Physics and National Socialism: An Anthology of Primary by Klaus Hentschel (auth.), Klaus Hentschel (eds.)

By Klaus Hentschel (auth.), Klaus Hentschel (eds.)

1 objective and basic Description of the Anthology the aim of this anthology is to introduce the English conversing public to the extensive spectrum of texts authored predominently by way of physicists portraying the ac­ tual and perceived function of physics within the Nazi country. prior to now no vast and good­ balanced documentation of German physics in this time has been on hand in English, regardless of the numerous function physics has performed either politically (e. g. , in weaponry making plans) and ideologically (e. g. , within the controversy over the worth of theoretical ('Jewish') vs. experimental ('Aryan') physics), or even notwithstanding well-known figures just like the scientist-philosopher and emigre Albert Einstein and the debatable nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg became family names. This anthology will try to bridge this hole through featuring contempo­ rary files and eye-witness debts through the physicists themselves. Authors have been selected to symbolize a number of the political views and specialties in the physics group, omitting the various extra quite simply obtainable texts by means of major physicists (e. g. , Einstein, Heisenberg, Lenard) in prefer of these by means of much less famous yet still very important figures (e. g. , Finkelnburg, Max Wien, Ramsauer). during this means we are hoping not just to avoid the constricted 'Great males' method of historical past but additionally to supply a broader photo of the actions and conflicts in the box and the results of the political forces exerted upon them.

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102 Conceptually National Socialist pedagogy placed primacy on exercising the body as opposed to the mind. ,103 and awakened "pride in the results of German science" , with frequent references to mythology, attempting to embed the teaching goals in the pupils' daily routine. Other important trends include the fostering of biology, especially genetics, 'racial hygiene' and the racist pseudo-anthropology favored by the National Socialists,104 as well as aviation,105 with the obvious intention of generating increased numbers of aspiring pilots.

72 Even the Reich Postal Ministry (RPM) under Wilhelm Ohnesorge had its own research center in Miersdorf near Berlin where television and high-frequency technologies were developed along with research in metrology and acoustics. A cyclotron was also built there between 1940 and 1945. The RPM also employed independent researchers like Manfred von Ardenne to work on isotope separation, for example. 73 Some of the most infamous research conducted during the Third Reich, such as low-temperature, low-pressure and typhus experiments on human beings was performed as so-called "applied military medicine research" (Wehrmedizinische Zweckforschung) by the 55 Ahnenerbe organization.

To teach physics to the 16 yearold Peoples Army conscripts. lOS Thus by the end of World War II the 'total unity' of didactic subject matter and daily routine clamored after since 1933 had perversely been achieved. 3 Faculty Membership in Nazi Organizations One indicator of the degree to which National Socialist science policy succeeded in changing the intellectual climate at universities are statistics on membership in Nazi organizations. These membership rates must be evaluated carefully though, particularly because only a few investigations by social historians exist so far on membership rates of specific groups such as biologists and psychologists; physicists and chemists are still unexamined.

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