Third Reich Experiments

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The concentration camps during the Third Reich played a large part in containing and exterminating enemies of the Nazi regime. Before the Second World War the camp system expanded with the addition of camps like Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, and Auschwitz, as the need for prisoner labour increased to help the war effort; these camps were set up in 1933 and extended after 1937 until the end of the war. In the concentration camps the Nazis pioneered new methods of mass detention, abuse, and extermination, driven by a mix of extreme nationalism, bio-politics and racial anti-Semitism. The camps not only served to use the prisoners for labour and mass murders, but were also a place where Nazi physicians could conduct human experiments…show more content…
The human experiments performed on prisoners in the concentration camps during the Third Reich in order to further the regime’s agenda reveal the issue of medical ethics of doctors; the atrocities performed were recognized at the Doctor’s Trial, which set the standards of ethics for future human experiments globally through the creation of the Nuremburg Code. Before examining the human experiments conducted in concentration camps, it is important to look at how the importance and ideology of physicians had altered during the Third Reich. There were various motives for physicians to join and support the Nazi regime, as Michael Kater explains in his article “Hitler’s Early Doctors: Nazi Physicians in Predepression Germany. In his article, Kater examines the motives for physicians to support the regime, and gives a brief historical analysis of their role during this time. Kater explains the central reasons behind supporting the Nazi regime, “All of them, however, were or became stern nationalists who railed against the shameful outcome of the war, subscribed to anti-Semitism and interrelated, novel racial-hygienic theories, and were staunchly anti-Marxist and secretly afraid of a total “socialization” of the German system of…show more content…
In Alan Lefor’s article “Scientific Misconduct and Unethical Human Experimentation: Historic Parallels and Moral Implications” he refers to Dr. Josef Mengele’s work with twins: “Documents have revealed that Mengele carried out much of his work for his own academic advancement, as partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Habilitation, an advanced academic credential in Germany”. The way in which Mengele conducted his research demonstrates his lack of concern for his patients, and raises ethical issues with the method of conducting human experiments. It should also be noted that these experiments were not part of the national agenda, and yet they were reviewed and funded by the Reichsforschungsrat, which was created in Germany in 1937 by the education ministry for all basic and applied research. The approach taken by physicians for these experiments on humans raises ethical issues of the physician profession and tasks, as their stated goal is to treat patients with the hope of curing ailments. The experiments on prisoners in the concentration camps reveal the shift to the health of the state being the focus above the health and well-being of the
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