Darwinism & the Rise of German Eugenics
by Richard Weikart
Darwinism was a matter of life and death, and no one understood this better than Darwin. Immediately after explaining that each organism “has to struggle for life, and to suffer great destruction,” he closed his chapter on “The Struggle for Existence” in On the Origin of Species on a more comforting note: “When we reflect on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.”
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Richard Weikart is professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and author of From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany and Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress (both from Palgrave Macmillan). Some of his writings can be found at www.csustan.edu/history/faculty/weikart.
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