Biologists Under Hitler

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1996 - History - 468 pages
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On the subject of science in Nazi Germany, we are apt to hear about the collaboration of some scientists, the forced emigration of talented Jewish scientists, the general science phobia of leaders of the Third Reich--but little detail about what actually transpired. Biologists under Hitler is the first book to examine the impact of Nazism on the lives and research of a generation of German biologists. Drawing on previously unutilized archival material, Ute Deichmann, herself a biologist, explores not only what happened to the biologists forced to emigrate but also the careers, science, and crimes of those who stayed in Germany.

Biologists under Hitler combines exhaustive research with capsule biographies of key scientists to overturn certain assumptions about science under the Nazi regime. Biological research, for instance, was neither neglected nor underfunded during World War II; funding by the German Research Association (DFG) in fact increased tenfold between 1933 and 1938, and genetic research in particular flourished. Deichmann shows that the forced emigration of Jews had a less significant impact in biology than in other fields. Furthermore, she reveals that the widely observed decline in German biology after 1945 was not caused primarily by the Third Reich's science policy or by the expulsion of biologists but was due to the international isolation of German scientists as part of the legacy of National Socialism. Her book also provides overwhelming evidence of German scientists' conscious misrepresentation after the war of their wartime activities. In this regard, Deichmann's capsule biography of Konrad Lorenz is particularly telling.

Certain to be regarded as the most thorough and comprehensive account of biological science in Nazi Germany, Biologists under Hitler will interest historians of science, historians of the Nazi era, and biologists, as well as those who wish to learn about the relationship between scientific truth and political realities.


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The Expulsion and Emigration of Scientists 19331939
NSDAP Membership Careers and Research Funding
The Content and Result of Research at Universities
The Content and Result of Research at Kaiser Wilhelm
Scientific Research by the SS
Research to Develop Biological Weapons
Aftereffects of National Socialism
Biologists in the Study

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About the author (1996)

Ute Deichmann is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Genetics of the University of Cologne. She was a recipient of the 1995 Ladislaus Laszt International Ecumenical and Social Concern Award of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

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