Karl Brandt - The Nazi Doctor: Medicine and Power in the Third Reich

Overview

This is the first full-scale biography of Karl Brandt, one of the most powerful figures of the Third Reich. It tells the story of his rise to power and influence at the heart of Hitler's coterie of trusted advisors and confidants. It also tells of his execution after Nuremberg, and of the many thousands of 'patients' condemned to death as a result of his researches.As General Commissioner for Health and Sanitation Karl Brandt became the highest medical authority in the Nazi regime and played a major role in the ...

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Overview

This is the first full-scale biography of Karl Brandt, one of the most powerful figures of the Third Reich. It tells the story of his rise to power and influence at the heart of Hitler's coterie of trusted advisors and confidants. It also tells of his execution after Nuremberg, and of the many thousands of 'patients' condemned to death as a result of his researches.As General Commissioner for Health and Sanitation Karl Brandt became the highest medical authority in the Nazi regime and played a major role in the organisation and implementation of the first mass killing programme of the Third Reich, the so-called ‘Euthanasia' programme. He initiated experiments which were carried out on concentration camp inmates, and was eventually put in charge of biological and chemical warfare research.  How was it that a rational, highly cultured, literate, idealistic and talented young professional could come to be responsible for mass murder and criminal human experimentation on a previously unimaginable scale? In this riveting biography, Ulf Schmidt explores in detail what we know and what we cannot know about one of the most intriguing of the Nuremberg Nazis.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Karl Brandt (1904-1948) was for a time the leading medical authority in the Nazi regime. He was responsible for the euthanasia program, in which tens of thousands of handicapped individuals were killed. But that Brandt (who also served for a time as Hitler's physician) left the details up to subordinates didn't help him after the war, at Nuremberg, where he was convicted and executed for his crimes. As British historian Schmidt (Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial) shows, a belief in eugenics, combined with a dash of ambition, motivated Brandt. During the war, he saw it as "legitimate to sacrifice individual human lives in the name of science." Outside of the diaries he wrote during the Nuremberg trials, which Schmidt had partial access to, Brandt left few writings, so Schmidt is forced to make informed guesses about the degree of Brandt's involvement in certain projects, such as the gruesome medical experiments conducted on concentration camp inmates, as well as about some of his motivations. Schmidt concludes that whether Brandt backed the genocide of the Jews is almost impossible to know. There's a lot to wade through, but readers who do will learn about a man of culture and science who turned medicine into a tool of murder. B&w illus., maps. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847252067
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 6/15/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,380,731
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr Ulf Schmidt is Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, Canterbury, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Research Associate at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations Acknowledgments Abbreviations

1. Prologue

2. The Ambitious Idealist

3. Becoming Hitler's Doctor

4. Hitler's Envoy

5. The 'Euthanasia' Doctor

6. The General Commissioner

7. Detached Leadership

8. Human experimentation

9. Medical Supremo

10. Nuremberg

11. Trial

12. Under Sentence of Death

Notes Bibliogrpahy Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Mundane Evil

    A very interesting study of how a young, intelligent and well educated man first became a Nazi, then was accepted into Hitler's inner circle and functioned there for almost the entire history of the Third Reich. Brandt was a young professional, husband, father, a contemporary and friend of Speer - and he also readily accepted Hitler's personal philosophy of elimination of 'useless eaters'. Why and how the euthanasia program developed, followed by the Holocost and medical experimentations is very mundane. It was all so easy for Brandt, and others, to accept and believe that they were working for the greater good - all the while doing their best to leave no trail. But a record did exist - a record more than strong enough to see Brandt convicted and hanged at Nuremburg. The look inside life of the war crimes defendants is also fascinating - such as Goering complaning at one table about how much he had lost and Deonitz answering at the next table that it was all stolen - the guards had to keep those two separated at all times as they both claimed the title of head of state based upon the Furher's orders. Interestingly, Brandt had spent the last few weeks of the war under a death order from his Furher due to his finally falling afoul of a conspiracy of other insiders, primarily Geobbels and Borman. Brandt died cursing the USA, with a clear conscience, firm in his belief that he had acted ethically at all times. And into the 21st century the families of war criminals still deny their guilt.

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