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 The Ever-Widening Circle: The Third Reich In his presidential address to the Eugenics Research Association in 1929, Clarence G. Campbell predicted: “The truth which a few eugenicists see so clearly today will become commonplace opinion in the course of time.”1 As we saw in the previous chapter, Campbell’s prediction did not hold true for the United States. But the Old World was a different story. In fact, in the late 1920s, just as sales of The Passing of the Great Race began to slacken and Madison Grant’s reputation went into decline in the United States, interest in scientific racism began to swell on the continent of Europe. All four editions of The Passing of the Great Race had already been published in Britain, and now in Germany at least five publishers expressed their desire to translate the book. Charles Scribner told Grant that he was quite willing to assist with the production of the German edition; after all, noted Scribner with pride, the book had been “a pioneer” that brought “the race question” to the fore and was “continually referred to as an authority.” The rights were awarded to the Munich firm of J. F. Lehmann, an enthusiastically proNazi publishing house. The anti-Semitic Lehmann was an early and close associate of Hitler ( joining the Nazi Party in 1920), and he published many of the German racists (as well as such American anti-Semites as Henry Ford and Lothrop Stoddard). And so in 1925 Lehmann brought out Der Untergang der Grossen Rasse.2 One year later, the Paris publishing company Payot produced the French edition of Grant’s book, La Declin de la Grande Race, with a fawning preface by G. Vacher de Lapouge. And two years later, the Oslo firm of Some & Co. graced Norwegian readers with Den Store Rases Undergang , translated by Jon Alfred Mjøen (the most famous eugenicist in Scandinavia). The result of all this Anthropology is the most dangerous of all sciences. Sir Arthur Keith European interest in Nordicism would prove flattering to Grant—and fatal to millions. Der Untergang der Grossen Rasse It was in Germany that Grant and his book were received with the most enthusiasm . Grant’s Nordicism landed on fertile soil in Weimar Germany, where popular anti-Semitism was taking on a harder, more “scientific” edge and theoristswerebeginningtoarguethatthelawsofbiologyrenderedtheJewsunassimilable . When Der Untergang der Grossen Rasse appeared in 1925, the Literarische Wochenschrift declared that Grant’s book, with its dire warnings of the dying off of the great Nordic race, was far more important than even Spengler’s Decline of the West. Grant’s translator, Professor Rudolf Polland of Graz, confessed in the introduction that as soon as he had read Grant’s book he resolved to translate it, since “the lessons and warnings of Grant . . . are exceedingly important and relevant to the German Volk.” It was fortuitous, wrote Polland, that Grant had come along to offer to the Germans a eugenic remedy to the problem of racial degeneration. And it was Polland’s fervent hope that Grant, the groundbreaking pioneer in scientific racism, would inspire patriotic Germans to take up the Nordic cause for the greater glory of the Volk.3 An excited Lapouge wrote to Grant with the good news of the German reception : “Your book has exercised, from the publication of the German edition, a powerful effect upon the Nordic movement and everybody knows it.” Not only did German scientists “have a great veneration” for Grant, but Lapouge was also heartened to see that the young people of Germany were now “imbued with biological ideas” and were finally beginning to “deplore, for example, the incorporation into Germany of foreign elements.” German eugenicist Kurt Holler, echoing the observations of Lapouge, told readers of the Eugenical News that the books of Grant and his disciple Lothrop Stoddard had found “a large circle of readers” in Germany and helped spark in that country “the movement for the preservation and increase of the Nordic race.” By 1928, Grant could not contain his excitement that “Germany has awakened to the importance of increasing its proportion of pure Nordic blood.”4 German eugenicists eagerly established close ties with the Grantians in the 1920s. They were full of admiration for the success of their American counterparts in restricting immigration, passing antimiscegenation laws, and implementing coercive sterilization acts. German journals provided timely updates on developments in U.S. eugenics and regularly translated the articles of the Americans. In return, the Grantians worked...


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