The Kaiser Wilhelm Society under National Socialism

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During the first part of the twentieth century, German science led the world. The most important scientific institution in Germany was the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, including institutes devoted to different fields of scientific research. These researchers were not burdened by teaching obligations and enjoyed excellent financial and material support. When the National Socialists came to power in Germany, all of German society, including science, was affected. The picture that previously dominated our understanding of science under National Socialism from the end of the Second World War to the recent past – a picture of leading Nazis ignorant and unappreciative of modern science and of scientists struggling to resist the Nazis – needs to be revised. This book surveys the history of Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes under Hitler, illustrating definitively the cooperation, if not collaboration, between scientists and National Socialists in order to further the goals of autarky, racial hygiene, war, and genocide.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There are important lessons to be learned from studying this elegant historiography of science in society. Highly recommended." -Choice

" excellent contribution to the history of science under the Third Reich." -Edward N. Snyder

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521879064
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Pages: 502
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society during National Socialism Susanne Heim, Carola Sachse, and Mark Walker; Part I. Research and Personnel Policies: 2. A success story? Highlighting the history of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society's general administration in the Third Reich Rudiger Hachtmann; 3. No time to debate and ask questions - forced labor for science in the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, 1939–1945 Berhard Strebel and Jens-Christian Wagner; 4. Adolf Butenandt between science and politics: from the Weimar Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany Wolfgang Scheider; Part II. Racial Research: 5. Brain research and the murder of the sick: the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, 1937–1945 Hans-Walter Schmuhl; 6. Two hundred blood samples from Auschwitz: a Nobel Laureate and the link to Auschwitz Achim Trunk; 7. Racial purity, stable genes, and sex difference: gender in the making of genetic concepts Richard Goldschmidt and Fritz Lenz, 1916–1936 Helga Satzinger; Part III. 'Eastern Research,' 'Living Space,' Breeding Research: 8. Kog-Sagyz - a vital war reserve Susanne Heim; 9. Raw and advanced materials for an autarkic Germany: textile research in the Kaiser Wilhelm Society Gunther Luxbacher; 10. Political networking and scientific modernization: botanical research at the KWI for Biology and its place in national social science policy Bernd Gausemeier; Part IV. Military Research: 11. Ideology, armaments and resources: the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Metal Research and the 'German metals' 1933–1945 Helmut Maier; 12. Calculation, measurement, and leadership: war research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Fluid Dynamics, 1937–1945 Moritz Epple; 13. Chemical weapons research in National Socialism: the collaboration of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes with the military and industry Florian Schmaltz; 14. Nuclear weapons and reactor research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics Mark Walker; 15. Whitewash culture: how the Kaiser Wilhelm/Max Planck Society dealt with the Nazi past Carola Sachse; 16. The predecessor: the uneasy rapprochement between Carl Neuberg and Adolf Butenandt after 1945 Michael Schuring.

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