Eugenics is the set of theories and practices aimed at improving the inheritable qualities of the human race, and engineer a better society. Greek in its origin, the term, which literally means ‘well-born’, was introduced by British geneticist Francis Galton in 1883, in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development. Soon afterwards, the first national eugenics organisation was established in the United States, where eugenics rapidly gained popularity and considerable weight in scientific society. As a result, during the first decades of the 20th century the US states passed numerous eugenic legislations, including sexual sterilisation of persons with inferior hereditary potentialities varying from criminals to the ‘feeble-minded’. Eugenic ideas laid the foundation for the development of the Nazi ideology of ‘racial hygiene’ in the 1930s. Nazi eugenic legislation led to forced sterilisation and murder of hundreds of thousands of individuals deemed ‘unfavourable’. In the decades following World War II, with the adoption of a number of laws protecting human rights, many countries began to abandon eugenics policies. 

Eugenics in Great Britain
Eugenics in North America
Eugenics in Nazi Germany
Das Wunder des Lebens

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