The Nazi eugenics programs are well known. Despite their controversy, I cannot find any indication on their effectiveness. Were there ever and studies done on the (arguably subjective definition of) superiority of German genetics due to (or possibly in spite of) these programs?

Do we even have a way to objectively measure genetic superiority or fitness? In the case of a lack of such a measurement, the idea could be qualified for purposes of this question as:

  1. Lower instances of genetic disease.
  2. Lower instances of mental retardation, criminal tendencies, and mental illness.
  3. Higher general academic achievement.
  4. Healthier, longer lived population.

Note of course that I am not promoting or condoning eugenics in any way. I am only interested in knowing if the results were effective (i.e. achieved their goals), without comparing the programs' possible benefit against its obvious drawbacks. All contemporary discussion of the programs concentrate only on the drawbacks, unfortunately.

EDIT: Before anyone accuses me of bigotry or crimes against humanity, I will mention that my grandfather lost all seven of his siblings, his parents, and all the rest of his entire family to this same regime. My grandmother lost five of eight siblings, both parents, and all the rest of her entire family to this same regime. What these people did to Jews, Gypsies, and the feeble was terrible and I do not excuse it. This question is intended only to concentrate on the scientific issue of forced, deliberate genetic improvement, a form of "breeding" if you will.


closed as off-topic by daniel, Chris, rg255, Cornelius, The Last Word Jun 14 '14 at 0:23

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    $\begingroup$ There was already some discussion on the topic. $\endgroup$ – har-wradim Jun 13 '14 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ @har-wradim For me it is not a duplicate. This question is not about the efficiency of Nazi eugenic programs, but about the intrinsic genetical superiority of German race (or lack of thereof). $\endgroup$ – Piotr Migdal Jun 13 '14 at 12:03
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    $\begingroup$ @PiotrMigdal I have nothing against this question, I'm even "glad" that this topic got a new chance. $\endgroup$ – har-wradim Jun 13 '14 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ To the extent this question means anything it could be asked without the inflammatory context. As it is, it is too broad and reflects badly on the site. It is also partly a dupe. $\endgroup$ – daniel Jun 13 '14 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ Why should they? This would imply that there is some "superiority" in some humans above others. This programme selected people by external criteria (tall, blonde, blue eyes), why should any of this lead to superiority? Genetics is much more complicated plus not everything that we are is inherited in our genes. A lot is society and behaviour. The question doesn't really make sense to me. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jun 13 '14 at 12:58

I am leaving the word 'superior' aside (it's ill-defined and strongly valuing).

In any way - unlikely. If any ethnic group is 'superior' (at least, intellectually) - then, ironically, Nazi main victims - Ashkenazi Jews. But while there is some genetic component, it is impossible to disentangle it from societal and historical factors. Here are some links, is you are interested.

When it comes to Germans, as far as I remember, they are not a group genetically distinct from, say Poles. Yet Slavs were considered by Nazi also an inferior race, to be enslaved or eradicated.

In any case, culture and socioeconomic factors seem to be much stronger than (relatively small). In particular, for Germany itself, there was a huge difference between West and East Germany, prior to the fall of Berlin Wall. It can be hardly explained by 'genetical superiority' of West Germans. An excerpt from Race, IQ, and Wealth by Ron Unz:

Consider, for example, the results from Germany obtained prior to its 1991 reunification. Lynn and Vanhanen present four separate IQ studies from the former West Germany, all quite sizable, which indicate mean IQs in the range 99–107, with the oldest 1970 sample providing the low end of that range. Meanwhile, a 1967 sample of East German children produced a score of just 90, while two later East German studies in 1978 and 1984 came in at 97–99, much closer to the West German numbers.

These results seem anomalous from the perspective of strong genetic determinism for IQ. To a very good approximation, East Germans and West Germans are genetically indistinguishable, and an IQ gap as wide as 17 points between the two groups seems inexplicable, while the recorded rise in East German scores of 7–9 points in just half a generation seems even more difficult to explain.

See also The East Asian Exception to Socio-Economic IQ Influences and The Myth of American Meritocracy (on how ethnicity can affect admission) by the same author.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. As for being the same race as the Poles, I thought that the Germans are Aryans, genetically distinct from Slavs but rather the same people as the Persians / Iranians. $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Jun 13 '14 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ @dotancohen Then if you mean than, it is a duplicate of Did the eugenics program in Nazi Germany have a measurable effect? (with answer: WW II with all of its killings, migrations, changes in economy and politics had much stronger impact, and most likely it is impossible to separate it). And no, Germans are not closer to Persians/Iranians than to Poles. This Aryan thing is a myth, not supported by science. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Migdal Jun 13 '14 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that as intended the question was a dupe, however the comments and your answer are terrific and the truth is, I find the direction that the question went in to be a valuable contribution. Thank you very much for your learned insight. I learned more than I expected to learn. Oh, and being an Ashkenazi Jew I find the linked Wikipedia article astounding, though I find it disturbing that the topic is notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia article. $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Jun 13 '14 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ @dotancohen In any case, SE has no-dupe policy. So I guess unless you edit question, it will be closed. If you like my answer, could you edit it to ask about superiority of Germans, without speculations or relations to effectiveness of any eugenics? (In short: if there was some truth in Nazi propaganda on the genetic superiority of Germans) BTW: I didn't note your surname. :) With respect to topic notability - it is hard to miss a great number of scientific and cultural achievements (especially in the 20th century) due to people of Jewish ancestry. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Migdal Jun 13 '14 at 14:03

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