This was a tough one to tease out from the webs, so posting a bit late today. Thing is, it’s a big complicated issue with time waves traveling in many directions. The short of it is, eugenics sounds like a great idea but it’s really pretty awful.
And the reason it’s awful is because it clearly hands too much control over people’s lives to the state. And the reason it’s complicated is because where does the line of “too much control” get drawn? For quite a long time, it seemed perfectly reasonable that society should be able to decide who is fit to reproduce, because society has to pick up the slack for those unfit to support themselves. Simple economics, really. I passed on many, many posters and articles explaining what a burden the unfit are to the rest of us, what a waste of resources! And really, who wants anything to do with these folks anyway? So why not just do everyone a favor and use science to figure out who is fit to have children?
And who had better science in the early 20th century than the Germans? Stuff like determining personality traits by measuring skull shape had been invented by the French, it’s true, but the Germans, man- they could make it exact! Now the British were pretty close to their Germanic neighbors to the East, having chosen them as kings for a while, so there was a natural sympathy for these ideas there, but the real leadership in controlling human fitness came, as you probably know, from America.
Think of it- Hitler had only declared himself dictator a couple of months earlier and he was already getting laws on the books which could force sterilization on undesirables as determined by the Nazi party. One day they make you do a silly salute, the next day no kids for you! In this aspect Germany was the envy of ideologues everywhere, who felt that their governments lacked the will to put these sort of effective programs in place. Well, actually, these sorts of programs were being put in place in the States, of course, since about twenty years earlier.
And at the World’s Fair: isn’t it cute? A baby parade! What better way to encourage the births of sound, healthy babies?
all the golden children here.