The Nazis Didn't Spring Up Out of Nowhere

The US had a long eugenics history that paralleled that of Germany.

Really interesting article here:
Fisher didn’t merely lend his reputation to bigotry. He made eugenics a major focus of his life and regarded it as a natural outgrowth of his economics: “national vitality” depended on a productive citizenry, and it was clear to him that healthy living and careful breeding were the best ways to make the citizenry become more productive. To that end, he helped found the Race Betterment Society; was an active member of the Eugenics Research Association, a group of scholars in the field; and served as founding president of the American Eugenics Society, which organized research, lobbying, and propaganda for the movement.

Yale figured prominently in this work. The early meetings of the AES took place in the Manhattan home of an influential friend of Fisher’s from his college years, Madison Grant, Class of 1887. Other university administrators, faculty, and alumni also played an active part, among them the conservationist Gifford Pinchot ’89 and the explorer and geography professor Ellsworth Huntington ’09PhD. The AES later established its headquarters in offices overlooking the New Haven Green, at Elm and Church Streets. In the years leading up to World War II, when it was carefully downplaying the anti-Semitic character of the eugenics program in Nazi Germany, the AES was housed on the Yale campus. The seminal text of the movement was Madison Grant’s 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, which influenced Adolf Hitler himself.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, eugenics “fell squarely in the mainstream of scientific and popular culture,” according to Yale history professor Daniel Kevles, author of the 1985 book In the Name of Eugenics. Theodore Roosevelt popularized the term “race suicide,” for what he saw as the dwindling of the old Anglo-American stock, and the young Winston Churchill advocated sterilization and labor camps for “mental defectives.” Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger decried the proliferation of “human weeds,” while progressive reformer Havelock Ellis thought that getting the reproductive choices right would require the sexual liberation of women.