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A Brave New World: The Left, Social Engineering, and Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Europe*

  • Leo Lucassen (a1)

Summary

This article compares theories and social policies of social democrats and other representatives of the left-wing political spectrum in six European countries to explain why, in certain countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, weak social groups became the target of illiberal and negative eugenic policy, especially isolation and sterilization, while elsewhere left-wing politicians and theorists were far less radical. One striking feature that emerges is the difference between a communitarian-organic and a class-bound form of socialism. Following Zygmunt Bauman, Michel Foucault, and James C. Scott, the article discerns a first variant of citizenship that is conditional and intended only for those with the right social attitude. Eugenics was perfectly consistent with such a view, since it offered a diagnosis and at the same time a cure. Prominent representatives of this approach were the Webbs in Britain and the Myrdals in Sweden. Such an organic-medical approach was less likely, however, in a more class-dependent variant of socialism embedded in a strong civil society. As long as social democrats and other leftist politicians believed social problems such as inequality and poverty were caused primarily by an unjust capitalist system, there was little cause for a eugenicist solution.

Leo Lucassen. Le meilleur des mondes: la gauche, l’ingénierie sociale et l’eugénique dans l’Europe du vingtième siècle.

Dans cet article, l’auteur compare des théories et politiques sociales de sociaux-démocrates et d’autres représentants du spectre politique de gauche dans six pays européens pour expliquer pourquoi, dans certains pays comme la Suède, la Norvège, et la Suisse, des groupes sociaux faibles sont devenus la cible d’une politique eugénique négative et illibérale, particulièrement de l’isolation et de la stérilisation, alors que dans d’autres pays, les politiciens et théoriciens de gauche ont été beaucoup moins radicaux. Une caractéristique frappante qui s’en dégage est la différence entre une forme de socialisme communitarienne-organique et une forme de socialisme de classe. À l’instar de Zygmunt Bauman, Michel Foucault et James C. Scott, l’auteur distingue une première variante de citoyenneté qui est conditionnelle et uniquement destinée à ceux qui ont l’attitude sociale appropriée. L’eugénique coïncidait parfaitement avec cette opinion, puisqu’elle proposait un diagnostic en même temps qu’un remède. D’éminents représentants de cette approche ont été les Webb au Royaume-Uni et les Mydral en Suède. Mais cette approche organique-médicale était moins vraisemblable dans une variante du socialisme plus dépendante des classes et inscrite dans une société civile puissante. Tant que les sociaux-démocrates et d’autres politiciens de gauche ont considéré que des problèmes sociaux, comme l’inégalité et la pauvreté, étaient principalement causés par un système capitaliste injuste, il y eut peu de motifs d’une solution eugénique.

Leo Lucassen. A Brave New World: Die Linke, Sozialtechnik und Eugenik im Europa des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts.

Der Autor vergleicht Theorien und Sozialpolitik der Sozialdemokraten und anderer Repräsentanten des linken politischen Spektrums in sechs europäischen Ländern und versucht zu erklären, warum in einigen Ländern wie Schweden, Norwegen und die Schweiz gesellschaftliche Gruppen zum Ziel einer illiberalen und negativen eugenischen Politik insbesondere der Isolierung und Sterilisation geworden sind, während anderenorts linke Politiker und Theoretiker weit weniger radikal waren. Ein auffälliges Merkmal ist der Unterschied zwischen einer kommunitarisch-organischen und einer klassengebundenen Form des Sozialismus. Anschliessend an Zygmunt Baumann, Michel Foucault und James C. Scott, unterscheidet der Autor eine erste Variante der Bürgerschaft in der es Bedingungen gibt, und die nur für Menschen mit der richtigen sozialen Einstellung gemeint ist. Eugenik war vollkommen im Einklang mit dieser Auffassung, da sie eine Diagnose anbot und zugleich eine Heilung. Prominente Vertreter dieses Ansatzes waren die Webbs in Großbritannien und die Myrdals in Schweden. Ein solcher organisch-medizinischer Ansatz war weniger wahrscheinlich in einer klassenabhängigen Variante des Sozialismus, die in einer starken Zivilgesellschaft eingebettet ist. Solange Sozialdemokratie und andere linke Politiker glaubten, soziale Probleme wie Armut und Ungleichheit würden in erster Linie durch ein kapitalistisches System verursacht, gab es wenig Anlass für eine eugenische Lösung.

Leo Lucassen. Un valiente nuevo mundo: La izquierda, la ingeniería social y la eugenesia en Europa en el siglo XX.

El artículo compara teorías y políticas sociales de los social demócratas y de otros representantes del ala izquierda del espectro político en seis países europeos para explicar por qué, en ciertos países como Suecia, Noruega y Suiza, grupos sociales débiles se convirtieron en el objetivo de una política eugenésica basada en el aislamiento y la esterilización, mientras en otras partes los políticos y teóricos de la izquierda fueron mucho menos radicales. Un aspecto relevante que surge es la diferencia entre un socialismo “comunitario –orgánico” y un socialismo “de raíz de clase”. Siguiendo a Zygmut Bauman, Michel Foucault y James C. Scott, el texto distingue una variante de ciudadanía de carácter condicional y aplicable sólo a aquellos que poseen unos atributos sociales correctos. La eugenesia se adecuaba perfectamente con este planteamiento dado que ofrecía al mismo tiempo un diagnóstico y un tratamiento. Destacados representantes de esta línea fueron los Webb en Gran Bretañá y Myrdals en Suecia. En tanto que consistía en una aproximación orgánico-médica se encontraba mucho menos relacionada con una variante de socialismo dependiente de la clase arraigado en una sociedad civil fortalecida. Pero como los socialdemócratas y otros políticos de izquierda consideraron que problemas sociales como la desigualdad y la pobreza eran causa principalmente de un sistema capitalista injusto, había poco espacio para una solución eugenésica.

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This article previously appeared in Dutch in a collection of essays edited by Jan van Bavel and Jan Kok, “De levenskracht der bevolking”. Sociale en demografische kwesties in de Lage Landen tijdens het interbellum (Leuven, 2010). The translation is by Chris Gordon. I would like to express my appreciation to Jan Kok, Thomas Lindblad, Marcel van der Linden, Jan Lucassen, Anna Petterson, Peter Tammes, and Adriaan van Veldhuizen for their comments on previous versions of this essay.

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References

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1. Broberg, Gunnar and Roll–Hansen, Nils (eds), Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (East Lansing, MI, 1996). See also Spektorowski, Alberto and Mizrachi, Elisabet, “Eugenics and the Welfare State in Sweden: The Politics of Social Margins and the Idea of a Productive Society”, Journal of Contemporary History, 39 (2004), pp. 333352.

2. A reprint with a new preface appeared in 2005. For Norway, see also Haave, Per, “Sterilization Under the Swastika: The Case of Norway”, International Journal of Mental Health, 36 (2007), pp. 4557.

3. The Fabian Society is a British intellectual movement founded in London in 1884 for the purpose of advancing the principles of social democracy through gradualist rather than revolutionary means. The name Fabian is a reference to the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus, nicknamed “Cunctator” (the delayer), because of his tactic of attrition and avoidance (rather than seeking open confrontation) in the war against the Carthagian general Hannibal in the third century before Christ.

4. Around the mid-nineteenth century social reformers used the term “residuum” to refer especially to Londoners who failed to benefit from industrial progress and who were either unemployed or seldom in work. Marx, who used the term “relative surplus population”, distinguished between the reserve army of labour and the “unemployable”, also termed the lumpenproletariat. See Ann M. Woodall, What Price the Poor? William Booth, Karl Marx and the London Residuum (Aldershot, 2005), p. 1. For the term lumpenproletariat see Bussard, Robert L., “The ‘Dangerous Class’ of Marx and Engels: The Rise of the Idea of the ‘Lumpenproletariat’ ”, History of European Ideas, 8 (1987), pp. 675692. See also Welshman, John, Underclass: A History of the Excluded 1880–2000 (London, 2006), pp. 120, and Patricia van den Eeckhout, “ ‘De onbewoonbare krotten zijn etterende middens, waar al de ziekten van het sociaal korps gisten.’ De kruistocht tegen de krotwoningen in het interbellum”, in Van Bavel and Kok, “De levenskracht der bevolking”.

5. Galton, Francis, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London, 1883). The book is a collection of some 40 articles on human heredity which Galton wrote between 1869 and 1883.

6. Webb, Sidney, The Difficulties of Individualism (London, 1896). The relationship between the Fabians and eugenicists has been the subject of a recent study by Niemann-Findeisen, Sören: Weeding the Garden: Die Eugenik-Rezeption der frühen Fabian Society (Munster, 2004). Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate a copy in any Dutch library. On the internet, only an extensive list of its contents is available.

7. Perry, Michael W., Lady Eugenist: The Rapid Multiplication of the Unfit. Feminist Eugenics in the Speeches and Writings of Victoria Woodhull (Seattle, WA, 2005). On the fear of “race suicide” see also Stedman Jones, Gareth, Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship Between Classes in Victorian Society (Oxford, 1971), and Leonard, Thomas C., “Retrospectives: Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19 (2005), pp. 207224.

8. The extent to which he was a socialist is much disputed by scholars. Influenced by the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814), Pearson advocated a strong state and saw little virtue in full democracy. He believed in the fundamental equality of men and women, but his social Darwinist convictions led him to oppose the welfare state, which, he argued, artificially fostered the survival of the “unfit”. See Kevles, Daniel, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Cambridge, MA, 1985), p. 35. After the 1890s he continued to be strongly influenced by socialist and Marxist ideas; Porter, Theodore M., Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age (Princeton, NJ [etc.], 2004), pp. 104108.

9. Porter, , Karl Pearson, p. 279.

10. Paul, Diane B., “Eugenics and the Left”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 45 (1984), pp. 567590, 573.

11. Ellis, Havelock, The Task of Social Hygiene (London, 1913), pp. 324325.

12. Crook, P., Darwin’s Coat-Tails: Essays on Social Darwinism (New York, 2007), p. 156. See also Porter, Karl Pearson, p. 151.

13. Himmelfarb, Gertrude, Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians (New York, 1991), p. 368.

14. Winter, J.M., “The Webbs and the Non-White World: A Case of Socialist Racialism”, Journal of Contemporary History, 9 (1974), pp. 181192; MacKenzie, D., “Eugenics in Britain”, Social Studies of Science, 6 (1976), pp. 499532; Freeden, Michael, “Eugenics and Progressive Thought: A Study in Ideological Affinity”, Historical Journal, 22 (1979), pp. 645671, and idem, “Eugenics and Ideology”, Historical Journal, 26 (1983), pp. 959–962; Paul, “Eugenics and the Left”; Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics; and Adams, Mark B. (ed.), The Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia (New York, 1990); Crook, , Darwin’s Coat-Tails, pp. 249–252.

15. Searle, G.R., Eugenics and Politics in Britain: 1900–1914 (Leiden, 1976), and idem, “Eugenics and Class”, in C. Webster (ed.), Biology, Medicine and Society 1840–1940 (Cambridge, 1981), pp. 217–242; Jones, Greta, “Eugenics and Social Policy between the Wars”, Historical Journal, 25 (1982), pp. 717728. See also Porter, D., “ ‘Enemies of the Race’: Biologism, Environmentalism, and Public Health in Edwardian England”, Victorian Studies, 34 (1991), pp. 159178, 160.

16. Becquemont, Daniel, “Eugénisme et socialisme en Grande-Bretagne, 1890–1900”, Mil neuf cent, 18 (2000), pp. 5379, 56.

17. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1989), and idem, Modernity and Ambivalence (Ithaca, NY, 1991).

18. Golder, B., “Foucault and the Genealogy of Pastoral Power”, Radical Philosophy Review, 10 (2007), pp. 157176.

19. Mottier, Véronique, “Eugenics and the Swiss Gender Regime: Women’s Bodies and the Struggle against ‘Differences’ ”, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 32 (2006), pp. 253268; Hauss, Gisela and Ziegler, Béatrice, “City Welfare in the Sway of Eugenics: A Swiss Case Study”, British Journal of Social Work, 38 (2008), pp. 751770.

20. Scott, James C., Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed (New Haven, CT, 1998).

21. Ibid., pp. 4–5.

22. Dikötter, Frank, “Race Culture: Recent Perspectives on the History of Eugenics”, American Historical Review, 103 (1998), pp. 476478, 476.

23. Ibid.; King, Desmond, In the Name of Liberalism: Illiberal Social Policy in the USA and Britain (Oxford, 1999); Porter, D., “Eugenics and the Sterilization Debate in Sweden and Britain Before World War II”, Scandinavian Journal of History, 24 (1999), pp. 145162; Weiner, Amir, “Introduction: Landscaping the Human Garden”, in idem (ed.), Landscaping the Human Garden: Twentieth-Century Population Management in a Comparative Framework (Stanford, CA, 2003), pp. 118, 4; Leonard, “Retrospectives: Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era”; Gerodetti, Natalia, “Eugenic Family Politics and Social Democrats: ‘Positive’ Eugenics and Marriage Advice Bureaus”, Journal of Historical Sociology, 19 (2006), pp. 217244; and Stromquist, Shelton, Reinventing “The People”: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism (Urbana, IL [etc.], 2006).

24. Crook, , Darwin’s Coat-Tails, p. 251.

25. Weiner, “Introduction: Landscaping the Human Garden”, p. 6.

26. Broberg, Gunnar and Tydén, Mattias, “Eugenics in Sweden: Efficient Care”, in Broberg and Roll-Hansen, Eugenics and the Welfare State, pp. 77149; Gunnar Broberg and Nils Roll-Hansen, “Preface to the 2005 Edition”, in idem (eds), Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (East Lansing, MI, 2005), pp. ix–xvii; Dikötter, “Race Culture”; Porter, “Eugenics and the Sterilization Debate”; Weingart, Peter, “Science and Political Culture: Eugenics in Comparative Perspective”, Scandinavian Journal of History, 24 (1999), pp. 163177; Kolbe, Wiebke, Elternschaft im Wohlfahrtsstaat. Schweden und die Bundesrepublik im Vergleich 1945–2000 (Frankfurt, 2002); Rogers, John and Nelson, Marie C., “ ‘Lapps, Finns, Gypsies, Jews, and Idiots’: Modernity and the Use of Statistical Categories in Sweden”, Annales de Démographie Historique, 1 (2003), pp. 6179; Spektorowski, Alberto, “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism: Sweden, Germany, and the Soviet Union”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 46 (2004), pp. 84106; Spektorowski, and Mizrachi, , “Eugenics and the Welfare State in Sweden”; Véronique Mottier, “Sociaal-democratie en eugenetica”, Socialisme en Democratie, 9 (2003), pp. 2028, idem, “Eugenics and the Swiss Gender Regime”; idem, “Eugenics, Politics and the State: Social Democracy and the Swiss ‘Gardening State’ ”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 39 (2008), pp. 263–269; Mottier, V. and von Mandach, L. (eds), Eugenik und Disziplinierung in der Schweiz: Integration und Ausschluss in Psychiatrie, Medizin und Fürsorge (Zurich, 2007); Etzemüller, Thomas, “Die Romantik des Reissbretts. Social engineering und demokratische Volksgemeinschaft in Schweden: Das Beispiel Alva und Gunnar Myrdal (1930–1960)”, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 32 (2006), pp. 445466.

27. Becquemont, , “Eugénisme et socialisme en Grande-Bretagne”, p. 61.

28. Dikötter, , “Race Culture”, p. 467.

29. For a useful survey see Broberg and Roll-Hansen, Eugenics and the Welfare State.

30. A good example is Die Rassenhygiene in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika by Géza von Hoffman, which appeared in 1913 and which had a major influence on the Danish social democrat Karl Kristian Steincke; Bent Sigurd Hansen, “Something Rotten in the State of Denmark: Eugenics and the Ascent of the Welfare State”, in Broberg and Roll-Hansen, Eugenics and the Welfare State, pp. 9–76, 28.

31. Paul, , “Eugenics and the Left”, p. 570.

32. Spektorowski, , “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, pp. 86–87.

33. A position adopted by Gunnar Myrdal too; Rothstein, B., “Managing the Welfare State: Lessons from Gustav Möller”, Scandinavian Political Studies, 8 (1985), pp. 151170, 156.

34. Spektorowski, , “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, p. 87; see also Tilton, T., “A Swedish Road to Socialism: Ernst Wigforss and the Ideological Foundations of Swedish Social Democracy”, American Political Science Review, 73 (1979), pp. 505520, 506.

35. A concept introduced in 1928 by the social democrat and later prime minister Per Albin Hansson; Broberg and Roll-Hansen, Eugenics and the Welfare State, p. 5.

36. Spektorowski, , “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, p. 92.

37. Folkhemmet is also the term for the welfare state as a whole. See also Andersson, J., “Choosing Futures: Alva Myrdal and the Construction of Swedish Futures Studies, 1967–1972”, International Review of Social History, 51 (2006), pp. 277295, 278.

38. Etzemüller, , “Die Romantik des Reissbretts”.

39. Initially with the Farmers’ League.

40. Alva Reimer Myrdal was a social psychologist, Gunnar an economist.

41. Spektorowski, “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, p. 93; see Therborn, Göran, Between Sex and Power: Family in the World, 1900–2000 (London, 2004), p. 254.

42. Carlson, Allan, The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics: The Myrdals and the Interwar Population Crisis (New Brunswick, NJ, 1990), p. xi; Etzemüller, “Die Romantik des Reissbretts”.

43. Cherrier, B., “Gunnar Myrdal and the Scientific Way to Social Democracy, 1914–1968”, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 31 (2009), pp. 3355, 40.

44. Carlson, , The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics, p. 84.

45. Myrdal, Gunnar, “Population Problems and Policies”, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 197 (1938), pp. 200215, 203.

46. See also Neunsinger, Silke, Die Arbeit der Frauen, die Krise der Männer: Die Erwerbstätigkeit verheirateter Frauen in Deutschland und Schweden 1919–1939 (Uppsala, 2001).

47. Reimer Myrdal, Alva, Nation and Family: The Swedish Experiment in Democratic Family and Population Policy (Cambridge, MA, 1968), p. 215. Alva Myrdal wrote this book, she claimed, in order to disseminate to an English-language audience the idea of the family-friendly welfare state which she had co-developed with her husband: Nation and Family “is written anew for the public in English-speaking countries. It is, however, at the same time to be considered as a substitute for an British version of the Kris i befolkningsfrågan”; Myrdal, Alva and Myrdal, Gunnar, Kris i befolkningsfrågan (Stockholm, 1934); Reimer Myrdal, Alva, Nation and Family: The Swedish Experiment in Democratic Family and Population Policy (New York [etc.], 1941), p. vii. I am indebted to Jan Kok for drawing my attention to the original 1941 edition.

48. Etzemüller, , “Die Romantik des Reissbretts”, p. 449.

49. Carlson, , The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics.

50. Etzemüller, , “Die Romantik des Reissbretts”, p. 454.

51. Broberg, and Tydén, , “Eugenics in Sweden”, p. 104.

52. Ibid., p. 105.

53. See also Runcis, Maija, Steriliseringar i folkhemmet (Stockholm, 1998).

54. Spektorowski, , “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, p. 97.

55. See, for example, in general Lucassen, Leo et al. , Gypsies and Other Itinerant Groups: A Socio-Historical Approach (London [etc.], 1998). In Sweden, the terms tattare and gypsy were used interchangeably. The tattare were also taken to include sedentary gypsies, but the term was used to refer to vagabonds too, and tramps; Rogers and Nelson, “ ‘Lapps, Finns, Gypsies, Jews, and Idiots’ ”, p. 69.

56. Dahlberg owed his appointment in part to Gunnar Myrdal, and he stayed in close touch with the British left-wing geneticist Lancelot Hogben, whom we shall come across later; Porter, , “Eugenics and the Sterilization Debate”, p. 151.

57. Spektorowski, , “The Eugenic Temptation in Socialism”, p. 85.

58. Carlson, , The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics, p. 164.

59. Runcis, Steriliseringar i folkhemmet. See too Broberg, and Roll-Hansen, , “Preface to the 2005 Edition”, pp. ix–xvii.

60. Ibid., p. xii.

61. Gerodetti, “Eugenic Family Politics and Social Democrats”.

62. Forel, A., La question sexuelle exposée aux adultes cultivés (Paris, 1906).

63. Gasser, Jacques and Geneviève Heller, “Etude de cas: les débuts de la stérilisation légale des malades mentaux dans le canton de Vaud”, Gesnerus, 54 (1997), pp. 242250, 244; Mottier, “Sociaal-democratie en eugenetica”.

64. Gerodetti, “Eugenic Family Politics and Social Democrats”.

65. Between 1919 and 1944 around 3,000 sterilizations were performed under that law; Ehrenström, Philippe, “Stérilisation opératoire et maladie mentale: Une étude de cas”, Gesnerus, 48 (1991), pp. 503516, 503.

66. Broberg, and Tydén, , “Eugenics in Sweden”, p. 92.

67. Mottier, , “Eugenics, Politics and the State”, p. 265.

68. Heller, Geneviève and Jeanmonod, Gilles, “Eugénisme et contexte socio-politique. L’exemple de l’adoption d’une loi sur la stérilisation des handicapés et maldes mentaux dans le canton de Vaud en 1928”, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte, 50 (2000), pp. 2044.

69. Meier, Thomas, “Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerdiskurs in der Schweiz 1850–1970”, in Michael Zimmermann (ed.), Zwischen Erziehung und Vernichtung. Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerforschung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 2007), pp. 226239, 232 and n. 44.

70. Leimgruber, Walter et al. , Das Hilfswerk für die Kinder der Landstrasse. Historische Studie aufgrund der Akten der Stiftung Pro Juventute im Schweizerischen Bundesarchiv (Berne, 1998). In principle, the Jenischen were regarded as indigenous, unlike gypsies (later “Sinti and Roma”), who were regarded as foreigners; Meier, “Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerdiskurs in der Schweiz 1850–1970”, pp. 228–229. See also Huonker, Thomas and Lufi, Regula, Roma, Sinti und Jenische. Schweizerische Zigeunerpolitik zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus (Zurich, 2001).

71. Meier, “Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerdiskurs in der Schweiz 1850–1970”.

72. An extensive and in-depth portrait of his life and work can be found in Willems, Wim, In Search of the True Gypsy: From Enlightenment to Final Solution (London, 1997).

73. As late as 1964, Siegfried wrote a book in which he expressly acknowledged his indebtedness to Ritter and Jörger.

74. Meier, , “Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerdiskurs in der Schweiz 1850–1970”, p. 231.

75. Der Schweizerischer Beobachter reported on this policy as early as 1972, after which it was terminated; the public debate did not really get underway until the 1980s.

76. For a more extensive treatment of these ideas see Willems, In Search of the True Gypsy.

77. Mottier, “Eugenics, Politics and the State”.

78. In Norway, children of tatare (in Swedish tattare) were removed from their parents by a state-sanctioned philanthropic religious organization from as early as the beginning of the twentieth century while, under Norway’s sterilization law, 128 tatare were sterilized between 1934 and 1978; Haave, “Sterilization under the Swastika”, pp. 51–52.

79. Ehrenström, “Stérilisation opératoire et maladie mentale”, p. 505; Jeanmonod, Gilles, “La mutation du concept de dégénérescence en Suisse romande 1870–1920”, Gesnerus, 55 (1998), pp. 7086, 85.

80. Hauss and Ziegler, “City Welfare in the Sway of Eugenics”.

81. Mottier, , “Eugenics, Politics and the State”, p. 268.

82. Gerodetti, , “Eugenic Family Politics and Social Democrats”, pp. 227–228.

83. Ibid.

84. The Dutch Social Democratic Workers’ Party (SDAP) did not enter government until 1939. In the UK (1924, 1929–1931), Germany (1918–1921, 1923, and 1930), and France (1924–1926, 1936–1938) the participation of socialists and social democrats in government was usually brief, and often those governments were coalitions.

85. Richter, Ingrid, Katholizismus und Eugenik in der Weimarer Republik und im Dritten Reich. Zwischen Sittklichkeitsreform und Rassenhygiene (Paderborn, 2001). See too de Raes, Wouter, “Eugenetika in de Belgische medische wereld tijdens het interbellum”, Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis, 20 (1989), pp. 399464, 416, for the response of Belgian Catholic doctors.

86. Persell, Stuart M., Neo-Lamarckism and the Evolution Controversy in France, 1870–1920 (Lewiston, NY, 1999). Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck (1744–1829) was a French zoologist and botanist. Today he is known principally as the author of the pre-Darwinist evolutionary theory of the inheritance of acquired traits. Following Darwin’s publication of the theory of evolution, Lamarck (who had long since died) was rediscovered by neo-Lamarckian scientists, who placed more emphasis on individual will, creativity, and environmental factors.

87. Van den Eeckhout, “ ‘De onbewoonbare krotten’ ”.

88. Raes, “Eugenetika in de Belgische medische wereld tijdens het interbellum”, p. 411. For France see also Cahen, Fabrice, “Medicine, Statistics, and the Encounter of Abortion and ‘Depopulation’ in France (1870–1920)”, History of the Family, 14 (2009), pp. 1935, who shows that resistance to abortion was closely linked to fears of population decline.

89. Raes, , “Eugenetika in de Belgische medische wereld tijdens het interbellum”, pp. 441–442.

90. Hollen Lees, Lynn, The Solidarities of Strangers: The English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 318319.

91. Webb, Sidney and Webb, Beatrice, The Prevention of Destitution (London, 1911), p. 2.

92. For this social-imperialist view see Jones, Stedman, Outcast London, p. 327, and Himmelfarb, , Poverty and Compassion, pp. 365–369.

93. Webb and Webb, Prevention of Destitution, p. 9.

94. Ibid., pp. 47–48.

95. Current research has demonstrated a clear relationship between alcoholic mothers and brain damage in children born of alcoholic mothers.

96. Webb, and Webb, , Prevention of Destitution, pp. 50–51.

97. Paul, “Eugenics and the Left”.

98. Muller, cited in Elof Axel Carlson, The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea (Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 2001), p. 350.

99. Paul, Diane B., The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature–Nurture Debate (Albany, NY, 1998), pp. 1718.

100. Carlson, , The Unfit, pp. 347–348.

101. Paul, , The Politics of Heredity, p. 19.

102. Hogben in 1931: “Negative eugenics is simply the adoption of a national minimum of parenthood, an extension of the principle of national minima familiarized in the writings of Sidney and Beatrice Webb. It is thus essentially en rapport with the social theory of the collectivist movement”; Paul, “Eugenics and the Left”, p. 574. See also Barkan, Elazar, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States Between the World Wars (New York, 1992), pp. 232233.

103. Dikötter, , “Race Culture”, p. 476.

104. Macnicol, John, “Eugenics and the Campaign for Voluntary Sterilization in Britain Between the Wars”, Social History of Medicine, 2 (1989), pp. 147169, and idem, “The Voluntary Sterilization Campaign in Britain, 1918–39”, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 2 (1992), pp. 422–438. See also Hansen, Randall and King, Desmond S., “Eugenic Ideas, Political Interests, and Policy Variance: Immigration and Sterilization Policy in Britain and the US”, World Politics, 53 (2001), pp. 237263.

105. As argued too by Porter, , “Eugenics and the Sterilization Debate”, p. 158.

106. Lees, , The Solidarities of Strangers, p. 343.

107. Macnicol, “Eugenics and the Campaign for Voluntary Sterilization”.

108. Weindling, Paul, Health, Race and German Politics Between National Unification and Nazism, 1870–1945 (New York, 1989).

109. Mottier, “Sociaal-democratie en eugenetica”; A. Seeck, “Aufklärung oder Rückfall? Das Projekt der Etablierung einer ‘Sexualwissenschaft’ und deren Konzeption als Teil der Biologie”, in idem (ed.), Durch Wissenschaft zur Gerechtigkeit? Textsammlung zur kritischen Rezeption des Schaffens von Magnus Hirschfeld (Munster, 2003), pp. 173–206, 180; Reyer, Jürgen, Eugenik und Pädagogik. Erziehungswissenschaft in einer eugenisierten Gesellschaft (Weinheim [etc.], 2003), p. 90.

110. Reyer, , Eugenik und Pädagogik, p. 56; Faith Weiss, Sheila, Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer (Berkeley, CA, 1987). Schallmayer, who also corresponded with Forel, was a typical representative of the Bildungsbürgertum. He never actually joined the SPD, but he did feel allied to the party, as well as to the genetic meritocratic ideals of Pearson; Weiss, Race Hygiene and National Efficiency, pp. 86 and 174.

111. Faith Weiss, Sheila, “The Race Hygiene Movement in Germany, 1904–1945”, in Adams, The Wellborn Science, pp. 8–68.

112. Schwartz, Michael, Sozialistische Eugenik: Eugenische Sozialtechnologien in Debatten und Politik der deutschen Sozialdemokratie, 1890–1933 (Bonn, 1995). See also Mottier, “Sociaal-democratie en eugenetica”.

113. Richter, , Katholizismus und Eugenik, p. 349.

114. Ibid., p. 524. See also Knapp, Thomas, “The Catholic Labor Movement in Germany 1850–1933: A Survey and a Commentary”, Newsletter, European Labor and Working Class History, 6 (1974), pp. 1419.

115. Richter, , Katholizismus und Eugenik, p. 88.

116. Ibid., p. 311.

117. Schneider, William H., “The Eugenics Movement in France, 1890–1940”, in Adams, The Wellborn Science, pp. 69–109, 71 and 103.

118. Lucassen, Leo, The Immigrant Threat: The Integration of Old and New Migrants in Western Europe since 1850 (Urbana, IL [etc.], 2005), p. 92; Rosenberg, Clifford, Policing Paris: The Origins of Modern Immigration Control Between the Wars (Ithaca, NY, [etc.], 2006).

119. As argued by Mauco, Georges, Les étrangers en France. Leur rôle dans l’activité économique (Paris, 1932), p. 523. See also Schneider, William H., Quality and Quantity: The Quest for Biological Regeneration in Twentieth-Century France (Cambridge, 1990).

120. Schneider, , Quality and Quantity, pp. 75–85.

121. Idem, “The Eugenics Movement in France”, p. 102.

122. Ibid., p. 99.

123. Ibid., p. 102.

124. Michael Hecht, Jennifer, “Vacher de Lapouge and the Rise of Nazi Science”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 61 (2000), pp. 285304, 287.

125. Taguieff, Pierre-André, “Sélectionnisme et socialisme dans une perspective aryaniste: Théories, visions et prévisions de Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936)”, Mil neuf cent, 18 (2000), pp. 751, 23 and 31.

126. Noordman, Jan, Om de kwaliteit van het nageslacht. Eugenetica in Nederland 1900–1950 (Nijmegen, 1989), p. 37.

127. Idem, “Eugenetica en gezinsgrootte, katholieke opvattingen over de bevolkingskwaliteit gedurende het interbellum”, Pedagogische verhandelingen, 8 (1985), pp. 318326.

128. Genetic material transmitted by procreation. It was believed that if, for example, during conception one of the partners was inebriated, that might result in “the germ plasm being poisoned”. According to the German zoologist August Weismann (1834–1914), this inferior genetic material would inevitably multiply by division; Reyer, Eugenik und Pädagogik, p. 63. See also A.F. Petterson, “Kiemvergif en drankbestrijding. De eugenetica van social-democraat G.P. Frets (1879–1957)”, paper for the M.Phil. in history, Leiden University, November 2009.

129. Noordman, , Om de kwaliteit van het nageslacht, p. 32.

130. de Goei, Leonie, De psychohygiënisten: psychiatrie, cultuurkritiek en de beweging voor geestelijke volksgezondheid in Nederland, 1924–1970 (Nijmegen, 2001). See also Nys, L. et al. (eds), De zieke natie. Over de medicalisering van de samenleving 1860–1914 (Groningen, 2002).

131. De Goei, , De psychohygiënisten, p. 27.

132. As argued by Noordman, Om de kwaliteit van het nageslacht; De Goei, (De psychohygiënisten, p. 48) qualifies that view. See also Biervliet, H. et al. , “Biologisme, racisme en eugenetiek in de antropologie en de sociologie van de jaren dertig”, in F. Bovenkerk et al. (eds), Toen en thans. De sociale wetenschappen in de jaren dertig en nu (Baarn, 1978), pp. 208235, Snelders, S. and Pieters, T., “Van degeneratie tot individuele gezondheidsopties. Het maatschappelijk gebruik van erfelijkheidsconcepten in de twintigste eeuw”, Gewina, 26 (2003), pp. 203215, and idem, “Alcoholism and Degeneration in Dutch Medicine around 1900”, in Patrick Dassen and Maria Kemperink (eds), The Many Faces of Evolution in Europe, c. 1860–1914 (Leuven, 2005), pp. 87–100. See also van Poppel, Frans, Trouwen in Nederland. Een historisch-demografische studie van de 19e en vroeg–20e eeuw (Wageningen, 1992), pp. 101103, who discusses the ideas of H. Treub, S.R. Steinmetz, and C.J. Wijnaendts Francken.

133. van der Meer, Theo, “Eugenic and Sexual Folklores and the Castration of Sex Offenders in the Netherlands (1938–1968)”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 39 (2008), pp. 195204, 200–201.

134. The exceptions included SDAP members A.E.J. de Vries-Bruins, F. Wibaut (son of the famous alderman), the doctor and chairman of the Dutch Eugenics Federation G.P. Frets, the criminologist Willem Bonger, F. Koster, the teacher and temperance advocate F.U. Schmidt and, after the war, PvdA member Jannetje Zeelenberg; Noordman, Om de kwaliteit van het nageslacht, pp. 166–168; Buiting, Henny, “Linkse eugenetica in Nederland”, Onvoltooid Verleden, 2 (1998); Petterson, “Kiemvergif en drankbestrijding”.

135. Well-known examples being Arie Keppler, Director of Amsterdam’s Municipal Housing Department, and the psychiatrist A. Querido.

136. de Regt, Ali, Arbeidersgezinnen en beschavingsarbeid. Ontwikkelingen in Nederland 1870–1940 (Meppel [etc.], 1984); Dercksen, Adrianne and Verplanke, Loes, Geschiedenis van de onmaatschappelijkheidsbestrijding in Nederland 1914–1970 (Meppel [etc.], 1987); Maandag, Ben and van der Mee, Tonny, De asocialen. Heropvoeding in Drentse kampen (Rotterdam, 2005).

137. See Van den Eeckhout, “ ‘De onbewoonbare krotten’ ”.

138. Cottaar, Annemarie, Kooplui, kermisklanten en andere woonwagenbewoners. Groepsvorming en beleid, 1870–1945 (Amsterdam, 1996); idem et al., “Justice or Injustice? A Survey of Government Policy towards Gypsies and Caravan Dwellers in Western Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”, Immigrants and Minorities, 11 (1992), pp. 42–66; Lucassen, Leo, “Between Hobbes and Locke: Gypsies and the Limits of the Modernization Paradigm”, Social History, 33 (2008), pp. 423441.

139. Lucassen, Leo, “Gypsy Research and Gypsy Policy in the Netherlands (1850–1970) in a Comparative Perspective”, in Michael Zimmermann (ed.), Zwischen Erziehung und Vernichtung. Zigeunerpolitik und Zigeunerforschung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 2007), pp. 240253; Willems, In Search of the True Gypsy; Mayall, David, Gypsy Identities 1500–2000: From Egipcyans and Moon-Men to the Ethnic Romany (London, 2004).

140. On this criticism see also Tilly, Charles, “Power – Top Down and Bottom Up”, Journal of Political Philosophy, 7 (1999), pp. 330352, and Cooper, Frederick, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (Berkeley, CA [etc.], 2005).

141. For the relationship between communitarianism and illiberal theories, including eugenics, see too Berman, Sheri, The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century (New York, 2006), p. 207.

142. The concept of “conditional” can also be seen in the postwar Eastern bloc, where one of the state’s objectives was to create the new socialist man; often those were states that stressed the importance of ethnic homogeneity, such as Czechoslovakia; Donert, Celia, “ ‘The Struggle for the Soul of the Gypsy’: Marginality and Mass Mobilization in Stalinist Czechoslovakia”, Social History, 33 (2008), pp. 123144, 130.

143. See also Rogers, and Nelson, , “ ‘Lapps, Finns, Gypsies, Jews, and Idiots’ ”, p. 75.

144. Marshall, T.H., Social Policy in the Twentieth Century (London, 1979); Esping-Andersen, Gøsta, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Cambridge, 1990); Fahrmeir, Andreas, Citizenship: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Concept (New Haven, CT, 2007).

145. Sassen, Saskia, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton, NJ [etc.], 2006).

146. Socialisme en Democratie (January/February 2009) and Rood. Het ledenblad van de Partij van de Arbeid, 2 (2009). See also Lucassen, Leo and Willems, Wim, “De ondraaglijke lichtheid van het geheugen”, Rood. Het ledenblad van de Partij van de Arbeid, 1 (2009), p. 19.

147. Paul Scheffer became widely known through his Het land van aankomst (Amsterdam, 2007), which has been reprinted twelve times since it originally appeared.

148. Schinkel, Willem and van den Berg, Margueritte, “Polariserend en moraliserend burgerschap in de inburgering”, in Raad voor Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling (ed.), Polarisatie. Bedreigend en verrijkend (Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 188205.

* This article previously appeared in Dutch in a collection of essays edited by Jan van Bavel and Jan Kok, “De levenskracht der bevolking”. Sociale en demografische kwesties in de Lage Landen tijdens het interbellum (Leuven, 2010). The translation is by Chris Gordon. I would like to express my appreciation to Jan Kok, Thomas Lindblad, Marcel van der Linden, Jan Lucassen, Anna Petterson, Peter Tammes, and Adriaan van Veldhuizen for their comments on previous versions of this essay.

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A Brave New World: The Left, Social Engineering, and Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Europe*

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