- The ideological foundation of Nazi doctrine rested on its objective of producing a master race of blond, blue-eyed Aryans. Because the Nazis believed that race was the primary determinant of national greatness, they sought to improve their racial stock through eugenic measures. Toward this end, the Nazis were aided by prominent racial scientists who were concerned that the population of Germany was being overwhelmed by racial inferiors, which included not only Jews and Gypsies but also the weak, the poor, the insane, the handicapped, and the asocials. Many of Germany’s most prominent racial hygienists, including biologists and geneticists, gravitated to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics, which was headed by Eugen Fischer, who professed a dogmatic belief in the importance of racially perfecting the German people.During the 1920s and 1930s, the eugenics movement was popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and during the Weimar decade, there was a body of shared information between American and German eugenicists. In fact, the Rockefeller Foundation was a prime source for the funding of genetic research both in the United States and in the Weimar Republic. The Rockefeller Foundation continued to support German eugenicists even after the Nazis had gained control over German science. There is evidence to suggest that American eugenicists, in fact, influenced the most important figures of the Nazi regime, including Adolf Hitler. In 1934, Hitler wrote to Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society for a copy of his book, The Case for Sterilization, and shortly thereafter the author received a personal letter of thanks from the Fuhrer. The correspondence between Whitney and Hitler is indicative of the close ties between American and Nazi racial scientists.Throughout the 1930s, eugenicists in the United States were the strongest foreign supporters of Nazi racial policy. It was not, therefore, a flippant remark when Rudolph Hess defined National Socialism as “applied racial science.”See also Euthanasia Program.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.