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Measuring the Master Race

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Jon Røyne Kyllingstad

5. Racial Hygiene and the Nordic Race, 1900-1933

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1The nineteenth century saw the rise of a scientific worldview whereby humans were ranked in a hierarchy according to their degree of biological, cultural and moral advancement. This evolutionary worldview was marked by profound faith in human progress, but also by dread of degeneration. Around the turn of the century, members of the educated Western elite began to fear that the evolution of the human species was coming to a halt because modern society was out of step with nature. This anxiety fuelled the growth of the racial hygiene movement to counteract the biological degeneration of humankind. After the turn of the twentieth century Mendelian genetics arose as a new and prestigious field of research. This helped strengthen the notion of human nature as something innate, unchangeable and calculable. In such a setting, anthropological racial science acquired new social relevance by being linked to racial hygiene and new meaning in light of the Mendelian approach to biological heredity.

The rise of Mendelian genetics

2It was in the 1860s that the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel conducted his famous hybrid experiments. When he crossed white-and purple-flower pea plants, the result was not a blend: in fact, all the offspring had purple flowers. However, when he allowed the bean plants to self-fertilise, he obtained a second generation of pea flowers that were purple and white at a ratio of 3 to 1. Based on this discovery, he conceived the idea of heredity units, which he called ‘factors’ and which determined the inheritance of biological traits. For each singular trait, the organism inherits one factor from each parent. These may be similar or different. If they are different, only one of them, the dominant factor, will determine the organism’s appearance. The other factor, the recessive factor, will only be expressed if the individual inherits a double dosage of it.

3Initially Mendel’s work did not attract much attention. He had a peripheral status in the world of science, and contemporary biological research was mainly oriented towards other issues. In 1900, however, his work was rediscovered and in the following years genetics emerged as a new discipline that explored the field of biological inheritance using controlled crossing experiments and a new conceptual and theoretical framework. Mendel’s hereditary units were given the name ‘genes’. The concept of genes became linked to chromosomes and identified as a materially existing phenomenon located in the nucleus of all living organisms — the terms ‘phenotype’ and ‘genotype’ were coined to distinguish between an organism’s observable characteristics and its underlying genetic makeup.

4Mendelian genetics did not, however, provide clear answers to all issues related to biological heritability, and both Lamarckism and the orthogenetic theory of directional evolution continued to exist alongside the new genetics. Biology was marked by an incoherent and disputed theoretical foundation into the interwar years, and it was unclear what implications the new insights of genetics would have for evolutionary theory. This situation started to change in the 1930s, with the advent of the neo-Darwinian synthesis of genetics and selection theory, which turned genes and populations into key variables in the explanation of biological evolution. A ‘population’ was construed to be a group of organisms that share a set of genes. Reproduction and the exchange of genes occur mainly within and not between populations, and evolution occurs when the composition of a population’s gene pool is changed.

  • 1 For an account of the relation between genetics and anthropological racial science in Germany in th (...)

5It may seem logical to assume that scientists who rejected the old theories of heritability and began to apply Mendelian genetics to anthropological issues would soon lose interest in the old morphological concept of race and instead turn their attention towards the flow of genes within and between populations. One might expect that the concept of race would be replaced by those of ‘population’ and ‘genes’. Something along these lines did happen, but not until the 1940s and 1950s, when a number of influential geneticists began criticising traditional physical anthropological race research for being based on outdated nineteenth-century ideas. However, in the early decades of the twentieth century, many maintained that Mendelian genetics was a good argument for revitalising the anthropological concept of race.1

Race and Mendelism

  • 2 Benoit Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer: Physical Anthropology and “Modern Race Theories” in Wilhel (...)
  • 3 Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer’, p. 109.

6Around the turn of the century, German anthropologists went through what the historian Benoit Massin has described as a conceptual, theoretical and methodological crisis. Decades of extensive anthropometric measuring had led to the accumulation of huge amounts of data on morphological variations within humankind, but there was increasing frustration over the meaning of the concept of race and its usefulness in making sense of these data.2 In 1901, the Hungarian anthropologist Aurel von Török claimed that anthropology had reached a dead end because it was based on a faulty premise — the notion that the arithmetic mean of a population coincided with the inheritable ‘type’ of the race. Török argued that the anthropological enterprise rested on a circular argument: it took for granted what it was designed to demonstrate — the existence of pure races.3

  • 4 Ibid., pp. 109-10.

7Török traced the origin of this fatal flaw back to Anders Retzius and his belief in a number of original, pure races, each of which was characterised by a certain skull shape. Since it was assumed that modern populations were racially mixed, Retzius’ theory implied that the further back in time you searched, the more racial purity you would find. According to Török, however, decades of research on ancient skulls had not confirmed this notion of primordial pure races.4 Török’s criticism was directed towards the basic conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the anthropological study of race, and he was not alone in voicing this reservation. A number of anthropologists argued that racial traits were distributed between and within populations in a gradual and irregular manner that made it impossible to delineate distinct racial types. Adding to this, many even maintained that some of the most measured racial characteristics, like the cephalic index, were determined by environmental impact as well as by inheritance and were therefore unreliable as racial markers. Taken seriously, this criticism would mean that racial anthropology was a largely unfounded science.

  • 5 Lipphardt, Isolates and Crosses, p. 71.

8It was in this context that Mendelism made its breakthrough in the anthropological study of race. Eugen Fischer’s study of the so-called ‘Rehoboth bastards’ in 1908-1913 was often referred to by interwar anthropologists as a trailblazing work bringing together Mendelism and anthropology.5 The population of the Rehoboth village in southwest Africa comprised descendants of European settlers and local Khoikhoi people. Fischer undertook genealogical studies of the inheritance of traits presumed to be race-specific — like eye colour, skin colour and the cephalic index — in racially-mixed families, and he analysed the occurrence and distribution of such traits in the mixed population. The goal was to determine whether these traits were inherited in a Mendelian fashion. The work elaborated upon similar studies that had recently been made by the American eugenicist and geneticist Charles Davenport.

  • 6 Eugen Fischer, Die Rehobother Bastards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen (Jena: G. Fische (...)

9Fisher’s main conclusions were that racial traits are not inherited as a coherent type and that racial mixing does not lead to intermediate types. Instead, the crossing of races leads to the dissolution of race-specific combinations of physical traits. The traits themselves do not disappear, but are sustained as singular traits that are combined in new ways among the ‘bastards’ and inherited in a Mendelian fashion. Fischer claimed, for example, to have detected a 3-to-1 ratio between the occurrence of curly versus straight hair in the second generation after the mixing of the parental races, and argued that this matched a predicted pattern of dominant and recessive inheritance of hair types. He also claimed to have demonstrated genealogically that skull shape, as described by the cephalic index, is inherited in accordance with Mendel’s rules.6 Thus, racial traits that had been ‘discovered’ in the nineteenth century, and mapped using classification criteria based on pre-Mendelian theories of hereditary types, were now reinterpreted and redefined as Mendelian traits.

Physical anthropology as a descriptive science

  • 7 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie in systematischer Darstellung mit besonderer Berücksichti (...)
  • 8 Robert Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde in the German Anthropological Tradition’, in Geo (...)
  • 9 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie, pp. v-vii.
  • 10 Ibid., pp. 1-2.

10In 1914 Rudolf Martin, an anthropologist at the University of Zurich, published the extensive textbook Lehrbuch der Anthropologie,7 which became a standard reference work in the German-speaking academic world, including Sweden and Norway.8 The textbook was written in the aftermath of ‘the conceptual crisis’ of the discipline at the turn of the century, when leading anthropologists had questioned the basic theoretical and methodological foundations of racial typology. According to Martin’s preface, the textbook was meant to represent the ‘young’ discipline as it stood in 1914, without taking into account its internal debates. Lehrbuch der Anthropologie was first and foremost a catalogue of methods for measuring the human body, and as such it strongly advocated a descriptive style of research.9 Martin claimed that the goal of anthropology was to investigate the bodily variations within humankind, and he thought that the study of psychological differences lay outside its domain. He argued that anthropologists should stick to the purely physical concept of ‘race’ and entrust to ethnologists the task of studying the culturally-defined ‘people’ (Völker) and its expressions of individual psychology (die Völkerseele, or national soul).10

11In a systematic presentation of the discipline, Martin defined ‘psychology’ as an anthropological topic. Lehrbuch der Anthropologie touched upon the question of interrelations between psychology, craniometry and brain anatomy, and gave a thorough presentation of the theories concerning the relationship between ‘cultural level’ and skull shape. However, there was no mention of psychological differences between races. The textbook referred to Eugen Fischer’s studies and advocated a Mendelian understanding of heritability and race. ‘Race’ was defined as a group of humans sharing a merkmalkomplex, a complex of bodily traits which were inherited independently of each other according to Mendelian rules. Even though Martin held that these variations were mainly caused by genetics, he allowed for environmental influence and its interactions with the physiological mechanisms of bodily growth.

  • 11 Ibid., Preface and chapter 1.1.

12However, as Martin saw it, these questions were not central to anthropology; the discipline’s main task was to measure and describe the phenotypic variations within mankind. The study of the causes behind these variations was very much a secondary priority. Martin claimed there was too little knowledge about these issues and that bold theorising would be counterproductive: anthropology should not concentrate on theories about cause and effect, but on the gathering of empirical facts (see Figs. 8 and 9).11

Fig. 8 Chart of human body proportions from Martin’s Lehrbuch der Anthropologie. Different races were thought to have different proportions.

Fig. 9 Measurement of upper arm length as demonstrated in Martin’s Lehrbuch der Anthropologie.

  • 12 Ibid., p. 10.

13There was no place for the inheritance of acquired properties in Martin’s textbook. Nevertheless, he maintained an interest in studies of the relationships between social environment and bodily growth, which resembled the Lamarckian standpoint within nineteenth-century anthropology. A group of individuals sharing a merkmalkomplex did not necessarily share racial origin. An alternative explanation for their likeness could be that all the individuals in the group had been affected by the same type of environmental influences and had therefore developed the same bodily characteristics. Systematic differences in living habits, living conditions and environmental impact could therefore result in systematic differences in bodily appearance between socially or politically defined groups of human beings.12

14Scientists with different theoretical and ideological orientations operated within the framework of Martin’s descriptive anthropology. Many of the techniques used by the anthropologists for measuring, observing and quantifying the anatomical shape of the human body had also been used by the anthropologists of the nineteenth century. The extent to which the mapped ‘properties’ were products of inheritance or of environment and lifestyle was still a disputed question. Despite a changed theoretical foundation, there was much continuity between the anthropological debates of the late nineteenth century and those of the early twentieth century.

15Among the German anthropologists of the later days of the Kaiserreich and the early days of the Weimar Republic, there were many who championed the supremacy of the Nordic race and others who strongly opposed it, with both sides aware of the political potential of these ideas. Karl Saller, a respected anthropologist and student of Rudolf Martin, was opposed to völkish nationalism, and in the late 1920s he argued that the concept of a Nordic race was an empirically unfounded theoretical construction. Other anthropologists were members of the Nordischer Ring which aimed to promote a ‘Nordic worldview’ (nordische Weltanschauung). The combination of racial philosophy and Social Darwinism which had entered the discipline in the first decade of the century was a scientifically-accepted, though still disputed, position. During the 1920s, however, these ideas spread and the discipline drew correspondingly closer to the racial hygiene movement.

The idea of racial hygiene

  • 13 The following analysis draws on Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of (...)

16The idea of racial hygiene, or eugenics, was developed in the 1880s and 1890s; two of its leading advocates were the Englishman Francis Galton and the German Alfred Ploetz. In 1905, the world’s first organisation for racial hygiene was established in Germany on the initiative of Ploetz. During the first two or three decades of the twentieth century, the idea of racial hygiene became increasingly popular, and eugenics organisations were established all over the world. In the period from World War I until the late 1920s, much of the international scientific research and debate on human genetics and race was strongly related to the eugenics debate.13

17The eugenics movement was nourished by a general worry about the biological degeneration of the populations of the Western world. There was a widespread belief that the mechanisms of natural evolution had been corrupted by modern, industrialised society, and that ‘inferior’ individuals were therefore reproducing faster than the ‘superior’. The task of racial hygiene was to make sure that valuable genetic material was passed on at the expense of the less valuable. Advocates of racial hygiene usually assumed that the lower social strata, and in particular the ‘asocial’ groups at the bottom of society, were of generally lesser biological quality than the middle class and the elites.

18Racial hygiene, however, was not a scientifically or politically homogeneous movement. Ploetz and Galton, who developed their ideas independently of each other, represented two different strands of eugenic thought. Ploetz was a völkish nationalist, and the idea of the Nordic race played a crucial role in the type of racial hygiene that he advocated. But Galton’s style of eugenics was closely connected to the British movement for social reform and social hygiene. Adherents of this version of eugenics were less concerned with ‘race’ in the physical-anthropological sense of the word and were more interested in questions about the inheritance of positive and negative individual traits. There was no clear and unambiguous boundary between these two strains of eugenic thought, and they should not be confused with the terminological distinction between ‘racial hygiene’ and ‘eugenics’. Racial hygiene was the common term in Germany and Scandinavia, while eugenics was used in the Anglophone world. However, both the explicitly racist and the more social-reformist types of racial hygiene/eugenics were current in all these countries and partially overlapped.

19Eugenic ideas were advocated by a wide variety of organisations and movements, often as part of broader programmes of social reform. Feminist organisations were interested in eugenics. When promoting rational family planning, they were able to make use of arguments about positive and negative genetic properties and claim that contraception and sexual education should be made publicly available so that the lower classes, as well as the upper, could reduce their number of offspring. Many socialists were also committed to eugenics, believing that the scientific management of the biological quality of the population was a necessary element in a rationally-ordered socialist economy.

  • 14 Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten, pp. 11-17, 19-20.

20According to the historian Stefan Kühl, there was a general difference in the political strategies of the race-oriented and more social-hygienically oriented eugenicists. The latter were inclined to operate in a national arena and work for a more rational national population policy, often arguing that this would make the country more fit for the competition between nations. Eugenicists who were more concerned with the ‘blond race’ and its struggle to survive in competition with supposedly inferior races often had a more international strategy: they advocated cooperation between eugenicists in nations where the Nordic race was assumed to be in the majority.14

21The first initiatives for organised international cooperation came from a völkish-oriented group of racial hygienists in Munich, and by 1907 they had established an International Society for Racial Hygiene, the objective of which was to promote cooperation between nations with predominantly ‘Nordic’ populations. Attracting members from Scandinavia — the presumed heartland of the Nordic race — was high on the agenda, and the first foreign members included the Norwegian chemist Jon Alfred Mjøen and the famous Danish geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen. In 1909, a recruitment campaign in Sweden led to the enrolment of twenty new members and the establishment of the Swedish Racial Hygienic Society (Svenskt sällskapet för rashygien). Ten years later, when Sweden founded a State Institute for Racial Biology (Statens institut för asbiologi) in the university town of Uppsala, it became an important centre for a strand of racial hygiene that was strongly committed to preserving the Nordic race.

22The race-oriented style of eugenics was strong in the U.S. as well. The anthropological concept of a ‘Nordic race’ coincided to a great degree with the politically, socially and economically dominant ethnic group in American society — white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Increasing immigration from southern and eastern Europe, a growing number of African-Americans and their own declining fertility rates, led to WASP fear of being outnumbered by ‘non-Nordic’ racial elements. The geneticist Charles Davenport attained a leading position in American eugenics and managed to raise money for a comprehensive research programme. By gathering extensive genealogical and medical data, Davenport’s research project aimed to uncover the genetic causes behind psychological disorders and other supposedly heritable pathologies. He also led research on the effect of racial mixing and differences on intelligence.

  • 15 Torben Hviid Nielsen et al., Livets tre og kodenes kode. Fra genetikk til bioteknologi i Norge 1900 (...)

23In 1912 there was a huge eugenics conference in London, assembling people from all over the Western world and representing a broad range of political and scientific views. It was a mixed group of feminists, industrial capitalists, religious leaders, statisticians, sociologists, anthropologists, politicians, military officers, biologists, medical doctors and others. The heterogeneity of the participants is exemplified by the two Norwegian attendees, Katti Anker Møller and Jon Alfred Mjøen. Møller was a feminist who advocated sexual education and legalising the marketing of contraceptives. Mjøen was primarily worried about what he saw as the dangers fall in the fertility of the blond, fair-skinned population of northwestern Europe, and he was opposed not only to contraception but also to sexual education and feminism.15

24Support for eugenics grew after the conference. A committee was entrusted with the task of writing a joint policy statement and establishing an international organisation. In the following years, international cooperation between eugenicists would come to be dominated by this organisation, which from 1925 was called the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations (IFEO). The conferences arranged by the IFEO were, until the late 1920s, the most important international meeting-place for scientists doing human genetic research. Public interest in racial hygiene was fuelled by World War I. The physically fittest young men were sent to the front where they were systematically killed in the worst bloodshed the world had ever witnessed. The first ‘industrialised’ war was seen as an extreme example of the counter-evolutionary forces that threatened modern society and caused many influential people to worry about the biological quality of European populations.

Scandinavian champions of racial hygiene

  • 16 Herman Lundborg, Medizinisch-biologische Familienforschungen innerhalb eines 2232köpfigen Bauernges (...)
  • 17 Gunnar Broberg, ‘Eugenics in Sweden: Efficient Care’, in his and Nils Roll-Hansen (eds.), Eugenics (...)

25It was during the years around World War I that Herman Lundborg established himself as the leading figure in the Swedish racial hygiene movement. Lundborg was a noted scientist both in Sweden and internationally. His academic prestige was mainly based on his mammoth work Medical-biological family studies within a 2232-person strong peasant family in Sweden.16 In this work, which mirrored studies undertaken by Davenport in the U. S., Lundborg argued that a series of apparently different diseases occurring within this big family were, in reality, various manifestations of an inherited type of epilepsy.17

  • 18 Gunnar Broberg, ‘Statens institut för rasbiologi ‒ tilkomståren’, in Gunnar Broberg, Gunnar Eriksso (...)

26Like Davenport and Ploetz, Lundborg was worried about the future of the Nordic race, and he did not limit himself to the scientific study of the question. Along with a network of likeminded adherents of eugenics, he worked hard to preach the gospel of the Nordic race. In 1918 he set up an exhibition of ‘folk types’ (folktypsutställning) that toured Sweden with models of ‘Swedish racial types’, and he also helped organise a beauty contest to find the ideal ‘Swedish-Germanic racial type’. After its establishment in 1922, the State Institute for Racial Biology became, under Lundborg’s leadership, a key institution for physical anthropology and human genetics in Sweden.18

  • 19 On Mjøen and the First International Eugenics Congress, see also Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassi (...)

27Jon Alfred Mjøen was the foremost spokesman for racial hygiene in Norway. He considered himself a member of the ‘first small circle of believers’ and had been a personal friend of Alfred Ploetz since the late 1880s. Like Lundborg, Mjøen had an influential network of contacts within the eugenics movement and became internationally renowned as one of the movement’s pioneers. At a meeting in 1908 of the Association of Norwegian Medical Students (Medicinerforeningen) he put forward the first version of what was later to be known as the Norwegian Programme of Racial Hygiene (Det norske program for rasehygiene). This was the model for the international statement on eugenics written after the First International Eugenics Congress in 1912.19

  • 20 Alfred Mjøen, Racehygiene (Oslo: Dybwad, 1914), p. 238: ‘[…] en kamp for vor egen races — germanern (...)
  • 21 Mjøen cited in Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 46-47.
  • 22 Mjøen, Racehygiene (1914).

28Mjøen held that the goal of racial hygiene was to fight for the survival of ‘our own race’— the Germanics.20 In his view, the future of the Norwegian nation and indeed of Western civilisation was at stake. The Norwegians had a responsibility towards their own nation and the world to protect their racial purity and quality, a national resource comparable to ‘our waterfalls, our woods and our wonderful nature’.21 According to Mjøen, modern civilisation had disrupted the natural struggle for existence among human beings. New medical therapies, bacteriology and better individual hygiene had ruined the quality of the race by helping weak individuals to survive. The same was true of social insurance and the establishment of institutions to take care of mentally retarded, insane, deaf or epileptic children. Even modern warfare counteracted natural selection, with the strongest men killed at the front while the weak were allowed to stay at home and procreate. Mjøen, who had a German doctoral degree in organic chemistry, also held that various chemical substances, like alcohol and industrial emissions, were leading to genetic deterioration. Moreover, he feared that the ongoing mass migration from Norway to America was draining the country of its most superior racial elements, while immigration to Norway from countries to the south and east was allowing inferior elements into the country.22

  • 23 Mjøen, Racehygiene (1914), pp. 140, 190f.

29To combat these evils, Mjøen prescribed positive racial hygienic measures that could promote the reproduction of superior individuals: eugenic education, decentralisation of the population in order to avoid the degenerating effects of city life and the reorganisation of taxation and social insurance schemes. He prescribed ‘prophylactic’ measures like health declarations before marriage, the combating of chemical poisons and the establishment of a progressive system for taxing alcoholic drinks. Finally, he outlined ‘negative’ eugenic measures to counteract the procreation of inferior individuals. Declaring that ‘we must learn to distinguish between the right to live and the right to give life’, he advocated forced segregation and in some cases even sterilisation of the mentally retarded, of epileptics and of individuals he believed to have inborn criminal tendencies.23

  • 24 Christopher Hals Gylseth, ‘Jon Alfred Mjøen’, in Norsk biografisk leksikon, http://nbl.snl.no/Jon_A (...)
  • 25 Helge Pedersen, ‘Gud har skapat svarta och vita människor, jäfvulen derimot halfnegeren’. En kompar (...)

30In 1906, Mjøen established the private Vinderen Biological Laboratory, which became the institutional base for eugenic propaganda and research. The Laboratory did not receive any public funding, and it provided Mjøen with no substantial revenue. However, in 1907 Mjøen became government inspector of the production of liquor and beer in the Kristiania region, and by 1916 he owned a pharmacy that provided him with the financial freedom to pursue his main interest.24 Mjøen belonged to the cultural and political elite, and his ideas garnered support from politicians in different political camps. Mjøen himself was politically active in the Venstre Party, and several times he gave talks at the national party congress. In 1914 he spoke about ‘turning the treatment of racial and national diseases into a public task’. The speech was well received, and the Minister of Justice Lars Abrahamsen declared his support for Mjøen’s ideas.25

The attack on Mjøen and the rise of genetics in Norway

  • 26 Nils Roll-Hansen, ‘Norwegian Eugenics: Sterilization as Social Reform’, in Gunnar Broberg and Nils (...)

31It is clear that Mjøen had an impact on the social-political debate in Norway, and he may have had good reason to believe, in the years before World War I, that a Norwegian eugenics movement under his leadership was about to become an influential force in the Norwegian political and academic landscape. In 1914, however, his campaign suffered a severe setback. Mjøen published the book Racial Hygiene, in which he substantiated his racial hygienic programme, and was met with devastating criticism from a group of university-based scientists. This led to a lasting conflict that thwarted the establishment of a unified eugenics movement in Norway and hindered the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations from establishing a proper foothold in the Norwegian scientific community.26

  • 27 Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 42-43.

32Mjøen’s opponents claimed that his extensive proposals for political action were based on weak scientific foundations. His main critics were Ole Malm, Kristine Bonnevie, Otto Lous Mohr and Kristian Emil Schreiner. They strongly questioned his competence in biology and tried to brand him as a pseudo-scientific dilettante. Ole Malm was the national director and main architect of the Norwegian Veterinary Administration. He was a well-known social conservative who vigorously opposed feminism, abortion, sterilisation, contraception and everything else that could threaten traditional family values and lead to declining birth rates. He not only dismissed Mjøen’s scientific credibility, he dismissed the very idea of eugenics, which he saw as an example of dangerous social radicalism.27

  • 28 Inger Nordal, Dag O. Hessen and Thore Lie, Kristine Bonnevie: Et forskerliv (Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2 (...)

33Malm had academic degrees in both medicine and veterinary science. In his younger years, he had worked at the Louis Pasteur Institute in Paris and had published scientific works on bacteriology, hygiene and vaccination; but he was no expert in genetics or racial anthropology. The other three critics, however, constituted the foremost experts on chromosomes, genetics and race at the University of Kristiania, and as such they were in an excellent position to delegitimise Mjøen. Kristine Bonnevie was a professor of zoology and head of the zoological laboratory, and Kristian Emil Schreiner was Guldberg’s successor as head of the anatomy department. Both Schreiner and Bonnevie had worked with internationally-leading cytologists, embryologists and geneticists like Arnold Lang in Zürich, Theodor Boveri in Würzburg and Edmund B. Wilson at Columbia University in New York. Both had won international repute for their cytological research, which was directly relevant to the breakthrough of modern genetics and to the understanding of the relationship between genes and chromosomes (see chapter 7). Even the young medical researcher Otto Louis Mohr had international experience in laboratory research on cells and chromosomes, and was, in 1914, at the beginning of a successful career as a geneticist.28

  • 29 Roll-Hansen, ‘Norwegian Eugenics’, pp. 158-167; Monsen, Politisk biologi, p. 59.

34In contrast to Ole Malm, Bonnevie, Schreiner and Mohr were not opposed to the general idea of racial hygiene. Instead, they criticised the scientific quality of Mjøen’s book, and their attack on his scientific credibility was intertwined with struggles concerning research funding and professional legitimacy. Racial hygiene was on the public agenda and served as an argument for raising funds for genetic research. Mjøen’s success in establishing himself as a leading proponent of racial hygiene in Norway and abroad made him a rival to the biological and medical scientists at the University in their pursuit of public funding and professional prestige.29

  • 30 Monsen, Politisk biologi, p. 61.

35When Mjøen published his book, genetics was not yet established as an institutionalised discipline at the Norwegian university. As a direct result of the debate, however, a new Institute of Genetics was established in 1916, on the initiative of Kristine Bonnevie and a group of medical professors. The new institute was to study human genetics, and the academic initiators, government bureaucrats and parliamentary politicians involved in its establishment all argued that it was urgent to undertake this type of human genetic research because of its social implications. New scientific insight into human genetics was seen as having great potential implications for future social policy and legislation related to ‘antisocial elements in the population’ and ‘psychic abnormities’. Advocates of the new institute also claimed, implicitly alluding to Mjøen, that one of the main tasks of the new institution would be to serve as a guarantee against dilettantism in the fields of eugenics and genetics.30

  • 31 Nordahl, Hessen, Lie, Kristine Bonnevie, pp. 205-18.

36Compared to Lundborg’s State Institute for Racial Biology in Sweden, the Norwegian Institute of Genetics was a very modest institution. It was housed on the premises of the University’s Department of Zoology and had a minimal annual budget, but it allowed Kristine Bonnevie to move from cytology into genetics. She argued that Norway, with its isolated, inbreeding rural populations, was a good place for compiling genealogical pedigrees and for studying the prevalence and inheritance of genetic traits. Her research aimed at solving basic scientific issues, but at the same time it had relevance for eugenics. She studied the inheritance of abnormal traits like mental disabilities, the tendency towards twin births and polydactylism (in which a person is born with extra fingers or toes). In the 1920s Bonnevie also began to study the genetics and ontogenesis of the papillary patterns on the fingertips — a research field closely related to racial science.31

  • 32 Simon A. Cole, ‘Twins, Twain, Galton and Gilman: Fingerprinting, Individualization, Brotherhood, an (...)

37Research on the inheritance of fingerprints was first initiated by Francis Galton — the British founder of eugenics — in the 1890s, and was based on the assumption that fingerprint patterns were genetically determined and could correlate with race, ethnicity, disease propensity, mental abilities and behavioural characteristics. In a series of studies published around the turn of the century, it was argued that fingerprint patterns varied between different races and could be used as a criterion for ranking races on a scale of proximity to our anthropoid ancestors. This kind of research continued into the 1920s and was the starting point for Bonnevie’s investigations.32

  • 33 Kristine Bonnevie, ‘Studies on Papillary Patterns of Human Fingers, Journal of Genetics, Vol. 15, n (...)
  • 34 Kristine Bonnevie, ‘Papillarmuster und Psychische Eigenschaften’, Hereditas, Vol. 9, nos. 1-3 (1927 (...)

38In 1924 Bonnevie published a study of the different frequencies of papillary patterns in various ethnic groups and races. Using a scheme invented by Galton, she divided fingerprints into three types — whorls, loops and arches — and demonstrated that Asians had a higher proportion of whorls, and fewer arches, than Europeans. In the late 1920s Bonnevie published three studies in which she attempted to clarify the relation between genetic and environmental causes in the embryological development of papillary patterns,33 followed in 1927 by a study of Norwegian schoolchildren in which a correlation between fingerprint patterns and intelligence was made. Furthermore, Bonnevie suggested that this was due to a causal relationship between the embryonic development of the papillary pattern and the nervous system. Finally, she argued for the social value of this type of research by claiming that papillary patterns might be developed into a criterion for identifying mentally weak individuals.34

39It is reasonable to assume that anatomy professor Kristian Emil Schreiner, like Bonnevie, regarded Mjøen as a competitor for funding, since anthropological concepts of race played a role in Mjøen’s brand of eugenics. The fact is that anthropological research at the Department of Anatomy, which had been dormant since Guldberg’s death in 1908, was given a boost in the aftermath of the controversy over Mjøen’s book; it is likely that this was partly stimulated by the debate over racial hygiene (see chapter 7). It was also in the aftermath of the Mjøen controversy that the anatomy department turned to genetics. In 1917, Otto Lous Mohr went to New York to work at Professor Thomas Hunt Morgan’s famous laboratory of experimental genetics at Columbia University. He came home with a colony of fruit flies — Morgan’s preferred research object — and established a small laboratory for fruit fly experiments in the anatomy department. During the next decade he became internationally recognised for his genetic research and, like Bonnevie, supervised a number of colleagues and students, helping to establish a Norwegian tradition of genetics research.35

  • 36 Walløe, ‘Otto Lous Mohr’.

40Even if Mohr’s fruit fly research was of little direct relevance to eugenics, he became an important contributor to the debate on eugenics in Norway. By the late 1920s he had become a key member of the Norwegian scientific community and took a leading role in public debates on family planning and population policy. Mohr was married to the daughter of Katti Anker Møller, the aforementioned participant at the First International Eugenics Congress. Like his wife and his mother-in-law, both feminists, he championed birth control, sexual education and other socially radical and socialist ideas, and he was strongly opposed to Mjøen’s brand of racial hygiene. Mohr became one of Mjøen’s most outspoken critics.36

  • 37 Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 59-74; Nordahl, Hessen Lie, Kristine Bonnevie, p. 196.

41The scientific opposition against Mjøen was highlighted in 1919 when the new Norwegian Association of Genetics (Norsk forening for arvelighetsforskning) was established. Mjøen did not obtain membership, and the association was dominated by Otto Lous Mohr and Kristine Bonnevie, as well as by psychiatry professor Ragnar Vogt. Mjøen continued to maintain the private Vindern Biological Laboratory, which became his main institutional bridgehead for racial hygiene research and activism. He also initiated and managed the Norwegian Consultative Committee for Racial Hygiene (Den norske konsultative komiteen for rasehygiene), a national committee connected to the IFEO, and edited the journal The Nordic Race (Den nordiske rase) along with an international board of directors consisting of likeminded eugenicists from Sweden, Great Britain, Germany and the U. S. Mjøen’s leading position in the IFEO made it difficult for the organisation to establish itself in the Norwegian scientific community. During the 1920s, Kristine Bonnevie, Ragnar Vogt and the Norwegian Association of Genetics turned down a number of offers to join the federation.37

  • 38 Jon Alfred Mjøen, Racehygiene (Oslo: Dybwad, 1914).

42Although it seems clear that the Norwegian controversy over racial hygiene was intertwined with struggles over economic and institutional resources, this does not necessarily imply that the criticism put forward by Mjøen’s opponents consisted purely of vicarious arguments aimed at blackening a rival's reputation. On the contrary, it is likely that Bonnevie, Schreiner and Mohr were seriously concerned about what they considered to be Mjøen’s misuse of scientific arguments, and that their attack on him was motivated by a sense of duty to educate the public and contribute to an informed debate on eugenics. It is important to note, however, that it was neither his racism — his ranking of superior and inferior races — nor his worship of the Nordic race that made them brand him a pseudoscientist. The book that Mjøen launched in 1914, Race Hygiene, was not primarily about the supremacy of the Nordic race; in fact, it was mainly about how to protect the biological quality of the national population. This included measures to prevent racial mixing with foreign and inferior races, but this topic was treated at little length compared to public health issues, temperance policy and questions about the inheritance of singular pathological traits within the national population. It was only in a later edition of the book that racial purity and the propagation of the Nordic race became the key issues.38

  • 39 Ragnar Vogt, Arvelighetslære og racehygiene (Kristiania: Cammermeyer, 1913), pp. 105, 120-23.

43Furthermore, while attacking Mjøen’s book, Bonnevie, Schreiner and Mohr referred in positive terms to another book on eugenics published in the same year, namely Heredity and Racial Hygiene (Arvelighetslære og racehygiene) by Ragnar Vogt, who agreed with Mjøen in placing the long-skulled and blond northern European race at the top of a racial hierarchy and in affirming that a main goal of racial hygiene was to strengthen this race. Vogt believed that the progress of human civilisation went hand in hand with the worldwide expansion of the Germanic peoples. Like Mjøen, he upheld racial purity as an ideal, believed miscegenation to be detrimental and welcomed the dying-out of inferior races. He claimed that a racially-pure nation would share common ideals and mentalities and have a strong sense of community and loyalty. These views were inspired by, among others, the German writer Ludwig Wilser, the author of The Origin of the Germanic (Die herkunft der Germanen). He was also a key ideologue in the völkisch movement, a main architect behind the Aryan-Germanic theory and a friend of Otto Ammon.39

44With respect to their view on the Nordic race, there was no deep, principled difference between Vogt and Mjøen. Yet Mjøen was branded a pseudo-scientist, while Vogt was considered a respected member of the scientific establishment. This indicates that the attack on Mjøen’s scientific credibility in 1914 was a controversy over neither the scientific credibility of the idea of a superior Nordic race, nor the notion of racial superiority and inferiority. This would change during the subsequent years, however. From the late 1920s, the debate on race became progressively polarised, and the notion of a superior Nordic race became increasingly contested both in Norway and within the international eugenics movement.

A polarising debate over racial hygiene

  • 40 Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten, pp. 71-94.

45From the late 1920s onwards, the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations (IFEO) was more and more dominated by a distinctly racist brand of eugenics. The federation initiated research on topics like the psychological differences between races and the effects of racial mixing. A clique of dogmatic racists tried to turn the organisation into a ‘Blond International’ aimed at protecting the Nordic race against ‘bastardisation’. They also worked to exclude socialists, feminists, Lamarckians and people of non-European origin from the federation. This group consisted mainly of people from the U. S. and Germany, as well as the Scandinavians Jon Alfred Mjøen and Herman Lundborg.40

  • 41 Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics, pp. 123-27; Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Chang (...)
  • 42 Gunnar Broberg, Statlig rasforskning: en historik över Rasbiologiska Institutet (Lund: Avdelningen (...)

46In contrast to the IFEO’s turn towards a racist strand of eugenic thinking, the debates over eugenics that were ongoing at a national level in many countries became increasingly influenced by a more social hygienic style of eugenics in which the idea of a racial hierarchy was fairly irrelevant. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, leading British and American biologists, anthropologists and psychologists launched an attack on scientifically legitimated racism. Biologists like Julian Huxley and L. C. Dunn claimed that the concept of race had become scientifically irrelevant because of the new insights from population genetics. They did not reject the soundness of the basic idea of eugenics, but advocated a liberal or socialist vision untainted by racial and social prejudice.41 This type of criticism also had an impact in Scandinavia. The internationally renowned geneticist Gunnar Dahlberg advocated anti-racist ideas and had already begun criticising Lundborg in the early 1930s. In 1936 he succeeded Lundborg as director of the Swedish State Institute for Racial Biology, a contested decision strongly influenced by Dahlberg’s political connections within the powerful Social Democratic Party.42

  • 43 For a detailed account of the background of the sterilisation act and the sterilisations authorised (...)
  • 44 Nielsen, Monsen and Tennøe, Livets tre og kodenes kode, pp. 105f.

47In Norway a growing opposition to racist eugenics also began to emerge in the late 1920s, and there much of the impetus came from academics of socialist leaning. In 1934 the Norwegian Parliament passed a law on sterilisation,43 legalising its use as a contraceptive method for individuals with an ‘honourable reason’. The law also authorized and regulated the forced sterilisation of mentally ‘retarded’ (åndssvake) and mentally ‘sick’ persons (sinnsyke) who were assumed to lack a basic understanding of their own situation. A decade-long debate over sterilisation as a racial hygienic measure and over castration as a way to ‘treat’ sexual offenders had preceded the enactment of the law. In the leading social-democratic newspaper Arbeiderbladet, the politically engaged physician and socialist Johan Scharffenberg ran an extensive campaign in favour of the sterilisation act. His arguments for the law were coupled with a rejection of the type of racist racial hygiene that the Nazis embraced. This helped make racial hygiene more acceptable to members of the labour movement, which from the mid-1930s was the dominant political force in Norway.44

  • 45 Haave, Sterilisering av tatere, pp. 34-37. Between the late 1930s and the late 1940s, Romani were o (...)

48Scharffenberg, however, was not a consistent anti-racist, despite his unequivocal stand against the racial ideology of the Nazis. He advocated the use of sterilisation as a racial hygienic measure against the propagation of Roma travellers. This ethnic group, who had travelled the Scandinavian country roads for centuries, were called tatere or, more commonly, omstreifere (vagrants) by the majority Norwegian population. In public debates in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their culture and lifestyle was mainly seen as a social problem that should be dealt with by the state. From the late nineteenth century onwards, the Norwegian government pursued a policy aimed at eradicating their traditional way of life and turning them into permanently settled, ‘productive’ members of an ordered society. Scharffenberg, however, claimed that this policy was doomed to fail because the Taters were of partly ‘Gypsy’ origin: the urge to wander was an inborn, inherited racial trait. Since the Taters and the Gypsies were dysfunctional remnants of a nomadic stage in human evolution and all efforts to settle them had failed, sterilisation was the best solution to the ‘problem’.45

  • 46 ‘Det norske forslag til sterilisasjonslov’, in Karl Evang, Rasepolitikk og Reaksjon, Socialistiske (...)
  • 47 Karl Evang, Rasepolitikk og reaksjon, Socialistiske lægers forenings småskrifter no. 2 (Oslo: Fram, (...)

49In contrast to Scharffenberg, the radical socialist and eugenicist Karl Evang was consistently anti-racist. Evang was a prolific writer and participant in the debate on social health policy and sexual education who, in 1938, became the Director of the National Health Services. In 1934 Evang wrote an introduction to the proposal for a Norwegian sterilisation law, published by the Association of Socialist Physicians, in which he harshly attacked racial determinism and what he saw as a reactionary strand of eugenics.46 According to Evang it was uncontroversial that individuals with serious genetic conditions should be prevented from proliferating. However, he deemed racial hygiene to be in conflict with the basic principles of capitalist society and therefore only fully implementable in a rationally ordered socialist society.47

50Evang believed that racial hygiene theory was misused by reactionary political forces, a fact that held true for the most extreme faction within the racial hygiene movement. The notion of human races having different degrees of moral worth had helped to legitimise the colonial suppression of non-European peoples and to depict capitalism and class society as nature-given. Evang portrayed the racist policy of the Nazis as the ultimate consequence of this bourgeois racial ideology, and he dedicated an entire chapter of Rasepolitikk og reaksjon to an extensive critique of the Nordic idea (den nordiske tanke).

Racial hygiene as applied anthropology

  • 48 Elazar Barkan, ‘Mobilizing Scientists against Nazi Racism 1933-1939’ and Proctor, ‘From Anthropolog (...)

51Evang was not alone in putting forward such ideas in the mid-1930s. The Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 led to an increased polarisation of the international scientific debate on race. The racial ideology of the Nazis provoked anti-racist campaigns among scientists in countries such as France, the U. S. and England. These campaigns were then opposed by a host of German anthropologists, racial hygienists and human geneticists, turning international scientific arenas into battlegrounds over interwoven scientific and political racial issues. While racial determinism and the idea of the Nordic master race were beginning to lose ground in Scandinavia and the English-speaking world, they gained momentum in Germany. Soon after the Nazi takeover, ‘anthropology’ was redefined as Rassenkunde (racial science). Rassenkunde became a crucial provider of scientific legitimacy and tools for the implementation of racial policy, and many anthropologists assumed important positions in the new regime’s machinery of power.48

  • 49 Ibid. A number of historical studies in recent years have charted the trajectory of German anthropo (...)

52The shift from anthropology to Rassenkunde during the Nazi period, however, was not simply the result of the forced or voluntary adjustment of German scientists to a new political situation. It was also the culmination of a trend in German anthropology whose momentum had steadily increased since World War I. Already in the 1920s, according to Robert Proctor, the discipline was becoming dominated by a ‘therapeutic logic’ aimed at protecting the Germanic race against internal and external enemies.49

  • 50 Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde’, p. 139; Sheila Faith Weiss, ‘The Race Hygiene Movemen (...)

53As already pointed out, and according to Rudolf Martin’s influential Lehrbuch der Anthropologie, ‘race’ was by definition nothing more than a descriptive device aimed at classifying bodily differences; it had no relevance for psychological or cultural properties. During the 1920s, however, Martin’s view of anthropology was challenged by a growing number of German anthropologists. One of Martin’s foremost opponents was the leading eugenicist Fritz Lenz. In 1921, with Eugen Fischer and Erwin Baur, he published a textbook on Human Heredity and Eugenics (Grundriss der Menschlichen Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene) which strongly influenced the German debate on racial hygiene. Fritz Lenz believed in psychological differences between races, and advocated a Nordicist brand of racial hygiene; he wanted to associate anthropology closely with the racial hygiene movement and turn the discipline into the study of human genetic variation.50

  • 51 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie (Jena: Fischer, 1928), Introduction; Proctor, ‘From Anthr (...)

54Lenz’s reasoning was at odds with two crucial aspects of Martin’s anthropology. It redefined the objective of anthropological research from describing bodily variations within mankind to studying genetic variations. The established division of labour between anthropology and cultural research was consequently challenged, because genetics was increasingly seen as the key to understanding both bodily and cultural variation.51

  • 52 Ibid.; Evans, Anthropology at War, pp. 189-221.

55During the 1920s, Fritz Lenz gained growing support for his definition of anthropology. A new generation entered the discipline, bringing in new ideas. Anthropology was drawing closer to racial hygiene, and after the death of Rudolf Martin in 1925, the idea of physical anthropology as a purely descriptive science began to wane. In the late 1920s, a new set of research problems were incorporated into the scope of anthropology: human genetics, constitutional medicine, blood group research, genetic psychology and genetic pathology. Questions about the mental abilities of races, which in Martin’s textbook were an untreated topic, became a core field of inquiry. A new style of anthropology arose, one that combined the established anthropological study of bodily variation with a new interest in the psychological differences between races.52

  • 53 Eugen Fischer, ‘Der untergang der Kulturvölker im Lichte der Biologie’, Volkausartung, Erbkunde, Eh (...)

56After Martin’s death, Eugen Fischer attained a key position in the German anthropological community. He became Professor of Anthropology at Berlin University, as well as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics and Eugenics (founded in 1927). In a speech in 1928, he claimed that the great progress of genetics during the preceding two decades had led to a major transformation of anthropology. From descriptive mapping the distribution of bodily characteristics, anthropologists were now moving into a new scientific era, one in which they would examine how these bodily characteristics were formed and transformed.53

  • 54 Ibid.
  • 55 Ibid.

57According to Fischer, this genetically-informed anthropology was of great societal value. He saw the deterioration of the population’s biological quality as one of the greatest challenges for Western civilisation. Different genetic lineages had differing cultural abilities, he claimed, but the low fertility, disrupted social structures and racial mixing typical of modern industrial societies were helping to destroy the culturally creative biological elements.54 Fischer hailed eugenics as the cure against this evil. It had the same function in the life of a people as medical expertise had in the life of individual human beings. The task of eugenics was to consider what was good and what was bad for the social organism, and to implement proper treatment. The cure should be based on scientific knowledge of the biological quality of human beings, and it was anthropologists first and foremost who possessed this necessary knowledge. Eugenic assessment should therefore be based on anthropological knowledge. Eugenics was applied anthropology.55

  • 56 Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde’, p. 157.

58Six months after the Nazi takeover, Fischer became rector of Berlin University. In a speech given just before the inauguration, he praised the Nazis for being the first ones to take racial hygiene seriously. Soon after, he published the pro-Nazi essay Der völkische Staat biologisch gesehen. In 1934, at a Festschrift in honour of his 60th birthday, he was praised by colleagues as the ‘Führer’ of German anthropology. It was asserted that Hitler’s regime was the first in the world to make race, genetics and selection part of practical politics, and that these tools had been put into the hands of the politicians by Fischer.56

The Nordic race and anthropology as applied science

59To sum up, the ‘Nordic race’ existed as a relatively unproblematic scientific concept within both racial hygiene and physical anthropology until the mid-1920s. In those nations assumed to have an overwhelmingly ‘Nordic’ population, there were influential scientists who claimed that the future of Western culture depended on the protection of this race against racial mixing. In the late 1920 and 1930s, however, this type of racial thought was subjected to a growing wave of scientific and ideological criticism, and an increasingly polarised debate on racial issues arose. By the end of the 1920s, the leading international eugenics organisation (the IFEO) was increasingly dominated by proponents of the racist strand of the racial hygiene movement. An influential group of men tried to turn the organisation into a ‘Blond International’ aimed at the purification and propagation of the Nordic race. Jon Alfred Mjøen and Herman Lundborg were part of this group, but by the early 1930s they were increasingly out of step with the development of debates on racial hygiene in their own countries.

60The Nordic idea, and the racist style of eugenics, faced an increasingly united and well-articulated scientific opposition in Scandinavia and the Anglophone world. At the same time, however, these ideas gained support among German anthropologists, who redefined the discipline from being fundamentally descriptive to being closely linked with racial hygiene and the study of the presumed psychological properties of the races. After 1933, this type of anthropology became increasingly hegemonic in Germany.

61Norway had three professional physical anthropologists in the interwar years: Kristian Emil Schreiner, his wife Alette Schreiner and the military doctor Halfdan Bryn, who from 1917 onwards continued the research tradition established by Carl Oscar Eugen Arbo. Bryn and the two Scheiners undertook extensive anthropological studies of past and present Norwegian populations. They also participated in debates on eugenics and race within the Norwegian scientific community, the Norwegian public arena and among physical anthropologists in Scandinavia, the Germanspeaking world and beyond

62This meant that they had to deal with an academic and political landscape that underwent significant transformations and became increasingly polarised. Racial views that had been uncontroversial in 1914 became extremely controversial in the early 1930s. As we will see in the following chapters, this had a significant impact on the life and work of the Norwegian anthropologists.

Notes

1 For an account of the relation between genetics and anthropological racial science in Germany in the early twentieth century, see Veronika Lipphardt, ‘Isolates and Crosses in Human Population Genetics, or: A Contextualization of German Race Science’, Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, no. S5 (2012), pp. 69-82.

2 Benoit Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer: Physical Anthropology and “Modern Race Theories” in Wilhelmine Germany’, in George W. Stocking, Jr. (ed.), Volksgeist as Method and Ethic (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1996), pp. 106-14.

3 Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer’, p. 109.

4 Ibid., pp. 109-10.

5 Lipphardt, Isolates and Crosses, p. 71.

6 Eugen Fischer, Die Rehobother Bastards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen (Jena: G. Fischer, 1913), pp. 142-43, 156.

7 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie in systematischer Darstellung mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der anthropologischen Methoden (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1914).

8 Robert Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde in the German Anthropological Tradition’, in George W. Stocking, Jr. (ed.), Bones, Bodies, Behavior (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988); Benoit Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer: Physical Anthropology and “Modern Race Theories” in Wilhelmine Germany’, in George W. Stocking, Jr. (ed.), Volksgeist as Method and Ethic (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1996), pp. 79-154 (pp. 140-42); Andrew D. Evans, ‘Race Made Visible: The Transformation of Museum Exhibits in Early-Twentieth-Century German Anthropology’, German Studies Review, Vol. 31, no. 1 (February 2008), p. 91. Matin's textbook was published in several editions starting from 1914. The fourth version was rewritten by Rainer Knussman and published in 1988. Swedish and Norwegian researchers used Martin’s textbook as their main frame of reference when they undertook racial studies in the 1920s. (See chapter 8).

9 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie, pp. v-vii.

10 Ibid., pp. 1-2.

11 Ibid., Preface and chapter 1.1.

12 Ibid., p. 10.

13 The following analysis draws on Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986); Stefan Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 1997); Sheila Faith Weiss, ‘The Race Hygiene Movement in Germany’, Osiris, 2nd series, Vol. 3 (1987), pp. 193-236; Paul Weindling, ‘Weimar Eugenics: The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Social Context’, Annals of Science, Vol. 42, no. 3 (1985), pp. 303-18.

14 Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten, pp. 11-17, 19-20.

15 Torben Hviid Nielsen et al., Livets tre og kodenes kode. Fra genetikk til bioteknologi i Norge 1900-2000 (Oslo: Gyldendal akademisk, 2000), p. 66.

16 Herman Lundborg, Medizinisch-biologische Familienforschungen innerhalb eines 2232köpfigen Bauerngeschlechtes in Schweden (Provinz Blekinge) (Jena: G. Fischer 1913).

17 Gunnar Broberg, ‘Eugenics in Sweden: Efficient Care’, in his and Nils Roll-Hansen (eds.), Eugenics and the Welfare State, Sterilisation Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1996), pp. 84f.

18 Gunnar Broberg, ‘Statens institut för rasbiologi ‒ tilkomståren’, in Gunnar Broberg, Gunnar Eriksson and Karin Johannisson (eds.), Kunskapens trädgårdar: om institutioner och institutionaliseringar i vetenskapen och livet (Stockholm: Atlantis, 1988); idem, ‘Eugenics in Sweden’, pp. 85-91.

19 On Mjøen and the First International Eugenics Congress, see also Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten, p. 35. On the historiography of Norwegian eugenics, see Introduction.

20 Alfred Mjøen, Racehygiene (Oslo: Dybwad, 1914), p. 238: ‘[…] en kamp for vor egen races — germanernes — bestaaen'.

21 Mjøen cited in Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 46-47.

22 Mjøen, Racehygiene (1914).

23 Mjøen, Racehygiene (1914), pp. 140, 190f.

24 Christopher Hals Gylseth, ‘Jon Alfred Mjøen’, in Norsk biografisk leksikon, http://nbl.snl.no/Jon_Alfred_Mjøen

25 Helge Pedersen, ‘Gud har skapat svarta och vita människor, jäfvulen derimot halfnegeren’. En komparativ analyse av Jon Alfred Mjøen og Herman Lundborgs rasehygieniske ideer i Norge og Sverige. Ca. 1900-1935 (Master thesis, University of Oslo, 2003), pp. 121f.

26 Nils Roll-Hansen, ‘Norwegian Eugenics: Sterilization as Social Reform’, in Gunnar Broberg and Nils Roll Hansen (eds.), Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995), pp. 151-94 (pp. 158-61); Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 40, 45.

27 Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 42-43.

28 Inger Nordal, Dag O. Hessen and Thore Lie, Kristine Bonnevie: Et forskerliv (Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2012), pp. 97-222.

29 Roll-Hansen, ‘Norwegian Eugenics’, pp. 158-167; Monsen, Politisk biologi, p. 59.

30 Monsen, Politisk biologi, p. 61.

31 Nordahl, Hessen, Lie, Kristine Bonnevie, pp. 205-18.

32 Simon A. Cole, ‘Twins, Twain, Galton and Gilman: Fingerprinting, Individualization, Brotherhood, and Race in Pudd’nhead Wilson’, Configurations, Vol. 15, no. 3 (2007), pp. 227-65.

33 Kristine Bonnevie, ‘Studies on Papillary Patterns of Human Fingers, Journal of Genetics, Vol. 15, no. 1 (1924), pp. 1-111; idem, ‘Was lehrt die Embryologie der Papillarmuster über ihre Bedeutung als Rassen-und Familiencharakter?’, Molecular and General Genetics, Vol. 50, no. 1 (1929), pp. 219-48; idem, ‘Zur Mechanik der Papillarmusterbildung 1 & 2’, Development, Genes and Evolution, Vol. 117, no. 1 (1929), pp. 384-420 and Vol. 126, no. 2 (1932), pp. 348-72.

34 Kristine Bonnevie, ‘Papillarmuster und Psychische Eigenschaften’, Hereditas, Vol. 9, nos. 1-3 (1927).

35 Lars Walløe, ‘Otto Lous Mohr’, in Norsk biografisk leksikon, http://nbl.snl.no/Otto_Lous_Mohr

36 Walløe, ‘Otto Lous Mohr’.

37 Monsen, Politisk biologi, pp. 59-74; Nordahl, Hessen Lie, Kristine Bonnevie, p. 196.

38 Jon Alfred Mjøen, Racehygiene (Oslo: Dybwad, 1914).

39 Ragnar Vogt, Arvelighetslære og racehygiene (Kristiania: Cammermeyer, 1913), pp. 105, 120-23.

40 Kühl, Die Internationale der Rassisten, pp. 71-94.

41 Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics, pp. 123-27; Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in the United States between the World Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

42 Gunnar Broberg, Statlig rasforskning: en historik över Rasbiologiska Institutet (Lund: Avdelningen för Idé-och lärdomshistoria vid Lunds Universitet, 1995), pp. 60-87 (p. 70).

43 For a detailed account of the background of the sterilisation act and the sterilisations authorised under the act, see Per Haave, Sterilisering av tatere 1934-1977. En Historisk undersøkelse av lov og praksis (Oslo: The Norwegian Research Council, 2000).

44 Nielsen, Monsen and Tennøe, Livets tre og kodenes kode, pp. 105f.

45 Haave, Sterilisering av tatere, pp. 34-37. Between the late 1930s and the late 1940s, Romani were overrepresented among the women who became sterilised under the 1934 Act. According to Haave, the Romani population was not specifically targeted for sterilisation by the national health authorities; rather, the imbalance in the number of sterilisations was due to widespread negative views of Roma lifestyle and culture (Haave, pp. 169, 391).

46 ‘Det norske forslag til sterilisasjonslov’, in Karl Evang, Rasepolitikk og Reaksjon, Socialistiske lægers forenings småskrifter no. 2 (Oslo: Fram, 1934).

47 Karl Evang, Rasepolitikk og reaksjon, Socialistiske lægers forenings småskrifter no. 2 (Oslo: Fram, 1934), p. 8. For a more detailed account, see Haave, Sterilisering av tatere, pp. 41-44.

48 Elazar Barkan, ‘Mobilizing Scientists against Nazi Racism 1933-1939’ and Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde', pp. 180-205 and pp. 138-79.

49 Ibid. A number of historical studies in recent years have charted the trajectory of German anthropology from a discipline dominated by ‘racial liberalism’ in the nineteenth century to one strongly affected by biological determinism and völkisch racism. Benoit Massin, ‘From Virchow to Fischer: Physical Anthropology and “Modern Race Theories” in Wilhelmine Germany’, in George W. Stocking, Jr. (ed.), Volksgeist as Method and Ethic (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1996), pp. 106-14; Andrew D. Evans, Anthropology at War: World War I and the Science of Race in Germany (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010).

50 Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde’, p. 139; Sheila Faith Weiss, ‘The Race Hygiene Movement in Germany’, Osiris, 2nd series, Vol. 3 (1987), pp. 214ff.

51 Rudolf Martin, Lehrbuch der Anthropologie (Jena: Fischer, 1928), Introduction; Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde’, pp. 142ff.

52 Ibid.; Evans, Anthropology at War, pp. 189-221.

53 Eugen Fischer, ‘Der untergang der Kulturvölker im Lichte der Biologie’, Volkausartung, Erbkunde, Eheberatung (December 1928).

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 Proctor, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde’, p. 157.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 8 Chart of human body proportions from Martin’s Lehrbuch der Anthropologie. Different races were thought to have different proportions.
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Légende Fig. 9 Measurement of upper arm length as demonstrated in Martin’s Lehrbuch der Anthropologie.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2383/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 10k

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