Subsidizing the Fit: An American Evolutionist and Eugenicist Endorses early German Efforts to Establish an Aryan Race

Chapter XXXV:  Human Conservation / subsection: Subsidizing the Fit

by Herbert E. Walter

Found in Readings in Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics, edited by Horatio Hackett Newman, Professor of Zoology in the University of Chicago, in 1921; Newman also gave testimony at the ‘Scopes Monkey’ trial.   Page 480-481


The following unconfirmed newspaper clipping illustrates the point of what is meant by subsidizing the fit so far as certain physical characteristics are concerned.  “Berlin, Dec. 11, 1911.  The Emperor is reported to be interested in a plan proposed by Professor Otto Hauser for the propagation of a fixed German type of humanity–a type which will be as fixed as the Jewish in its characteristics, if the suggestions of the professor can ever be carried out.  The fixed type is to be produced as follows:–Only ‘typical’ couples are to be allowed to mate.  The man is to be not more than thirty years old, the woman not over twenty-eight, and each have a perfect health certificate.  The man should be at least five feet seven inches tall; the woman not under five feet six inches.  Neither the man nor the woman should have dark hair.  Its tint may range from blonde to auburn.  The eyes of the pair should be pure blue without any tint of brown.  The complexion should be fair to ruddy without any suggestion of heaviness or ‘beefiness.’  The nose ought to be strong and narrow, the chin square and powerful, and the skull well developed at the back.  The man and the woman must be of German descent and bear a German name and speak the language of Germany.  These ‘mated couples’ are to get a wedding gift of $125 and an additional grant for each child born.  The couples may settle in the United States if they prefer.”  This reported attempt to establish a Prussian type of “Hauser blondes” at least points the way to one sort of a positive eugenic method that might possibly be employed with respect to certain physical characteristics.

It should be remembered, however, that the eugenic ideal is not by any means confined to physical traits alone.

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Commentary

Of particular interest in this excerpt is the fact that there were proposals underway to ‘purify’ the German race many years before the Nazis took power.  This proposal was in 1911, two decades before Hitler would solidify his hold on Germany.  Of additional interest is the fact that this American, writing in 1921, viewed this as a “positive eugenic method.”

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