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Racial Theories Leading To The Third Reich

1275 words - 5 pages

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 explain; "This permitted the compulsory sterilization of persons suffering from a series of allegedly heredity illnesses as well as alcaholics"(pg.48). Hitler also isolated the ill from the rest of Germany in concentration camps.
Theories about the extermination of the ill were not the only appalling theories put into practice in the Third Reich. Those who were not considered pure blooded Aryan-Germans were also to suffer under Hitler's reign of terror. Some of those groups included Jews, gypsies, poles and half breeds (eg.Half Jew-Half German). In other words those who were accepted were only those who were pure blooded Aryan-German. Theorist Arthur D. Gobineau believed that the value of a person was determined by their color. He believed that all high cultures where the work of Aryans. He believed that if Aryans interbred with races of lesser value, this would weaken the Aryan ruling class and the Aryan culture would be lost. Hitler shared this view as well. In 1935 the law for the protection of German blood and Honor was passed. This law forbid Jews to have sexual relations or marry those of "German blood". This law did not only excluded Jews from marrying Germans, it also excluded Gypsies, Negroes...

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