Racial Theories Leading to the Third Reich

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Racial Theories Leading to the Third Reich

The Nazi State of the Third Reich is clearly defined by racial theory put into practice. One reading Burleigh and Wipperman's book; The Racial State, learns of these different racial theories and how they are implemented under Adolf Hitler in the Third Reich.

As one learns when reading The Racial State, Adolf Hitler's eugenic and racial-hygienic theories were not original. Theorists long before his time wrote of the same racist theories. Hitler never mentions any of these theorists in his work, but one can see when reading The Racial State, that the horrific acts that occurred during the Third Reich reflected the ideas of these theorists.

Theorist Alfred Grotjahn's believed that in order to achieve social hygiene, those who did not fit the social criteria of the state, should be isolated that in order to achieve social hygiene. Those that did not fit the social criteria of the state should be isolated and sterilized to eventually destroy these races. These people included, the insane, the work shy, alcoholics, those carrying diseases and accident victims. Zoologist Ernst Haekel shares this view with his theory that the 'central races' were superior and in order to maintain their superiority, those who were sick and not perfect within the group needed to be exterminated to maintain this perfection within their race. These were only theories of theirs, mere words on a piece of paper, but one sees this actually come into practice in the Third Reich. Hitler succeeded at having those sterilized who were not to his standards and as described by Grotjahn as "healthy germans". In 1934 the Heredity Disease Progeny Act came into legislation in Germany. As Burleigh and Wipperman...

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...sts alone would not have been able to put these theories into practice without the support of others. I find it hard to imagine that one reading these theories would be able to believe that these allegations were valid and justifiable reasons for the extermination of human beings. I believe it was economical interest that put these theories into action, not actually belief in the theories themselves. The theories served as justification, as an excuse for exterminating innocent people that posed as a threat to Aryan-Germans. It is appalling that something as Barbaric as the treatment of humans during the Third Reich actually took place, and that such obscure theories such as those I have discussed provided the structure for the Nazi State.


Burleigh and Wipperman "The Racial State, Germany 1933-1945" Cambridge University Press

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