Those no-politically correct of us like to call busybodies who want to interfere in personal choices “health nazis”. It is meant as an insult, to label them as draconian health freaks intent on destroying personal liberties.
I always thought it was just a term but it appears there were actual “health Nazis”.
Nazi Germanyâs well-known obsession with creating a master Aryan race led to many atrocities. But from these same sinister motives came research that may have had health benefits for the German people during World War IIâstudies on the dangers of smoking that led to the most advanced anti-tobacco campaign of its time. Unfortunately, the campaign was only concerned with protecting the health of Aryan Germans.
âNazi Germany was governed by a health-conscious political elite bent on European conquest and genocidal extermination,â writes Stanford researcher Robert Proctor in his book,Â The Nazi War on Cancer, âand tobacco at the time was viewed as one among many âthreatsâ to the health of the chosen folk.â
In 1939, German scientist Franz MĂŒller presented the first epidemiological study linking tobacco use and cancer. In 1943, a paper prepared by German scientists Eberhard Schairer and Erich SchĂ¶niger at Jena University confirmed this study, and convincingly established for the first time that cigarette smoking is a direct cause of lung cancer.
Research by German doctors also brought to light the harmful effects of secondhand smoke for the first time, and coined the term âpassive smoking.â But Proctor says the findings cannot be separated from the context in which they were realized.
According to Proctor, Schairer and SchĂ¶nigerâs paper needs to be seen as âa political document, a product of the Nazi ideological focus on tobacco as a corrupting force whose elimination would serve the cause of âracial hygiene.ââ The Nazi agenda was centered on the idea of establishing and maintaining a German Aryan master race that was free of illness or impurity, and tobacco was just one of the many influences that could weaken the so-called Ăbermensch.
âNazism was a movement of muscular, health-conscious young men worried about things like the influence of Jews in German culture and the evils of communism,â Proctor says, âbut also about the injurious effects of white bread, asbestos, and artificial food dyes.â