From Darwin to Hitler

Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany

  • Authors
  • Richard Weikart

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Richard Weikart
      Pages 1-17
  3. Laying New Foundations for Ethics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Richard Weikart
      Pages 43-57
    3. Richard Weikart
      Pages 59-70
  4. Devaluing Human Life

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Richard Weikart
      Pages 73-87
    3. Richard Weikart
      Pages 103-126
  5. Eliminating the “Inferior Ones”

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. Richard Weikart
      Pages 145-161
    3. Richard Weikart
      Pages 163-181
    4. Richard Weikart
      Pages 183-206
  6. Impacts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 207-207
    2. Richard Weikart
      Pages 209-227
    3. Richard Weikart
      Pages 229-233
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 235-312

About this book


In this work, Richard Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. He demonstrates that many leading Darwinian biologists and social thinkers in Germany believed that Darwinism overturned traditional Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment ethics, especially the view that human life is sacred. Many of these thinkers supported moral relativism, yet simultaneously exalted evolutionary 'fitness' (especially intelligence and health) to the highest arbiter of morality. Darwinism played a key role in the rise not only of eugenics, but also euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and racial extermination. This was especially important in Germany, since Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles, not on nihilism.


Adolf Hitler Charles Darwin enlightenment equality ethics Germany health history morality peace revolution

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2004
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4039-7201-9
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-10986-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site