Darwin and Nazi Germany

In the first half of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler’s Germany forcefully sterilized and murdered hundreds of thousands of people, whom they found genetically imperfect. They were claiming to do nature’s job. According to Nazis if it was good for nature why wouldn’t it be good for societies?

Is Darwin’s evolutionary theory, at least partially, responsible for the holocaust?

Darwinist Nazis

In January 1933, Denmark abolished capital punishment, the U.S. ratified the ban on African Americans to join the navy, the Soviet Union made it mandated to carry a passport, and Germany got a new chancellor to lead a coalition government, Adolf Hitler.

Within a few months after Hitler became chancellor, he successfully silenced his opposition and coalition partners and seized control of all German organizations except for the army and the church. As a result, the ‘reign’ of Hitler started, which spanned from 1933 to 1945. By 1945, in Germany and German-occupied territories, the Nazi regime sterilized, murdered, or forced euthanized hundreds of thousands of people, whom Nazis saw unfit, in the name of the cleansing Arian race.

Darwinist Nazis - Youth
Darwinist Nazis - Youth

Improving the human race was an idea born long before Hitler became the German Chancellor. Scientists and political theorists of the early twentieth century had little grasp of how heredity works, however, this did not stop them from looking for ways to better future generations using natural selection as their guide.

The group who believed only the fit had the right to survive started to question the wisdom of providing care to the ‘weak’ on the grounds this would enable people to live and reproduce who were not meant to survive. They feared that offering medical treatment and social services to disabled people would undermine the natural struggle for existence and lead to the degeneration of the human race. Consequently, forced sterilization of deemed unfit was spreading in the West.

As early as in 1925, in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler admitted his support for social Darwinism, hatred against the Jews community, and his intentions to sort the ‘weak’ from the ‘strong’?

In Hitler’s opinion, helping ‘inferior’ people, who would otherwise die before having children, live and pass their weak traits on to future generations was weakening the German (later expanded to Aryan) race. In addition, he claimed the reason Jewish women were allowed to marry Christians, but Jewish men were not, was because while Jewish communities wanted to ‘infect’ other races, they wanted to keep their own race pure.

Hitler propagated that -among others- Jews, homosexuals, physically or mentally disabled people, and Romanis had to be cleansed from the Aryan population

Nazi Medical Group Before the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof)
Nazi Medical Group Before the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof)

We associate the word ‘nature’ usually prompts us to think about something positive: life, pure, health, wilderness, universe, etc. Isn’t that the reason in adverts they write the words ‘nature’ and ‘natural’ in big fonts’

We often forget nature is also earthquakes, floods, and viruses.

An adorable baby deer eating green is nature. But the unnoticed big cat that is just about to chew the adorable baby is also nature.

Enjoying the light breeze under the sun is nature but a hurricane leaving thousands of elderly homeless is also nature.

Just-plucked herbs from your own garden are natural but poison ivy in neighbor’s garden is also nature.

Nature has no moral values.

Humans do.


Humans should not and do not want to live under the rules of nature where rape, theft, deceptions, murder are natural without consequences. Living under the rules of nature means disposing of values that make us socially human.

In 1959 Charles Darwin published his book ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life’, where he explained the fundamentals of speciation, and how species got more adapted to their environment over generations.

Darwin himself never implied that societies should be engineered by imitating nature. Even if he did, Darwinism is not embracing Darwin’s personal views. Neither is Darwinism accepting Darwin’s scientific theories as he proposed in 1859. Darwinism is accepting biological evolution as a branch of science.

In industrialized nations, some people may have come to wrong conclusions after Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was published, some people, including Nazis, may have pointed the scientific theory to validate their unspeakable actions. However, at the end of the day letting truth lead them to falsity was those people’s own choice. Truth is never to blame.

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