I had watched a short introduction (14 minutes) to a Discovery Science movie entitled “The Biology of the Second Reich: Social Darwinism and the Origins of World War 1”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n900e80R30 It was quite an eye opener. Here is the gist of it. In events prior to WW1, Charles Darwin enjoyed the fervent support of many of Germany’s leading scientists. In 1868 he said to Wilhelm Preyer, “The support which I receive from Germany is my chief ground for hoping our views will ultimately prevail.” Viral social Darwinism among German leaders and intellectuals had been growing for some time.
In 1914, Belgians faced massive starvation. A biologist by the name of Vernon Kellogg had been in Belgium to help with humanitarian efforts and stayed in the same house as many German officers who would talk long into the night. They were captivated by Neo Darwinism and the theory of Social Darwinism. Kellogg said they were the worst of Neo Darwinism. Another professor of zoology and prominent German biologist spoke with Kellogg about the biological argument for war for the good of the world and that Germans should win this war as they were of a superior race. Bitter, ruthless struggle was the gospel of German intellectuals. The law of natural selection would sift out the weaker to be conquered and eliminated by the stronger, superior ones…the Germans.
Darwin feared humanitarianism would destroy the human race because he believed that superior races should destroy inferior ones based on natural selection. He was appalled by those who were helping the poor and caring for the sick as it opposed his own theories of natural selection as applied to human societies. He said in “The Descent of Man”, “At some future time period, not very distant or measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will most certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.”
Social Darwinism flourished in Germany. Racism and racial extermination was promoted by Charles Darwin and by leading biologists. Using the war of annihilation, weaker nations were destroyed to give way to superior ones. This was espoused by German biologist Heinrich Ziegler in 1893.
Germany put social Darwinism into practice in German South West Africa which is now known as Namibia. They looked upon the natives as baboons and started the genocide of the Herero people in October 1, 1904. An extermination order was put into action: leave or be killed. Women and children were driven into the desert to starve and die. Whoever was left was moved to concentration camps where medical experiments were performed on them and their skulls shipped to Germany for racial studies! 80% of the Herero people were eliminated from German South West Africa.
With the defeat of Germany in World War 1, social Darwinism found a fertile home in an unknown corporal in the Bavarian Army. He would found a more fanatical social Darwinism than his predecessors. Within 20 years he would no longer be unknown and the whole world would know his name. Adolf Hitler.
So….the ground work for the demoniacal rise of the Third Reich had its birth in Social Darwinism and the first World War.
“The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live…Woe to anyone who is weak; who does not stand his ground! He may not expect any help from anyone.” –Adolf Hitler