The History of Eugenics in America.
Where Hitler got his ideas about a master race and gas chambers.
There is today one state, in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States." - Adolph Hitler from his book “Mein Kampf” published in 1924, regarding the American Eugenics Movement
Photo: Wellcome Images / Wikimedia Commons
In coming up with idea of "The Whole American Catalog", I intend to tell ALL of American history. The past and present. The outstanding and exceptional. The good, the bad and the ugly. This part certainly falls under ugly and even monstrous. That AMERICANS, obviously demented, came up with the twisted philosophy that inspired, educated and funded German doctors. That all their work combined was what inspired Hitler to his monstrous philosophy and actions, which ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of elderly, disabled people of other races and nationalities before he even decided to go after the Jews!
The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow “the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.”
Hitler was certainly one of the most evil monsters who ever lived and did unspeakable things. However, Hitler did not create the idea of a superior white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed master race that could only be created by selective breeding and exterminating all other "inferior" human beings. The most efficient means rounding them up and killing them in gas chambers.
He got both ideas from monsters who were actually Americans who practiced both methods IN AMERICA decades before Hitler came on the scene. This monstrous concept was refined in California, under the disguise of eugenics. The idea that like livestock, human beings need to be bred with superior qualities to further the race. The "inferior", non-whites and white immigrants needed to be sterilized or killed so they couldn't reproduce. Anyone having a disability being first on the list! (The modern equivalent, Farmington, Massachusetts that I wrote about in my last essay!)
Included are some excerpts from “War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race,” by Edwin Black
In an America demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early twentieth century. Elitists, utopians and so-called "progressives" fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton's eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: populate the earth with vastly more of their own socio-economic and biological kind--and less or none of everyone else.
The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior--the so-called "unfit." The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.
Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 "Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder's Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population." Point eight was euthanasia.
The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a "lethal chamber" or public locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, Applied Eugenics, which argued, "From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution… Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated." Applied Eugenics also devoted a chapter to "Lethal Selection," which operated "through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency."
THAT is the twisted concept that created "Planned Parenthood" which was Margaret Singer's contribution to this abomination! She preferred the sterilization method. However, whatever got the job done, like abortion, would do. She was not alone and there were others she collaborated with who came up with the idea of doing it en-mass in gas chambers!
Who were the significant eugenisists?
Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe
Citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney
Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe
Members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections
Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society
Madison Grant of the New York Zoological Society
The University of California Board of Regents
Big money that funded eugenics:
The Carnegie Institution:
In 1904, established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation's social service agencies and associations.
During the '20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany's fascist eugenicists.
The Rockefeller Foundation:
Helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.
By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 -- almost $4 million in 21st-Century money -- to hundreds of German researchers.
In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 to the German Psychiatric Institute of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, later to become the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry.
In the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's eugenic complex of institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the Institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The Institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the Institute, once again, was Hitler's medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin's organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.
The Harriman railroad fortune:
Paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization.
Some groups behind the movement:
The Pasadena-based Human Betterment Foundation
California branch of the American Eugenics Society
The Eugenics Research Society in Long Island
From Ranker.com. History of eugenics in Virginia by Genevieve Carlton:
Thirty states had laws on sterilization:
In 1907, Indiana passed America’s first sterilization law, which allowed the state to give vasectomies to prison inmates to prevent the transmission of “degenerate traits.”
In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws.
In March of 1924, Virginia passed a law known as the “Eugenical Sterilization Act.” The act said that individuals confined to state institutions could be sterilized, specifically naming those “afflicted with hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness or epilepsy.”
Under these laws, a court can order the forced sterilization of people who—according to the judge—cannot make an informed decision for themselves. When disabled people like me are empowered and supported, we can make our own decisions about sterilization. But those who end up before a judge are rarely given that support; many are not even given the chance to try at all. Disabled people—particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and often but not always those under guardianship—may find themselves declared "incapacitated" with little fanfare and as a matter of course.
Forced sterilization continued in Virgina till 1979!
A guardianship law was passed in 1987.
31 states and the District of Columbia still have laws allowing permanent forced sterilizations!
Photo: Virginia. Board of charities and corrections. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927)
The Supreme Court case that determined whether Virginia’s sterilization law was legal centered on one woman: Carrie Buck. Buck had been committed in the Lynchburg Colony, which along with Virginia's other state institutions like the Southwestern Lunatic Asylum, began to immediately sterilize people once the law was passed in 1924.
Eugenicist Harry Laughlin prepared a report on her genetic fitness for the courts trying to determine if the state’s actions were legal. Laughlin proclaimed that Carrie had “mental defectiveness... with a mental age of 9 years.” She also had “record during life of immorality, prostitution, and untruthfulness.” She had an illegitimate child who was also declared a “mental defective” at only six months of age.
But the truth about Carrie Buck was very different from Laughlin’s proclamation. In fact, Laughlin never even met Buck. Carrie had been born to a woman named Emma Buck who was unable to support her child and placed Carrie in foster care. Carrie grew up with her foster family, the Dobbs, living a very normal life: she attended school, did chores, and sang in the church choir. When she was 16, a nephew of the Dobbs raped Carrie and she got pregnant.
This rape gave Harry Laughlin an excuse to call Carrie a "prostitute" who led an immoral life and had an "illegitimate child."
Rather than deal with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, the foster family had Carrie committed, claiming that she was “feebleminded.” In truth, Carrie was poor, pregnant, and had only a sixth-grade education, which fit the stereotypes about shiftless youth. The institution claimed that Carrie, her mother, and her six-month-old daughter were all “feebleminded,” and thus a burden to the state. The “diagnosis” was simply an excuse to discard a young woman as a social burden because her life did not fit with the picture of American Protestant moral values. Carrie Buck was sterilized against her will.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority opinion. He declared that “Carrie Buck is a feeble minded white woman” and “the daughter of a feeble minded mother... and the mother of an illegitimate feeble minded child.” The Virginia state law, according to Holmes, argued that the “welfare of society” allowed the state to sterilize “defective persons who, if now discharged, would become a menace.”
Buck v Bell has never been overturned. After not being able to have children, Carrie Buck’s sister later in life found out she was sterilized without her knowledge in 1928. She was told she was having an appendix operation.
When was eugenics transplanted to Germany?
Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.
During the Reich's early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.
Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler's war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and even hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination.
Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.
Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society declared of Nazism, "While we were pussy-footing around…the Germans were calling a spade a spade."
Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his "bible."
From Dinesh D’Souza: The Hitler-Sanger Connection:
Hitler never quotes Margaret Sanger, but he was inspired by the writings of two of her associates, Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society and Madison Grant of the New York Zoological Society. During the 1930s, Whitney on one occasion visited Grant to proudly show him a letter he had just received from Hitler requesting a copy of Whitney’s book The Case for Sterilization.
Not to be outdone, Grant pulled out his own letter from Hitler, which praised Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race, a book Hitler called his eugenic “Bible.”7 This incident shows how progressive eugenicists in America were well aware of their impact on Hitler and proud of their association with him.
Another example of progressive enthusiasm for Hitler involves Charles Goethe, founder of the Eugenics Society of Northern California, who upon returning from a 1934 fact-finding trip to Germany, wrote a congratulatory letter to his fellow progressive Eugene Gosney, head of the San Diego-based Human Betterment Foundation.
“You will be interested to know,” Goethe’s letter said, “that work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought, and particularly by the work of the Human Betterment Foundation. I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life.”8
After WWII when the general public of the world saw the extent of what the Nazis did in the name of eugenics, it was declared genocide. They were tried at Nuerenberg for crimes against humanity. In their defense, they quoted laws in California claiming they were only doing what had already been done. They were found guilty anyway.
Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, Josef Mengele's boss, in a eugenic doctor's journal he edited called Der Erbarzt, wrote that Germany's war would yield a "total solution to the Jewish problem", escaped prosecution.
In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists. In the fall of 1950, the University of Münster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics.
American eugenicists were able to distance themselves and go underground by renaming their philosophy "human genetics", even though they were the inspiration, collaborators of the Nazis and funded their research, which is why this is probably the first time you are hearing this gruesome story.
"Human genetics" has made great progress all the way up to the Human Genome Project, where we can all be biologically identified by trait and ancestry. Birth defects can be detected and some actually corrected before birth. But as every tool, it can be used for good or bad. Example. "Designer babies",
an infant born after performing interventions in its pre-implantation embryo stage to influence the characteristics or traits the child might possess after birth.
Next: Modern Day Eugenics in America. Laying low after the Nazis were exposed, eugenicists and eugenics are alive and well in America.
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Well researched post... perhaps some day a collection of your ongoing work will become a book for wider distribution!
I have to add to the kudos to you Dave for exposing this evil and the associated research. It is with us today hidden in plain sight.