The Nazis' Downfall : Eugenics

Hitler was extremely interested in eugenics, which is defined as the selective reproduction to create a desirable populationThe perfect population, according to Hitler, were those of Aryan race and without disability. Multiple inhumane medical experiments and tests were conducted on his prisoners, as well as mass sterilization, euthanasia, and abortions of those who did not fit Hitler’s standard. During the following years under Hitler’s reign, the Nazis made medical science into an instrument of political power as they killed over six million Jewish, disabled, homosexual, and “undesirable” people.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H0422-0502-001, Berlin, Beisetzung Oberst Werner Mölders
Physician Karl Brandt accompanying Adolf Hitler, 1941. Courtesy of the German Federal Archive.
Doctors' trial, Nuremberg, 1946–1947
Karl Brandt and other sitting at the Doctor's Trial, 1947. Photographed by US Army photographers, courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

However, the desire to create a perfect population came with many consequences, even for those in power. The responsibilities that medical professionals held were quickly diminished and replaced with curiosity and cruelty. This resulted in the deaths of over six million people, as well as a new word to define this type of murder: genocide. Moreover, the doctors’ actions also directly contributed to their ultimate failure. The inhumane things that people were experiencing within Nazi rule only further motivated outside countries to intervene. If the doctors had not performed these experiments and killings, there would have been less motive for other countries to move against Hitler and the Nazis.

The Nuremberg Doctor’s Trial, which took place between October 1946 and December 1947, was the first of twelve trials against major German war criminals. Sixteen doctors were found guilty, and seven were sentenced to death and executed. Being the first trial, it is evident that the crimes that the doctors committed against humans were the most pressing issues. Upon analyzing the transcripts from the Doctor’s Trial, it is clear that the Nazis cruelty towards human beings propelled the events that led to their demise.