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Hitler on race and health in Mein Kampf: a stimulus to anti-racism in the health professions

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Abstract:

Historically, it is impossible to ignore the impact of Hitler on the social and philosophical concept of race. By the start of World War II in 1939 his book Mein Kampf had sold 5 200 000 copies and been translated into 11 languages. His views had a particular impact on the practice of medicine. Reading Hitler today ought to increase the resolve of medical and other health professionals – 'the staunchest supporters of the Nazi regime' – to combat racism. 'Inter-racial' divisions in modern society are still reflected in health gradients, and modern genetics has re-awoken discussion of eugenic theories. This paper, based on quotations from Hitler on racial admixture, the superiority of the Aryan race and the creation of a superior society, seeks to assist professionals in health and health sciences to reflect on these writings and to strengthen anti-racism in public health, medicine and science. The author contends that racism is a major public health issue.

Keywords: EUGENICS; GENETICS; HITLER; MEDICAL PROFESSION; PUBLIC HEALTH; RACISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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