Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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Hitler on race and health in Mein Kampf: a stimulus to anti-racism in the health professions

Raj Bhopal

Historically, it is impossible to ignore the impact of Hitler on the social and philosophical concept of race. By the start of World War II in 1939 his book Mein Kampf had sold 5200000 copies and been translated into 11 languages. His views had a particular impact on the practice of medicine. Reading Hitler today ought to increase the resolve of medical and other health professionals – ‘the staunchest supporters of the Nazi regime’ – to combat racism. ‘Inter-racial’ divisions in modern society are still reflected in health gradients, and modern genetics has re-awoken discussion of eugenic theories. This paper, based on quotations from Hitler on racial admixture, the superiority of the Aryan race and the creation of a superior society, seeks to assist professionals in health and health sciences to reflect on these writings and to strengthen anti-racism in public health, medicine and science. The author contends that racism is a major public health issue.