First Advisor

Steven N. Fuller

Date of Publication

Summer 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German


World Languages and Literatures




Euthanasia -- Germany -- History -- 20th century, Killing of the mentally ill -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Germany -- Hadamar, Eugenics -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States, Involuntary sterilization -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States, Medical ethics -- History -- 20th century



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 108 p.) : 1 col. map


This thesis is an examination of euthanasia, eugenics, the ethic of patient care, and linguistic propaganda in the Second World War. The examination of euthanasia discusses not only the history and involvement of the facility at Hadamar in Germany, but also discuss the current euthanasia debate. Euthanasia in World War II arose out of the Nazi desire to cleanse the Reich and was greatly influenced by the American eugenics movement of the early 20th century. Eugenics was built up to include anyone considered undesirable and unworthy of life and killed many thousands of people before the invasion of allied troops in 1944. Paramount to euthanasia is forced sterilization, the ethic of patient care, and how the results of the research conducted on euthanasia victims before their deaths should be used. The Nazis were able to change the generally accepted terms that researchers use to describe their experiments and this change affected how modern doctors and researchers use the terms in current research. This thesis includes research conducted in Germany and the United States from varied resources.


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