Segments in this Video

Eugenics and Past Mistakes (03:13)


Some people believe we should improve the quality of the human race by selecting who can reproduce; the disabled, poor, and non-Caucasians are sterilized. Angela Saini investigates the British scientists who created the science and how it affected town planning, legislation, and birth control.

Theory of Evolution (07:50)

Katrina Van Grouw discusses pigeon variety. Gregory Radick describes how the work of Charles Darwin affected Francis Galton's research on eugenics. Subhadra Das explains how Galton invented concepts of modern statistics including standard deviation and regression to the mean.

Beauty Determines Worth (05:16)

Some people believe a disability makes one sub-human. Galton conducts research at the Bethlem Asylum for unfavorable hereditary. Eugen Fischer measures the relative whiteness of individuals from mixed heritage.

Fischer Hair Gauge (03:25)

Karl Pearson becomes the National Chair for Eugenics and visits the Jews' Free School in London to study children of immigrants. Laws include the Aliens, the Aliens Restriction, and Special Restrictions Act.

British Race Weakening (04:55)

Winston Churchill advocates eugenics. "Heredity in Man" depicts a family with unfavorable heredity. Eugenicists campaign for the Mentally Defective Acts of 1913 where feeble-minded families are removed from the national gene pool and moved to colonies.

Sacrificing Lives (03:40)

Cyril Burt joins the London County Council and creates tests to assess mental acuity. Books that describe how genetics determine intelligence include "The Young Delinquent," "The Backward Child," and "Intelligence and Fertility." The Eleven-Plus Exam determines whether students attend grammar school, secondary school, or technical college.

Interwar Period (04:13)

Marie Stopes founds the first birth control clinics. "Pro-race" is inscribed on cervical caps to promote the strength of the race.

Victims of Eugenics (04:24)

During the 1920s and 1930s, Meanwood Park Hospital segregates mentally defective men and women. Samuel Wormald captures over 2,000 deaf, blind, and dumb individuals as inmates.

Welwyn Garden City (03:55)

Sir Ebenezer Howard founds a slumless and smokeless city. Less desirable citizens are kept away from the rest of the town's citizens; allocated areas include epileptic farms, homeless areas, and a location for those inebriated.

International Acclaim for Eugenics (03:22)

In the 1920s. approximately 60,000 people are forcibly sterilized. Antisemitism, nationalism, and eugenics are key concepts of the Nazi regime. Adolf Hitler appoints Karl Brandt and Phillip Bouhler to implement the Aktion T4 euthanasia policy.

Legacy of Eugenics (06:21)

The University College London is the inventor of eugenics, not the Nazis. Professor Veronica van Heyningen identifies anomalies associated with serious eye diseases. Francis Galton is a racist but also a great geneticist.

Secondary Handicaps (07:52)

In 1957, experts find Mabel Cooper mentally defective; she is incarcerated for two decades. Cian Binchy and his theater group produce a play based on her experiences at St. Lawrence's Hospital. After her release, Cooper founds an organization to advocate for those with disabilities.

Credits: Eugenics: Science's Greatest Scandal: Episode 1 (00:39)

Credits: Eugenics: Science's Greatest Scandal: Episode 1

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Eugenics: Science's Greatest Scandal: Episode 1

Part of the Series : Eugenics: Science's Greatest Scandal
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Science journalist Angela Saini and disability rights activist Adam Pearson, reveal that eugenics - the controversial idea that was a driving force behind the Nazi death camps - originated in the upper echelons of the British scientific community. The presenters uncover how shocking eugenic beliefs permeated the British establishment and intelligentsia; supporters included figures such as Winston Churchill and Marie Stopes. They see how eugenics influenced the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913, which resulted in thousands of disabled people being locked up for decades. Eugenics shaped immigration law, education policy, and even town planning. The documentary uncovers disturbing links between British universities and German race scientists in the first half of the 20th century and investigates how eugenics fed into the racist ideologies of Nazi Germany.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL210644

ISBN: 979-8-89206-506-1

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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