Wednesday, 27 December 2006
America influenced Nazis, says American author-journalist Harry Bruinius
December 27, 2006
By syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 26: American quest for racial purity in the early part of the last
century had influenced the Nazis resulting in the Holocaust, says American author-journalist Harry Bruinius.
Harry, who is in the city promoting his award-winning book, "Better for all the
world", has documented as many as 60,000 cases of forced sterilisation in the United States as part of ethnic cleansing and racial purity. The United States was the pioneer in the legal, administrative and technical aspects of eugenic sterilisation and the Nazi Germany borrowed its ideas and applied them in an unprecedented way.
"One of the first laws passed by the National Socialist government of Adolph Hitler
was the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring," and its language and structure closely followed the work of Harry Laughlin. In less than two years, over 150,000 German citizens were forced to undergo the procedure, preparing the way for the genocide to come. In 1936, when the German sterilisation campaign was at its early height, the Nazi regime, through the auspices of Heidelberg University, awarded Laughlin an honorary doctorate for his many contributions to racial
hygiene," he pointed out.
Harry told this correspondent that the American States had ensured that women,
particularly white, were sterilised to "wipe out" racial "impurity" and continue the original genetic make-up of the white population. About 60 per cent of the people who were forcibly sterilised were women.
The young American author had accessed to letters, diaries and public records as
part of his research work published in the form of "Better for all the World". "The research trail for the American eugenics movement led me to a number of archives around the country. The most exciting collections turned out to be the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives in New York, where I found a treasure trove of untapped sources on the family life of Charles Davenport, including the diaries of his father and mother. I corrected a long-established understanding of Davenport, which maintained that he had been beset by "conflicting influences" as a child, torn
between a severe Puritan father and a sceptical, science-loving mother. Not so. As was made clear in his mother’s diaries, she was just as pious as his father, and far from science-loving. Over the years, Davenport's memories of his mother evolved, and in his later life he had completely forgotten her, describing her to biographers with the personality of his wife," Harry pointed out.
Harry was the first researcher to lay hands on the confidential medical records of
Carrie and Emma Buck after the law was changed in early 2002. He said the American eugenics movement, which, unlike England, passed actual legislation to breed genetically superior citizens, stemmed in part from a unique American self-understanding.
"Since the time of the Puritans, Americans have seen themselves as a "city upon a
hill," a nation liberated from the old world and its history. Americans have long seen themselves as a "peculiar people," chosen by God to come to this land of Edenic lushness, where material abundance, good health, and moral purity can reign free. Americans have often defined their civic and spiritual lives through this Biblical image, and have remained relentlessly optimistic, ever confident that the burdens of history and the evils of the past can be swallowed up in this new Jerusalem, this paradise regained in America," Harry said.
Many of the eugenics movement’s leaders were New England Protestants, and, using an
evangelical tone which harked back to their Puritan forbearers, they proclaimed that the goal of their scientific program was to keep the "American stock" pure by excising the causes of immoral behaviour. They saw eugenics as critical to renewing
America, purifying it not only from disease, but from moral impurity as well.
He said eugenics was, however, an Anglo-American idea, and the United States was
indeed the pioneer in state-sanctioned programs of better breeding, which included forced sterilisation, antimiscegenation, and immigration restriction. Germany had its own history of eugenic research, which dated back to the late 19th century, and many of its eugenic programs rose out German research
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