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 Fuhrer'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.
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.
CONTENTS LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix PROLOGUE 3 CHAPTER 1 Hueper's Secret 13 Triumphs of the Intellect 15 "The Number One Enemy of the State" 20 Erwin Liek and the Ideology of Prevention 22 Early Detection and Mass Screening 27 CHAPTER 2 The Gleichschaltung of German Cancer Research 35 The Fates of Jewish Scientists 36 Registries and Medical Surveillance 40 The Rhetoric of Cancer Research 45 Romancing Nature and the Question of Cancer's Increase 51 CHAPTER 3 Genetic and Racial Theories 58 Cancer and the Jewish Question 58 Selection and Sterilization 68 CHAPTER 4 Occupational Carcinogenesis 73 Health and Work in the Reich 74 X-Rays and Radiation Martyrs 83 Radium and Uranium 93 Arsenic, Chromium, Quartz, and Other Kinds of Dusts 102 The Funeral Dress of Kings (Asbestos) 107 Chemical Industry Cancers 114 CHAPTER 5 The Nazi Diet 120 Resisting the Artificial Life 124 Meat versus Vegetables 126 The Fuhrer's Food 134 The Campaign against Alcohol 141 Performance-Enhancing Foods and Drugs 154 Foods for Fighting Cancer 160 Banning Butter Yellow 165 Ideology and Reality 170 CHAPTER 6 The Campaign against Tobacco 173 Early Opposition 176 Making the Cancer Connection 178 Fritz Lickint: The Doctor "Most Hated by the Tobacco Industry" 183 Nazi Medical Moralism 186 Franz H. Muller: The Forgotten Father of Experimental Epidemiology 191 Moving into Action 198 Karl Astel's Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research 206 Gesundheit uber Alles 217 Reemtsma's Forbidden Fruit 228 The Industry's Counterattack 238 Tobacco's Collapse 242 CHAPTER 7 The Monstrous and the Prosaic 248 The Science Question under Fascism 249 Complicating Quackery 252 Biowarfare Research in Disguise 258 Organic Monumentalism 264 Did Nazi Policy Prevent Some Cancers? 267 Playing the Nazi Card 270 Is Nazi Cancer Research Tainted? 271 The Flip Side of Fascism 277 NOTES 279 BIBLIOGRAPHY 351 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 365 INDEX 367