German Eugenics and the Wider World: Beyond the Racial State

Paul Weindling

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

German Eugenics and the Wider World: Beyond the Racial State


This article discusses German eugenics as being incorporated of two strands, one racially oriented and the other welfare oriented. Eugenics in Germany was also characterized by its intention to reach out to a wider world of German colonies and German ethnic groups beyond the frontiers of the state. Key issues such as rapid industrialization and urban growth and associated changes in morbidity, family size and structure, and sexuality are addressed. The article outlines a system of public health in which eugenically-trained physicians served the race and nation rather than merely the individual. It provides an understanding of racial hygiene within the context of German imperialism, but the postwar loss of colonies, of territories to the new Polish state, creates a shift of focus within the new welfare state.

Keywords: German; eugenics; racial hygiene; welfare; public health

Article.  7699 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History

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