© 2013

For the Betterment of the Race

The Rise and Fall of the International Movement for Eugenics and Racial Hygiene

  • Authors

About this book


Racism, race hygiene, eugenics, and their histories have for a long time been studied in terms of individual countries, whether genocidal ideology in Nazi Germany or scientific racial theories in the United States. As this study demonstrates, however, eugenic racial policy and scientific racism alike had a strongly international dimension. Concepts such as a 'Racial Confederation of European Peoples' or a 'blonde internationalism' marked the thinking and the actions of many eugenicists, undergirding transnational networks that persist even today. Author Stefan Kühl provides here a historical foundation for this phenomenon, contextualizing the international eugenics movement in relation to National Socialist race policies and showing how intensively eugenicists worked to disseminate their beliefs throughout the world.


20. Jahrhundert 20th century Germany Renaissance World War II

About the authors

Stefan Kühl is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He is the author of The Nazi Connection: American Racism and German National Socialism (2002).

Bibliographic information


'Stefan Kühl is one of the few researchers to look at race hygiene and eugenics in an international context; he goes well beyond the time period of 1933 to 1945. An impressive, passionately written book.' - Robert N. Proctor, Professor of the History of Science, Stanford University, USA

'Kühl's book fills a research gap that has existed for quite some time. It provides evidence that racial hygiene and eugenics were part of a closely intertwined international movement. This is an extremely compelling correction of the great simplifications that have reigned until now. The book urges us to be skeptical about contemporary fashions in academic study and the use that has been made of them by policymakers. Required reading!' - Peter Weingart, Professor of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, Germany

'Stefan Kühl's clearly presented book deals with a history that in an oppressive way is not over yet. The author takes the historical analysis of the eugenic-race hygiene dream of genetically perfect people out of their national contexts, and impressively reconstructs the international dimensions of this phenomenon. The book constitutes a quantum leap forward from current historiography.' - Jakob Tanner, Professor of History, University of Zürich, Switzerland