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Breeding Better Peas, Pumpkins, and Peasants: The Practical Mendelism of Erich Tschermak

  • Sander J. GliboffEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 40)

Abstract

This chapter follows the career of Erich Tschermak (1871–1962, aka Erich von Tschermak-Seysenegg), one of the three “co-rediscoverers” of Mendel’s laws. It considers the practical ramifications, in agriculture, eugenics, and politics, of Tschermak’s reading of Mendel’s theory, and examines how Tschermak promoted his theories and practices—and himself—in the shifting contexts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austrian First Republic, and Nazi period. Special attention is given to the hybridization work on peas that led him to Mendel’s paper; to the development of the “Tschermak Pumpkin” in the 1930s, as an illustration of the practical side of his Mendelism; and to his wartime consultations with the German Minister of Agriculture on selecting and crossing strains of crops, animals, and even the peasants to go with them to planned settlements in occupied Poland and Ukraine.

Keywords

Agricultural College (Vienna) Eugenics Mendelism Mendel rediscovery Plant breeding National Socialism Pumpkin breeding Erich Tschermak 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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