Sterilizing the “Unfit”
Eugenics was a field of pseudo-science that, in part, led to the Holocaust. Eugenicists sought to build a “better breed” of human being … and to eliminate those that the considered “unfit.” America, to her great shame, was a strong supporter of Eugenics in the 1920s and 1930s … in fact, American eugenicists, domestic policy and court rulings directly inspired Adolf Hitler.
Below are images and a film … unfortunately, they represent but a small sample of how entrenched eugenics—and concomitant discrimination against anyone deemed “inferior”, usually minorities, the poor, the uneducated—was in the United States.
Tomorrow’s Children (1934)
Unsurprisingly, eugenics played a major role in promoting racism, sexism, criminalization of the poor, and Anti-Semitism. And just as in Germany, poisoned minds looked for scapegoats during the economic pain and crisis of the Great Depression.
Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest from Michigan, was an extraordinarily popular radio personality and right-wing populist. Infamous today for his Anti-Semitic tirades, advocacy of fascism and embrace of the “Christian Front”—a hate group that plotted a violent government overthrow—Coughlin, at his peak, averaged 3.5 million listeners a week. The above newsreel illustrates Coughlin’s popularity and influence in the mid-30s. Note he claims to fight bigotry, while simultaneously promoting Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and fascist dogma on his radio show and through his paper, “Social Justice“.
Coughlin’s bigotry is apparent, despite his protests. He constantly equates Judaism with Communism and blames the Jews for their own persecution in “Am I an Anti-Semite?”
In CITY OF SECRETS, Miranda encounters The Musketeers, an actual San Francisco-based organization. Unfortunately, there were many more—from the KKK to the Silver Shirts, extremist groups lined up in support of fascism, with the German-American Bund holding pride of place as the demi-official arm of the domestic Nazi Party.
A pamphlet from the infamous Madison Square Garden rally of the German-American Bund.