Psychiatry and Nazi Germany
The American Journal of Psychiatry, the journal of the American Psychiatric Association in 1942 published an editorial endorsing euthanasia and illuminating psychiatry's central position in making euthanasia acceptable to the parents of euthanasia candidates and to general society. The APA had a debate in which two opinions, one for euthanasia, and one against euthaniasia were published. Then this editorial was published, endorsing euthanasia. The endorsing editorial concluded:
"...Dr. Kanner opposes [euthanasia] but in his paper presents no arguments beyond the statement: "An idiot child may have fond parents who want him alive." That is precisely the psychiatric problem this overlengthy discussion has been trying to get at, namely, the "fondness" of the parents of an idiot and their "want" that he should be kept alive. It is this parental state of mind that we believe deserves study--the extent to which it exists, in fact and not merely as a generalization of opinion what underlying factors such as those set forth above are discoverable, whether it can be assessed as healthy or morbid, and whether in the latter case it is modifiable by exposure to mental hygiene principles....If euthanasia is to become at some distant day an available procedure, enabling legislation will be required. The story of sterilization will doubtless be repeated on an extended scale. But legislation may be expected to follow only upon the spread and strength of public opinion, and the nucleus of that opinion should be the attitude of those most nearly concerned--the parents of the candidates for the contemplated procedure. It is in the evaluation and melioration of this parental attitude that the interest of the psychiatrist in the whole question must center."
"Never again! The real history of psychiatry" March 20, 2013 by Peter R. Breggin, MD
...the information I am about to convey is still known to only a tiny fraction of our Americans. More than anything else in history, it teaches us to beware increasing psychiatric power.
Without any involvement from Hitler, in the late 1930s German psychiatry implemented the mass extermination of its psychiatric population, calling it merciful "euthanasia" but really rid the German nation of "useless eaters." At the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi War Criminals held after WWII, several of the highest ranking observers declared that the Holocaust might never have taken place without German psychiatry first demonstrating that mass murder could be carried out in a systematic fashion. The four highest ranking official medical observers at Nuremberg were the two representatives from the German medical association, the American representative from the AMA, and the U. S. Army psychiatrist in charge of ferreting out psychiatric crimes all. All four agreed that that psychiatry's organized annihilation of Germany's mental hospital population was the entering edge into the Holocaust. They furthermore agreed that the Holocaust might never have occurred without psychiatry demonstrating the feasibility of systematic, organized mass murder....Read more here.
"Psychiatry's role in the holocaust" by Peter R. Breggin, International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, 1993.
"German psychiatrists proposed the extermination of mental patients before Hitler came to power. Then in Nazi Germany, organized psychiatry implemented involuntary eugenical sterilization and euthaniasia, ultimately killing up to 100,000 German mental patients. The six psychiat4ric euthanasia centers utilized medical professionals, fake death certificates, gas chambers disguised as showers, and the mass burning of corpses...." Read more here.
Psychiatry and Nazi Germany and the US Federal Violence Initiative -- Lecture by Peter R. Breggin MD in early 1990s, Harlam, NY.