option – was being seriously discussed as an option there before WWI. Eugenics had nothing to do with it.

Eugenics would be a logical offshoot of Darwinism. If undesirable traits can be eliminated by selective breeding, then obviously that points the direction to better society and heaven on earth. It didn’t take a V2 scientist to figure that out.

But of course, animal breeders had known for centuries before Darwin that the way to emphasize certain traits was to bred the one that exhibited these traits. Darwin (and Mendel) just gave an scientific explanation for a known process. The Germans were pretty smart. they likely didn’t need to import the idea from Britain or America. I suspect the article is one of those “let’s impose guilt” things, like blaming all white people for the slave trade…

Besides, it’s a big leap from “breed the smartest and healthiest” to “kill all the <fill in the blank>”.

And it is an irony that the movement to idolize the tall blond square-jawed blue-eyed type was lead by a scrawny black-haired narrow-jawed twerp.

The nazis didn’t create their disturbing ideology in a vacuum, they drew inspirations from many nations. Eugenics from the states, concentration camps from the British, a general negativity to Jews and Gypsys were prevalent throughout Europe. So, yes, all nations were somewhat “responsible” for creating a breeding ground for such thoughts,but not directly responsible for the holocaust.

Moving to Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

The morality of eugenics can be debated, but it has nothing to do with extermination camps.

As revolting as forced sterilization is the chasm between that and the industrial mass murder of eleven million people is beyond description.

Well, not nothing, but certainly the Nazi “Final Solution” was a complete perversion of what earlier eugenicists were about, and it is wrong either to blame the holocaust on the eugenics movement, or to condemn all forms of eugenics because it is distantly related to the beliefs that led to the holocaust. That is lie blaming vegetarianism, or historical linguistics, for it.

Anyway, eugenics was not originally an American movement. It was founded (and the word was coined) by Francis Galton, an Englishman (and, not entirely coincidentally, Charles Darwin’s half-cousin). The movement, however, caught on in America more than it did in England, and some American eugenicists took things to extremes that Galton himself would probably not have approved of (although well short of anything the Nazis did).

Eugenics in America was considered essentially a progressive, leftist movement, and its association with evolution (emphasized by Galton, though repudiated by Darwin himself) is almost certainly connected with the 20th century rise of creationism on the American right, in reaction to it. (Creationism really has much more to do with American conservatism than it does with traditional Christianity.)

What in the world is a “half cousin”, Is that a legit term?

The child of a parent’s half-sibling, I’m assuming.

The purpose of the eugenics movement was to reduce the birth rate of those with genetic deformities, especially mental retardation. The method chosen was sterilization, rather than extermination.

The chief target of the Holocaust was Ashkenazic Jews. They have the highest average IQ of any racial group in the world.

Efforts at genocide have usually targeted those who were recognized as mentally superior. The Soviet government targeted the Kulaks, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia targeted those with more education.

It was all *my *fault.
My bad.

About time you fessed up. Being handsome will only take you so far.

There were anti-Semites before World War I (ie the Dreyfus Affair) but none of them were openly advocating genocide but legalize discrimination.

Actually, I think it goes back to Wagner’s day, or nearly.

I don’t know about extermination, but Martin Luther advocated burning their synagogues and schools, razing their homes, and putting those who weren’t expelled from the country to forced labor. He also implied that murdering them would not be a crime, but seemed to prefer expulsion, rather than genocide.