German Eugenics

Better Essays
America in the early 20th century is a bizarre past to explore. While geographically similar to the modern day, the economy reached unprecedented heights, wars were taking to directly expand American territory, modern amenities like electric washing machines were being invented, and eugenics was rapidly expanding as a legitimate field of science. Perhaps most surprisingly, a variety of social programs of the 1930s-40’s of America and Germany mirrored each other or were otherwise directly inspired, with German scholars going as far as thanking Americans for providing the framework for further expansion of eugenics policy. However, in spite of inspired eugenics programs and forced imprisonment based on race, the American response to the holocaust…show more content…
Germany’s Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses, or Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased offspring, considered vague and poorly defined criteria like “Congenital Mental Deficiency” as entirely valid criteria for forced sterilization (Miller, 193). However, while America’s largest eugenics-based atrocities mostly are restrained to sterilization, Nazi Germany had no such limitations. After making efforts to sterilize those that were seen as Die Untermenschen, or “sub-humans”, Germany expanded their efforts to remove those human elements that were seen as more useful alive than dead. Championing an Aryan “master race”, Nazi Germany opened exterminations camps and systematically murdered those were who were not only seen as racially inferior, but socially useless. Jews, homosexuals, criminals, political opponents, and many more were sent to work in backbreaking labor efforts if able, and were murdered if…show more content…
Considering solely that amount of context, it almost seems surprising that the United States had no official euthanasia programs, particularly considering the variety of political thought that having 50 independent states allows the nation to exercise. It would seem that the large-scale exploitation of people for labor based on race had, more or less, been abolished with the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Yet, overarching similarities between the actions of the United States and Nazi Germany were not limited to
Get Access