"The Nazi Doctors" - A Book Review Book Review by scribbler

"The Nazi Doctors" - A Book Review
A review of R. J. Lifton's book "The Nazi Doctors" about medical professionals who aided the Nazis during the Holocaust.
# 152032 | 1,063 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Nov 13, 2012 in Holocaust Studies (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This book analyzes R. J. Lifton's book "The Nazi Doctors" which illuminates the role of medical professionals who participated in and even validated the Nazi 'experiment' in purifying the human race. First, the review describes the outlook of the Nazis toward Germany as a medical entity in which undesirables had to be removed. According to the review, the Nazi doctor's so-called medical, nationalist views were incoherent as well as just as barbaric as those of Nazi soldiers. The paper also discusses various theories for what motivated doctors to participate and even condone their actions. These include a cultural outlook, a theory about a compartmentalized self or even passive instruments of a tyrannical regime. Some of their actions are compared to the subjects in Stanley Milgrim's experiments. The paper concludes by stating that the Nazi doctors were notable for their lack of remorse.

From the Paper:

"Lifton's central thesis is that this medical conception of Germany as a body, in contrast to the usual focus of the physician on the rights of individual bodies, gave rise to doctor's rationalization of their role in the extermination of the Jews. The participation of medical doctors in the experiments also gave a veneer of authority to the Nazi practices. Doctors were uniquely equipped to advance a philosophy of 'scientific racism' as they were seen by the Nazis and by themselves as biological activists for healing. Although Lifton's belief in the powerful metaphor of exorcizing the body politic of medical ills may initially seem persuasive, the blatantly unscientific experimentation of the Nazi doctors makes Lifton's claims somewhat less compelling upon further examination. The Nazis embraced medieval anti-Semitism with just as much enthusiasm as medical science: they picked and chose what suited their ideological needs, with little deference to logic (Lifton 17). Furthermore, all of the doctors chronicled in Lifton's book were anti-Semites, even though some treated individual Jews with greater respect than others. The Nazi doctor's so-called medical, nationalist views were incoherent as well as just as barbaric as those of Nazi soldiers."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cohen, Adam. "Four decades after Milgram, we're still willing to inflict pain." The New York Times. December 29, 2008. March 13, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/opinion/29mon3.html
  • Lifton, Robert Jay. The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. Basic Books, 2000.
  • "Medically assisted torture." New York Times. Editorial. April 9, 2009. March 13, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/opinion/09thu3.html

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"The Nazi Doctors" - A Book Review (2012, November 13) Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-nazi-doctors-a-book-review-152032/

MLA Format

""The Nazi Doctors" - A Book Review" 13 November 2012. Web. 21 November. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-nazi-doctors-a-book-review-152032/>