Have we been collectively guilt at taking the eugenicists at their word ---- and not their deed ? Have we offered up to each other the wrong explanations for WWII's horrors ?
Eugenic theory always claimed it was a highly precise science.
A science that set its goal as accurately detecting those individuals in a particular 'population' who are (a) more than ordinary biologically fit or (b) those more than ordinarily biologically unfit and encouraging more children from the former and discouraging less children from the latter.
But in practise, and in every single nation, eugenicists were never willing to legally encourage a 'biologically superior' working class individual from a population's minority ethnic and religious groups to marry into that population's majority ethnic and religious group ruling class.
Nor were eugenicists ever eager to legally prevent a 'biologically unfit' member of that ruling class from marrying whoever they choose.
In practise it was, a group, not individuals, were denied the legal freedom to marry or to live : the powerless group.
Usually powerless meant simply being poor but sometimes it was extended to even some of the middle class, if they were members of the most despised minority ethnic and religious groups.
In practise, Eugenics might be more accurately described as a common variant of xenophobia ---- and always an example of Human Germ Theory.
And described even more accurately, depending on its actions at various places and various times, as a variant of racism, nationalism, nativism, classism, prejudice against women, as a long term attempt at geographic ethnic cleansing.
Eugenics was not involved in every form of xenophobia or we would find that tiny 1920s Estonia preferentially sterilizing the poorer members of its Russian minority.
I don't think we'd ever find that solution carried out --- not in Estonia or in any similar situation.
The Estonians did greatly fear the Russina 'other' living right next door, but with the Estonians being a hundred times smaller in military power than the USSR, they were unlikely to do too much to rouse their Russian neighbour.
No, I think we will find that 'practical' Eugenics was always directed against picking on weak, not strong, minority 'others'.
Thus America could safely picked on its black minority, eugenically, knowing that the world's other black populations won't intervene, being both far too weak militarily compared to the USA and far too distant.
No, I believe that we can see that Human Germ Theory always lurking behind supposed Eugenics, because practised Eugenics' most characteristic emphasis is on preferring 'racial purity' over 'national/population biological fitness'.
All eugenicists always preferred the inbreed (purified gene pool) genetic depression of ethnic racial purity over the biological fit and vigour produced in a population that breed from a much larger - impure - gene pool.
In every nation from the 1890s to the 1940s, ensuring racial purity (via by tough immigration barriers and strict miscegenation ('one drop') laws) against groups seen as outsiders trying to sneak in or swamp the majority group was always very popular.
Far far more popular than the truly eugenic quest of sterilizing physically, mentally and morally handicapped people from within the majority ethnic/religious group because they were unfit.
This despite the fact that these were the children of poor parents; children judged never able to contribute to the national economy and expensive for the middle class taxpayers to look after.
Fallowing from this, I am prepared to argue that WWII was, above all, 'human germ' warfare.
That is between 1939 to 1945, there was a quiet, very large and persistent war (on both sides, depending on the military theatre) directed against weak, almost invisible 'Human Germs', as well as the more celebrated war against large powerful visible military enemies from each group's own racial grouping.
In the Pacific that Human Germ war was directed against the Japanese and all colored races, by the Americans and all other European whites --- in Eastern Europe that war was directed by the Germans and some members of most other white Europeans against Slavs and Jews....