Tristen reviewed by Arthur L. Caplan, this program



We Will Write a Custom Essay about Tristen reviewed by Arthur L. Caplan, this program
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


20, 2018

The Degree of Nazi Germany’s Science

            The Nazis had a highly elevated
science program, guided by an unethical, state-organized worldview of racial
purity, anti-Semitism, destruction & degradation, and militarism. In the
wake of Nazi Germany, the scapegoating of the Jewish population of Germany and
then subsequently all of Europe, and the quest to rule the world sought by
Adolf Hitler led to the creation of the Nazi science program. In a review of
the book “Racial Hygiene” by Robert N. Proctor reviewed by Arthur L. Caplan,
this program which grew massive and successful followed the Nazi ideology of
militarism and racial hygiene (Caplan, 1990), which aided the genocidal effort,
military technology and the German populace. According to journalist Brian
Palmer, the genocidal effort included experimentation of the racially inferior,
such as the Jews (Palmer, 2010). Because of racial hygiene’s significant
importance in German physiology, Caplan restates that the colleges,
journalisms, and scientific activities during this time influenced the creation
of propaganda like Nazi eugenics, criminal biology and comparative anthropology
(Caplan, 1990). To propagate young men and women has a significant impact,
which probably points to modern German guilt and the interest in the downfall
of the German Empire.

            Where did racial hygiene come from
exactly? The obvious answer points to Hitler – and his rise to Chancellor of
Germany in 1933. In a Nazi eugenics research by Frank Stahnisch, early in the
starting point of WWII German medical philosophy Alfred Ploetz wrote the book
“Foundations of a Eugenics, Part I, The Efficiency of Our Race and the
Protection of the Defectives”, where he defines racial hygiene through his
assumptive beliefs (Stahnisch, 2014). To understand what he wrote, Adolf Hitler
adopted the ideas from the book that there exists a selectiveness for nations
of the world, dictated by the culture and race of the nation (Stahnisch, 2014),
a belief of racial dominance, and inspiration for war-scarred Hitler, social
Darwinism if you will. However, Ploetz was not the only person to have an
influence on Hitler’s early visions and inspirations for his plans for a golden
Germany: Eugen Fischer had an even more significant impact on Hitler’s mindset
at around the same time he began to write Mein Kampf, Hitler’s mid-life
biography (Stahnisch, 2014).

            Now that we understand the history
of racial hygiene, how did it effect the golden age of Nazi science? What was
done, and what was made? The experimentation in the death camps is the most
notorious and obvious implementation in the Holocaust for racial hygiene. The
nature of these camps was all death, and nothing new except for those destined
to be gassed or to die of exhaustion/starvation/disease, so it’s no surprise
the experiments were any different from death. The Nazi doctors in charge “were
to expel any Jews from their midst, in the name of the Holocaust” (Caplan,
1990). So, what did these doctors do? Some of the experiments included twins.
Josef Mengele, one of the most notorious Nazi doctors, took twins and did
various experiments on them, in order to backtrack and research genetic
diseases from race (“Josef Mengele”). Mengele also had a unique interest in an
eye condition known as heterochromia, where two of a person’s eyes’ colors are
different. He tried to find ways to artificially alter eye color. Nerve
regeneration and bone/organ transplantation for soldiers, human tolerance for
various poisons, consumption of exclusively seawater, and tests for malaria
immunization – many of these experiments led to painful, nearly always without
anesthesia, horrible deaths (U.S. Holocaust Museum, 1949). They were indeed for
a medical purpose, but what’s to say they were ethical? They obviously were
not, and considering the data and the creation of the Nuremburg Code (Palmer,
2010) they were without a doubt unreasonable. According to Palmer, very little
useful science came out of the Nazi experiments, the essence of the experiments
were easily “duplicative, useless, or scientifically unsound” (Palmer, 2010).
However, there were some experiments done with useful data or experiments done
with a more pronounced goal in mind. The low-pressure experiments were
experiments to test human tolerance at high-altitudes for the German Air Force
(U.S. Holocaust Museum, 1949). Lost (mustard) gas experimentation and an
attempt to find a medication for the effect of exposure (U.S. Holocaust Museum,
1949). Phosphorus burns by incendiary bombs during World War 2 were a problem,
so doctors tried to find a medication for the burns inflicted (U.S. Holocaust
Museum, 1949). The most important data from an experiment according to Palmer
was the ice-water experiments. Dr. Sigmund Rascher wanted to find how long
pilots from wrecked aircraft could survive in the freezing waters of the North
Sea. He monitored various aspects of their body activity, like heart rate,
muscle control and body temperature. It has been widely considered that the
data he found was “irreproducible and valuable” (Palmer, 2010). “Dozens of
medical journal articles have cited the research, which has played a minor role
in the development of survival suits for cold-water fishing boats and warming
techniques for hypothermia patients” (Palmer, 2010). An experiment that was
hypothesized and considered by the Nazis was the mass sterilization of the
Jewish race of the death camps by X-ray. X-ray is a form of radiation that can
disrupt the DNA of living beings, albeit not as powerful as other forms of
radiation. Nazi doctors wrote to Heinrich Himmler stating that such procedures
could be done to the 1000’s per day (Letter from SS-Oberführer Viktor Brack to
Reichsführer-SS Himmler, 1942), (Letter from Professor Clauberg to Himmler, 1943).

            After the war, the Nuremburg Code
was created. It’s purpose was to prevent modern, unethical experimentation to
humankind after the horror of the experimentation in the death camps (Palmer,
2010). It is a good way to represent the legacy of the experiments done in the
camps: unethical, cruelty and genuine evil. Most of the experiments were for
human tolerance of infections, wounds and conditions, mostly for the military.
How did the German military’s new technologies fare during World War 2?

            Because of the Nazi war effort, the
Nazis had to build an impressive military to fight a two-front, empire-building
war. What weapons were developed, and how effective were they, and what legacy
do they have?

A non-forgettable but not specific
to the Nazis, during both World War 1 and 2, Germany adopted the Karabiner 98k.
This German rifle was manufactured by the firearm company Mauser. Because of
how many were manufactured, it is still used in the world today, but it’s
service in most militaries has been revoked. It could hold five rounds of 7.9
mm. The gun had pinpoint accuracy up to an effective range of around 800
meters. It was used as a sniper’s weapon with a telescopic scope
(, 2018).

The next weapon and more
specifically Nazi weapon was the Sturmgewehr 44. It was the world’s first
assault rifle and inspired the world’s most well recognized assault rifle the
Russian AK-47. It was revolutionary in that it could hit targets at long ranges
and was also effective in close quarter combat. It’s legacy has affected all
modern assault rifles in one way or another (, 2018). The
Sturmgewehr 44 had a magazine capacity of 30 rounds, chambered in 7.920mm. It
weighed 5.1 kg and could shoot 500 rounds/min at fully-automatic fire. A cool
fact about the STG 44 is that when Hitler called off the project to prevent
“complications with ammunition logistics”, the project went undercover and
succeeded. Hitler eventually learned about this and allowed the project to
continue in March 1943, and was not named the “Sturmgewehr 44” until July 1944
(, Sturmgewehr 44 Rifle).

Another invention made during the
Nazi era for the military was the V-2 rocket. The V-2 rocket was a unmanned
ballistic missile developed by the Nazis and is considered one of the first
ballistic missiles in history (Wikipedia, 4). Because of its service from
1944 – 1952 in the German Army it had little impact on World War II. In its
service in World War 2 the V-2 rocket is responsible for killing 9,000
civilians and military personnel (Wikipedia, 6). The V-2 rocket was weighed
12 tons, had a liquid-fueled motor, was 46 feet high, and had a range of 200
miles. The V-2 rocket would only be put into use from September 1944 to March
1945 because of Germany’s nearing defeat. Nearly 2,500 rockets were fired
during its service in World War 2 and over 500 of these rockets was used to
bomb London. “The V-2 rocket had a 1 ton warhead packed with explosives and was
capable of destroying an entire city block” (Dungen, 2018).

Another weapon developed by the
Nazis was the V-1 flying bomb. It was a unmanned, jet-propelled aircraft that
was intended to terror-bomb London using cruise missile explosives. However,
they were “clumsy, ineffective and a failure” (, 2009).

The last weapon here is going to be
the Gustav railway superweapon. A railway gun is a artillery weapon that uses
railroads or train tracks to be transported. They have since been phased out
after World War 2, ending with this behemoth. Gustav was developed by Nazi
Germany and costed 10 million Reichsmarks, the currency in Germany at the time.
The caliber of the gun was 800 mm. The gun was designed by Gustav Krupp von
Bohlen, who met with Adolf Hitler to negotiate the construction of the gun. The
purpose of the gun was to destroy the French Maginot Line, a nearly unstoppable
defensive measure against the Nazis by the French by the spring of 1940.
However, by this date (due to complications with the construction) the Germans
instead flanked the Maginot Line through Belgium, losing the purpose of the
Gustav superweapon. However, construction continued, and when it was eventually
finished, it was 141 feet long, 23 feet wide, the barrel’s axis began 25 feet
above the ground, and weighed 1500 U.S. tons. The shells weighed 4.7 tons and
caused immense damage in a battle in Sevastopol in about 50 rounds. It could
have helped lead the siege of Leningrad, but it could not be assembled in time
as the Germans were pushed back by the Russians. After this Gustav was scrapped
unknowingly in late 1944. (, 2018). The legacy of Gustav proved to be
mostly ineffective. A very large gun and powerful tool of terror and
propaganda, it had little effect in the war, after a large cost and manpower
required minimized the profit Gustav could never have.

The most secret and potential for
destruction was the WMD program the Nazis had in place. In April 1939 Germany
began a secretive science research program known as the Uranverein, which translates to “uranium club”, lead by German
mastermind Werner Heisenberg (Atomic Heritage Foundation, 2016). After
scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission in 1938,
the process of splitting atomically large atoms to produce mass amounts of
energy off of relatively small amounts of mass, the race to build the atomic
bomb began. Because of the number of great physicists in Germany at the time
the Americans were anxious that a nuclear weapon was incredibly close to being
in the hands of Hitler. They also had “sufficient materials”, relative “state-interest”,
and “industrial bases” in which production could begin of the bombs (Atomic
Heritage Foundation, 2016). The United States even came close to a secret
espionage mission of kidnapping Werner Heisenberg, but the project never set a
ground and faded out (Atomic Heritage Foundation, 2016). However, it was
learned quite late that the Germans had not come close to developing a nuke and
had only moved to preliminary research (Atomic Heritage Foundation, 2016).
Preliminary research is a scientific and pre-initiative procedure of research.
The Nazi scientists were in “systemic disorganization” from the beginning of Uranverein, problems such as fleeing
German scientists in protest or a pilgrimage of Nazism, instead working in the
American Manhattan Project, the former’s own WMD program, and Hitler’s
disinterest in the project favoring the V-2 rocket (Atomic Heritage Foundation,
2016). In fact, Heisenberg, upon hearing of the bombing of Hiroshima, was in
such disbelief as the Germans believed that it was near impossible to build a
nuke (Atomic Heritage Foundation, 2016). Once the Allies won the war, they
demanded 10 Nazi scientists from the project and detained them. Horst
Korsching, one of the detained scientists, said that the Americans were capable
of “real cooperation at a tremendous scale”, where they had state influence in
the science and industry of America.

Speaking of America’s interest in
Nazi science, the CIA launched a secret intelligence operation known as
Operation Paperclip, and it helps understand what the Nazis could have been
capable of if enough time was allocated, resources, and as we learned above,
organization. Once World War 2 ended, the two superpowers, the United States
and the Soviet Union, started an arms race, and to get a head start the
Americans planned to seize German scientists and their research in apprehension
of the Cold War. A revelation that occured during Operation Paperclip is the
intermission of German U-boat bound for Japan captured off of somewhere in
Newfoundland on May 15th, 1945, a couple of days after Germany’s surrender. The
U-boat contained incredibly secret Nazi weapons and materials, which the
Americans seized: “plans for the Hs293 glider bomb”, “the V-1 glide bomb”, “the
V-2 rocket”, “the Me262 (the first combat jet fighter)”, “submarine designs”,
“and lead-lined boxes filled with 1,200 pounds of uranium oxide” (UO2, a key
ingredient to nuclear bombs) (Jacobsen, 2014). The Americans also discovered a
newly invented chemical weapon called Sarin, and was developed at Dyhernfurth,
but it eventually fell into Russian hands. The creators of the gas were the
same people who created the killing gases at the death camps – Zyklon B (Jacobsen, 2014).
Many people had faith in hiring Nazi scientists for the benefit of the country.
The former Vice President and Secretary of Commerce in the U.S., believed
Operation Paperclip would benefit the production of new jobs and civilian
industry (Jacobsen,
2014). The faith was strengthened in the scientists because of the
creation of “synthetic rubber, non-running hosiery, the ear thermometer,
electromagnetic tape, and miniaturized electrical components” (Jacobsen, 2014),
and as well made the connection between lung cancer and asbestos, and created
the electron microscope (Palmer, 2010). Nazi scientists helped with the “Apollo
moon landing, Saturn V launch vehicle, space medicine, space suits, and
life-support systems” (Jacobsen, 2014). Scientist Werner von Braun, who helped launch
the Apollo moon landing, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from
President Henry Ford, but was controversial because of his Nazi history to
Ford’s senior advisors (Jacobsen, 2014).

In conclusion to Nazi Germany’s long
history of success and failures of the science program, the scientists of that
time were incredibly brilliant, had a blind following of Nazi ideology and
mostly created weapons and inventions for the benefit of Germany, which would
eventually lead to the benefit of most of the world due to their new






















Works cited:


Annie Jacobsen. (Little,
Brown & Company, 2014) 575 pp. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence
Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America. Retrieved January 20th, 2018, from


Brian. June 7th, 2010. Did
any useful science come out of the Nazi concentration camps? Retrieved January
19th, 2018, from


F. (2014, October 29). Racial Hygiene and Nazism. Retrieved January 18, 2018,


Arthur L. “Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis.” The Hastings Center Report, Mar.-Apr.
1990, p. 47+. Opposing Viewpoints In
Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.


from SS-Oberführer Viktor Brack to
Reichsführer-SS Himmler, June 23, 1942 (Documents
on the Holocaust – Edited by Y. Arad, Y. Gutman, A. Margaliot, NY, Ktav
Pub. House in Association with Yad-Vashem, 1981, p. 272)


from Professor Clauberg to Himmler,
June 7, 1943, on his research concerning sterilization of women (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg
Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol 1,
p. 730)


U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Museum. Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under
Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946 – April 1949.
Washington D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949-1953.


Dungen. ( ©
T Dungan / Brothers Designs) 1998-2018. Retrieved January 20th, 2018, at
Staff. 2009. Germans launch V-1 rocket attack against Britain. Retrieved
January 20th, 2018, at


2018. World War 2 weapons. Retrieved January 20th, 2018, at


(Lava Development, LLC.). 2004-2018. 80 cm Gustav Railway Gun. Retrieved January
20th, 2018, at


(Lava Development, LLC.). 2004-2018. Sturmgewehr 44 Rifle. Retrieved January 20th,
2018, at


States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Josef Mengele.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. Accessed on January
20th, 2018.


Heritage Foundation. October 18, 2016. “German Atomic Bomb Project”. Race for
the Bomb. Retrieved January 20th, 2018, at