Did California Pave the Way for Nazi Eugenics Ideologies?

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In summary, the idea of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race was not created by Hitler, but rather in the United States and cultivated in California. California eugenicists played a significant role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing, which ultimately resulted in coercive sterilizations, marriage bans, forced segregation, and persecution. The Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation also played a role in funding and supporting eugenics research. Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In addition to Nazi Germany, Sweden also had a large-scale eugenics program, targeting the deviant and the mentally ill through voluntary and involuntary sterilizations. However, after the horrors of World War II
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"But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing."...

"Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries."...

"In 1904, the Carnegie Institution 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. "...

"The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States 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."...

"In its first 25 years of eugenics legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as "bad girls," diagnosed as "passionate," "oversexed" or "sexually wayward." At the Sonoma State Home, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia."...

"Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough."...

"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."...


I just came across this article, and found it interesting as I had never heard of any of this before.

Previously, I had the impression that the whole Aryan thing was a creation of Hitler, or at least Nazi Germany. It is a scary revelation however to know that the idea of exterminating non "Aryans was supported by some of the most elite American Business men.

The second thought I had was that because this Idea of Eliminating unwanted Genes from the worlds human gene pool, was taken so seriously, and so highly funded essentially by Americas Ruling class, not to mention outside of America, IF there were no Hitler, and no WW2, there very well may have been a different attempt perhaps even from the United States to take the Eugenics movement into to massive perhaps global effect. It may be even so that had Hitler not tried and failed, another similar attempt like that of Hitlers, might have been successful, however, after the horrors of the NAZIS, Eugenics became a crime against humanity which could no longer be funded by those who wished to make it happen.
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You really should know what you're talking about before you start a thread. Moden eugenics started with Sir Francis Galton in 1883. The second largest eugenics program (after Germany) was in Sweden, lasting until 1976, an estimated 62,000 (mostly women) were sterilized.

Here's a starting point if you wish to learn more

See also: Homo Sapiens 1900 and Herman Lundborg
In Sweden, the "Sterilization Act of 1934" provided for the voluntary sterilization of some mental patients. The law was passed while the Swedish Social Democratic Party was in power, though it was also supported by all other political parties in Parliament at the time, as well as the Lutheran Church and much of the medical profession.[92] From about 1934 to until 1975, Sweden sterilized more than 62,000 people, with Herman Lundborg in the lead of the project.[93] Sweden sterilized more people than any other European state except Nazi Germany.[94] More people were sterilized in 1948 than any other year.

Sweden's large-scale eugenics program targeted the deviant and the mentally ill. Most sterilizations were voluntary[citation needed] (though voluntary does not necessarily mean free from persuasion or exhortation), but nine per cent of the sterilized were more or less forced to do so[citation needed]. As was the case in other programs, ethnicity and race were believed to be connected to mental and physical health. Still, a comprehensive critical investigation appointed by the government showed there is no evidence the Swedish sterilization programme targeted ethnic minorities.[95]

There is proof that the program targeted women. The goal of the program was to decrease deviant offspring. If one member of a family was considered deviant the whole family became the target of an investigation. It was perceived to be easier to persuade a woman to be sterilized than it was to persuade a man. For this reason women were more often sterilized than men, despite the fact that the medical procedure involved in the sterilization was simpler to carry out on a man.[96]

Even as far as 1996, social democrats rejected paying compensation to victims, which was criticized by some former members of the party.[94] In 1999 the Swedish government began paying compensation to the victims and their families, but only 21,000 USD and only to those who had "not consented" and who applied for the compensation.[21]

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I find the history of eugenics in California and its impact on the American eugenics movement to be deeply disturbing. The idea of "ethnic cleansing" and forced sterilization is a violation of human rights and goes against the principles of scientific inquiry and ethical research. It is also concerning to see how these ideas were promoted and funded by influential individuals and organizations.

Furthermore, the fact that the eugenics movement in the United States had such a close connection to Nazi Germany and their horrific experiments and policies adds another layer of disturbing implications. It highlights the danger of unchecked scientific theories and ideologies, and serves as a reminder to always critically evaluate and question the motivations behind research and its potential consequences.

I believe it is important for scientists and the scientific community to continue to advocate for ethical research practices and to actively work against any attempts to use science to justify discrimination and oppression. The dark history of eugenics serves as a cautionary tale and a reminder of the responsibility we have as scientists to use our knowledge and skills for the betterment of society, rather than to harm and oppress others.

Related to Did California Pave the Way for Nazi Eugenics Ideologies?

What is eugenics?

Eugenics is a social philosophy and scientific movement that aims to improve the genetic quality of the human population by selectively breeding individuals with desirable traits and preventing those with undesirable traits from reproducing.

When did eugenics start in California?

Eugenics was first introduced to California in the early 20th century, with the founding of the Eugenics Record Office in 1909. However, it gained significant momentum in the state in the 1920s and 1930s with the passage of eugenics legislation and the establishment of the California Eugenics Board.

What was the purpose of eugenics in California?

The main purpose of eugenics in California was to prevent the "unfit" and "undesirable" members of society from reproducing, in order to create a "better" and more "perfect" human race. This included individuals with disabilities, mental illness, and those deemed to be of "inferior" races or ethnicities.

What were the consequences of eugenics in California?

Eugenics in California led to the forced sterilization of thousands of individuals, primarily women and people of color, without their consent. This had a lasting impact on these individuals and their families, and the effects are still felt today.

Is eugenics still practiced in California?

No, eugenics is no longer practiced in California or anywhere else in the world. However, the legacy of eugenics, including the forced sterilization programs, discrimination against certain groups, and the idea of creating a "perfect" human race, still have an impact on society today.

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