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New book by Discovery Institute Fellow shows influence of Darwinian principles on Hitler’s Nazi regime

SEATTLE, AUGUST 13, 1985 — Discovery Institute is pleased to announce the publication of the provocative intellectual history, From Darwin to Hitler, Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany (Palgrave MacMillan), by Richard Weikart, a fellow with the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

In this compelling and painstakingly researched work of intellectual history, Weikart convincingly makes the argument that Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles.

“Richard Weikart’s outstanding book shows in sober and convincing detail how Darwinist thinkers in Germany had developed an amoral attitude to human society,” says Dr. Richard Evans, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge, and author of The Coming of the Third Reich. “This provided Hitler and the Nazis with a scientific justification for the policies they pursued once they came to power.”

Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. He demonstrates that many leading Darwinian biologists and social thinkers in Germany believed that Darwinism overturned traditional Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment ethics, especially those pertaining to the sacredness of human life. Many of these thinkers supported moral relativism, yet simultaneously exalted evolutionary “fitness” (especially in terms of intelligence and health) as the highest arbiter of morality. Weikart concludes that Darwinism played a key role not only in the rise of eugenics, but also in euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination, all ultimately embraced by the Nazis.

From Darwin to Hitler is a challenging yet balanced work that should encourage a rethinking of the historical impact that Darwinism had on the course of events in the twentieth century.

Richard Weikart earned his Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Iowa and is an Associate Professor at California State University, Stanislaus focusing on German and European intellectual history. He was a Fullbright Fellowship participant in 1992-93, doing research at the University of Bonn, Germany. His articles have appeared in numerous journals and publications including: German Studies Review, Journal of the History of Ideas, Books and Culture, The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, and the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion.

For more information or to schedule interviews with the author, contact Rob Crowther at [email protected].



For more information visit

The Final Evolution, by Tom Bethell, The American Spectator

Murderous Science, by M. D. Aeschliman, National Review

Review of From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany Richard Weikart, Author by Johannes L. Jacobse,

Praise for “From Darwin To Hitler”

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