The Nazi War on Cancer

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Princeton University Press, 5 giu 2018

Collaboration in the Holocaust. Murderous and torturous medical experiments. The "euthanasia" of hundreds of thousands of people with mental or physical disabilities. Widespread sterilization of "the unfit." Nazi doctors committed these and countless other atrocities as part of Hitler's warped quest to create a German master race. Robert Proctor recently made the explosive discovery, however, that Nazi Germany was also decades ahead of other countries in promoting health reforms that we today regard as progressive and socially responsible. Most startling, Nazi scientists were the first to definitively link lung cancer and cigarette smoking. Proctor explores the controversial and troubling questions that such findings raise: Were the Nazis more complex morally than we thought? Can good science come from an evil regime? What might this reveal about health activism in our own society? Proctor argues that we must view Hitler's Germany more subtly than we have in the past. But he also concludes that the Nazis' forward-looking health activism ultimately came from the same twisted root as their medical crimes: the ideal of a sanitary racial utopia reserved exclusively for pure and healthy Germans.


Author of an earlier groundbreaking work on Nazi medical horrors, Proctor began this book after discovering documents showing that the Nazis conducted the most aggressive antismoking campaign in modern history. Further research revealed that Hitler's government passed a wide range of public health measures, including restrictions on asbestos, radiation, pesticides, and food dyes. Nazi health officials introduced strict occupational health and safety standards, and promoted such foods as whole-grain bread and soybeans. These policies went hand in hand with health propaganda that, for example, idealized the Führer's body and his nonsmoking, vegetarian lifestyle. Proctor shows that cancer also became an important social metaphor, as the Nazis portrayed Jews and other "enemies of the Volk" as tumors that must be eliminated from the German body politic.


This is a disturbing and profoundly important book. It is only by appreciating the connections between the "normal" and the "monstrous" aspects of Nazi science and policy, Proctor reveals, that we can fully understand not just the horror of fascism, but also its deep and seductive appeal even to otherwise right-thinking Germans.

 

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LibraryThing Review

Recensione dell'utente  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

There's a lot of interesting material in this book: Nazi ideas of the proper diet, indications that the Nazi Institute for Cancer Research may have been a cover for developing bioweapons, and, of ... Leggi recensione completa

LibraryThing Review

Recensione dell'utente  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

This is an excellent book that not only provides a detailed look at science and medicine as it was practiced in the Third Reich, as well as how that government institutionally directed the focus of ... Leggi recensione completa

Sommario

PROLOGUE
3
CHAPTER 1 Huepers Secret
13
CHAPTER 2 The Gleichschaltung of German Cancer Research
35
CHAPTER 3 Genetic and Racial Theories
58
CHAPTER 4 Occupational Carcinogenesis
73
CHAPTER 5 The Nazi Diet
120
CHAPTER 6 The Campaign against Tobacco
173
CHAPTER 7 The Monstrous and the Prosaic
248
NOTES
279
BIBLIOGRAPHY
351
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
365
INDEX
367
Copyright

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Informazioni sull'autore (2018)

Robert N. Proctor is Professor of the History of Science at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know and Don't Know about Cancer; Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis; and Value-Free Science? Purity and Power in Modern Knowledge.

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