The Nazi War on Cancer

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2000 - History - 380 pages
4 Reviews

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 F hrer'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.

 

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User Review  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

There's a lot of interesting material in this book: Nazi ideas of the proper diet, indications that the Nazi Institute for Cancer Research may have been a cover for developing bioweapons, and, of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

This is an excellent book that not only provides a detailed look at science and medicine as it was practiced in the Third Reich, as well as how that government institutionally directed the focus of ... Read full review

Contents

Huepers 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
The Gleichschaltung of German Cancer Research
35
THE FATES OF JEWISH SCIENTISTS
36
REGISTRIES AND MEDICAL SURVEILLANCE
40
IDEOLOGY AND REALITY
170
The Campaign against Tobacco
173
EARLY OPPOSITION
176
MAKING THE CANCER CONNECTION
178
THE DOCTOR MOST HATED BY THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY
183
NAZI MEDICAL MORALISM
186
THE FORGOTTEN FATHER OF EXPERIMENTAL EPIDEMIOLOGY
191
MOVING INTO ACTION
198

THE RHETORIC OF CANCER RESEARCH
45
ROMANCING NATURE AND THE QUESTION OF CANCERS INCREASE
51
Genetic and Racial Theories
58
SELECTION AND STERILIZATION
68
Occupational Carcinogenesis
73
HEALTH AND WORK IN THE REICH
74
XRAYS 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
The Nazi Diet
120
RESISTING THE ARTIFICIAL LIFE
124
MEAT VERSUS VEGETABLES
126
THE FŪHRERS FOOD
134
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ALCOHOL
141
PERFORMANCEENHANCING FOODS AND DRUGS
154
FOODS FOR FIGHTING CANCER
160
BANNING BUTTER YELLOW
165
KARL ASTELS INSTITUTE FOR TOBACCO HAZARDS RESEARCH
206
GESUNDHEIT UBER ALLES
217
REEMTSMAS FORBIDDEN FRUIT
228
TOBACCOS COLLAPSE
242
The Monstrous and the Prosaic
248
THE SCIENCE QUESTION UNDER FASCISM
249
COMPLICATING QUACKERY
252
BlOWARFARE RESEARCH IN DlSGUISE
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
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

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.

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