Social Darwinism and the Holocaust

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Social Darwinism is an ideology found commonly within the late nineteenth century. It was inspired from Darwinism and is the result of natural selection. Social Darwinism is a theory rooted in the ability to apply the laws of nature to a society and its people and is often associated with the popular notion of “survival of the fittest.” However, it is often used to justify social and political policies that discriminate against a certain type of people. What role did Social Darwinism play in the unfolding of the Holocaust? Social Darwinism played a role in the Holocaust through the Theory of Natural Selection and the lead versus follow principle; both allowed Hitler to believe the Aryans as the “Master” race and the need to exterminate all other peoples, in particular the Jews. It is important to examine and distinguish the differences between Darwinism and Social Darwinism when applying the Theory of Natural Selection to Hitler and the Nazi ideology. Secondly, the concept of human behaviour plays a key role in the unfolding of the holocaust through the Lead versus Follow principle.

Darwinism, the philosophy of Charles Darwin, is a biological philosophy that proposes that there is a process of natural selection that seeks to advance superior species. This Theory of Natural Selection acts to slowly accumulate small advancements in genetic mutations. The members of the species that fail to accumulate these small advancements would eventually be subject to extinction and thus leaving the superior members to prosper. Social Darwinism follows the same premises. Social Darwinism’s Theory of Natural Selection states that one group of people are better than all others and thereby the lesser of the peoples are left to die out on their own or there is justification in their execution. The goal is to continuously advance the best members of society to form the best societies possible. Social Darwinism’s Theory of Natural Selection continues to develop the idea that...
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