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FTR #32 Part I: Fascism, Eugenics and Euthanasia

Lis­ten now: Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

As the debate over physi­cian assist­ed sui­cide inten­si­fies in the Unit­ed States and else­where, it is increas­ing­ly impor­tant to under­stand some of the far-reach­ing polit­i­cal impli­ca­tions of this issue. This pro­gram focus­es on the rela­tion­ship between the inter­na­tion­al eugen­ics move­ment and the inter­na­tion­al euthana­sia move­ment, as well as their sem­i­nal influ­ence on the Nazi racial laws and exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams. The Third Reich’s racial laws were pro­found­ly influ­enced by Amer­i­can eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy and leg­is­la­tion. In turn, the eugen­ics move­ment in Ger­many gave rise to the “T‑4” euthana­sia pro­gram, which was the begin­ning of and the oper­a­tional foun­da­tion of Nazi geno­cide. Among oth­er issues, the broad­cast dis­cuss­es the sem­i­nal Amer­i­can influ­ence on the “Law for the Pre­ven­tion of Hered­i­tar­i­ly Ill Prog­e­ny” (the first of the Nazi racial laws) and dis­cuss­es the Knauer case. The lat­ter was the euth­a­niz­ing of a deformed child (at the request of the par­ents). This killing opened the judi­cial door to offi­cial, state autho­rized killing in Nazi Ger­many. (There is a sim­i­lar case work­ing its way through the U.S. court sys­tem, as of ear­ly 1995.) (Record­ed on 1/26/97.)