Question
Asked 23rd Jul, 2013

Why so many physicians joined the Nazi party?

50 percent of physicians joined the Nazi party. For some reason, they were more enthusiastic than other professions to collaborate with Nazis. Other professions did not have such high representation in the Nazi party.
I wonder about the possible reasons for that enthusiasm.

Most recent answer

15th Aug, 2020
Udo Hennighausen
Private Practice for Ophthalmology in Heide, Germany
I think I wrote an answer, but I am not sure, if I did send it the right way. I will try to get informations about this theme and I hope in about four weeks, I will be able to answer. Best regards Udo

All Answers (8)

18th Mar, 2014
Jessica Braccio
University of Texas at Dallas
One possible reason is that many doctors were able to find funding for their research and experiments under the Nazi regime (see Norman Neimark's Fires of Hatred).
When considering people's interest in joining the Nazi party, one of the things you need to look at is the political, economic, and social situation of Germany prior to Hitler's rise to power.
1 Recommendation
20th Oct, 2014
Alan Hawk
Defense Health Agency
A controversial theory is that Germany’s universal healthcare system started under Otto Von Bismark predisposed German physicians to see healthcare as a collectivist issue (i.e. Health of the Nation) vice an individual issue (i.e. Health of the person).? This view was explored in an exhibit “The Value of The Human Being: Medicine in Germany, 1918-1945," was commissioned by the Berlin Medical Association in 1989 and brought over to the United States by the Goethe-Institut.?
Also see Friedrich Hayak, The Road to Serfdom first published in 1944? which makes a similar argument about the impact of social welfare programs on society.
20th Oct, 2014
Raphael Cohen-Almagor
University of Hull
you say this theory is controversial. What is your view?
21st Oct, 2014
Alan Hawk
Defense Health Agency
As much as progressives don't like to admit it, the roots of National Socialism are in progressive (i.e. socialist) ideology. There is a very strong correlation between single payer systems and death panels used to cull the population of an increasing pool of sicker individuals. Although single payer is premised on efficiency, centrally-planned institution are notoriously inefficient (remember Soviet Union) since bad decisions have very broad impact.? The only way for a single payer healthcare system to save money is to kill the sick.? Once you get that concept and power into the hands of government agency, it is a very short leap to expand the mandate.? Terminating the life of a patient with terminal cancer begins to morph into terminating the life of those susceptible to cancer.? What about patients with chronic conditions such as mental illness or cerebral palsy?? What about people who make undesirable life choices?? What about certain ethic groups?? Each decision makes the next one more plausible.? Suddenly decisions are being made that were completely unthinkable a generation earlier.?
Single player healthcare systems are an extremely dangerous game since the risk of either bad or unethical decisions can have a very broad impact.
The real question you need to ask is not why physicians embraced Nazism, but why were they ready for the Nazi ideology before Hitler came along?
1 Recommendation
14th Nov, 2015
Nader Aghakhani
Urmia University of Medical Sciences
Nazism claimed that it serves to Germany and many physicians thought so.
15th Aug, 2020
Udo Hennighausen
Private Practice for Ophthalmology in Heide, Germany
  • Udo.Hennighausen@web.de: I feel that there are several reasons. 1871 the Jewish citizens got full citizen rights in Germany (the Deutsche Reich) and many of them started an academic career. At the same time, in the last third of the 19th century, a latent antisemitism rose in Germany, in all levels of the society. The work in a hospital may be compared with the work on a ship, the leading physician, often professor, had a right to order similar to the captain of a ship. This military thinking might have been one cause for the adherence to NS. Also many medical students at that time were members of academic corporations (Burschenschaften, Landsmannschaften, Corps etc.), where also authoritarian rules were lived. Perhaps doctors were jealous on the job-positions of Yewish doctors, as after 1871 many Germans of Yewish heritage or faith started a successful academic career or profession in private practice. Rebecca Schwoch (Hamburg) has done a great research work about the fate of the doctors of Yewish heritage or faith in private practice with licence for social insurance, who worked in Berlin: About half of the doctors in private practice with licence for social insurance in Berlin were of Jewisch faith or heritage. Another point is the idea of eugenics, half science, half ideology, which was discussed in all countries at that time and was cultivated be NS-ideology.
1 Recommendation
15th Aug, 2020
Raphael Cohen-Almagor
University of Hull
Thank you.
I am also looking for information about official connections between the German Psychological Association and the Nazi Party. I wonder whether Association officials served in the SS, the propaganda office, and other positions of influence in which they were asked to utilize their expertise for Nazi purposes.
I also wonder whether the German Psychological Association has archives that cover 1933-1945.
If not, what might be other pertinent archives that might shed light?
Consider this: Brutal knocks on the door at 2am. Armed men come and give the family 10 minutes to get organised and move to the “East”. Long train ride in impossible conditions. Some people die. Smell of urine and feces. After many hours, sometime days, the train stops, door opens, only to be greeted by armed men and barking dogs. Selection. Short march to have a shower. That is the yearning of people after been locked in a train for some time, with all the smells, no food and no water. Victims cannot see anything as they are blinded by projectors. Awful noise of people shouting and dogs barking accompany them. After this brief march, they go down the stairs to the showers. Get undressed and gassed.
I find it hard to believe that psychologists were not consulted in the design of this murderous plan.
Other murderous plans involved deception. Train stations that looked like normal train stations, and behind them a death camp.
Dr Goebbels′ mass propaganda. As he was meticulous, I thought he consulted experts in the psychology of the masses.
Preparing the SS, especially the Einsatzgruppen, for their roles and supporting them in the extermination process.
I welcome all relevant information.
Can you help by adding an answer?

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