3c2009Nazi_1 - Science and Technology in the 20th Century...

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1 Science and Technology in the 20 th Century History 3c, Fall 2009 Week 5: Science under National Socialism Lecture 9: The place of science in Nazi Germany Soraya de Chadarevian General dilemma of Nazi history, incl. especially the organized mass murder of millions of Jews and other groups of people marginalized by the regime (Roma and Sinti, gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses, socialists, the disabled): normalization vs exceptionality Fear of normalizing events by applying usual procedures of historical inquiry can lead to placing Auschwitz and NS period more generally outside history Historians of science face contradictory claims: NS regime was anti-science; science under Nazis was bad science or not science at all counter view: participation of scientists in Nazi crimes shows ‘true’ oppressive nature of science We will analyze these claims and counterclaims by studying how scientists carved out a place for themselves in Nazi state and by critically reviewing the question of what the history of Nazi science can teach us Outline 1. Introduction (historiographical dilemmas) 2. History and organization of the Nazi state 3. The regime’s attitude towards science (Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, ‘German Physics’) 4. Science, medicine and the ‘final solution’ next lecture: Nazi technological projects (nuclear energy and V2), postwar fate of Nazi science Time line 1919 German Republic established 1920 National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) founded 1923 failed Munich Putsch, Hitler arrested Jan 1933 Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany Feb 1933 Parliament fire and emergency decree restricting personal liberties March 1933 Enabling Act; gives Hitler dictatorial power April 1933 Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service 1935 Nuremberg Laws: Jews stripped of their civil rights 1938 Crystal Night (or Night of Broken Glass), nationwide persecution of Jews Sept 1939 beginning of WW II, Blitzkrieg (lightning war) strategy May 1945 German capitulation 2. History and organization of the Nazi state Hitler is nominated Chancellor (1933) Night of the Broken Glass (1938) Inspecting SS troops
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2 Nazi regime was not a monolithic organisation but a polycratic system or ‘cartel of power blocs’ most important blocs: Party (National Socialist German Workers Party) Civil Service Industry Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) SS ( S chutz s taffel or defence squadron) even within each of these blocs there were competing factions that endorsed different policies. Bodies sometimes cooperated, sometimes conflicted and always competed among each other for power Picture further complicated by fact that power blocs partly overlapped and that their relative power changed in the course of time E.g. Armed Forces strong throughout, but lost most of its independence with beginning of war big business strong throughout but became increasingly entangled in political, military and ideological goals of regime Civil Service lost independence and power
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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3c2009Nazi_1 - Science and Technology in the 20th Century...

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