Geneticists in the service of war? The German Research Foundation,
the Reich Research Council, and policy changes in research on heredity

Cottebrune A.
Ruprech-Karls-Universität Heildelberg,
Institut für Geschichte der Medizin.
Medizinhist J. 2005;40(2):141-68.


Historical research has hitherto focused on the specific contribution of human genetics research to National Socialist racial hygiene. During the Third Reich this field had a key position and received very substantial financial support from the government. However, this state sponsorship during the Nazi period was not constant, as documents from the most important public funding organizations for academic research in Germany, the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Reich Research Council (Reichsforschungsrat) show. Human genetics saw a reduction in sponsorship as the government shifted its spending towards preparations for the war. Accordingly, many human geneticists and racial hygienists were unable to continue their research or were forced to change the focus of their work. It is also important to note that much of the available funds were concentrated on the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. This essay analyzes the institutional context of science policy as well as the dynamics between the science of human heredity and Nazi politics during the war.
Liberal Eugenics
Personal genomics
Psychiatric genetics
Human self-domestication
Selecting potential children
Brain size/human evolution
Sterilization: the USA versus Germany (1933-45)
European eugenics, genetics, politics and sterilization laws in the 1930s

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