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Hitler's and Stalin's Misuse of Science (Hardback)

When Science Fiction was Turned into Science Fact by the Nazis and the Soviets

Military > By Century > 20th Century Military > Frontline Books P&S History > Social Science & Culture > Politics > Political History WWII

By S D Tucker
Frontline Books
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781399073158
Published: 20th October 2023



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In today’s world, science itself, which we are constantly being told is a neutral vehicle for wholly objective ideas and theories, is increasingly being hijacked and abused by the toxic modern cult of identity politics, of both left and right. But should we be too surprised by any of this? No, because this exact same sorry process has happened time and again before, under the rule of totalitarian political cults like the Nazis and the Soviets, both of which vigorously promoted various pseudoscientific theories of ‘Aryan Science’ and ‘Marxist Science’ on the sole grounds that they were ideologically correct as opposed to being factually so.

Nazi racial pseudoscience and belief in nonsense like the ‘World Ice Theory’, which claimed that stars did not really exist and were actually just reflections of the sun off giant floating space-icebergs, were widely encouraged in the Third Reich, and used for long-term military weather-forecasting purposes. Likewise, the ideas of the renegade biologist Trofim Lysenko, who developed a deluded ‘anti-capitalist’ theory of genetics opposed to Darwin’s, were responsible for widespread famine in the USSR when Stalin allowed him to apply them practically towards the nation’s crop-harvests. Those academics and functionaries who disputed these clearly false pseudoscientific notions often found themselves in deep trouble – or, ultimately, dead.

In this incisive and challenging study, author S.D. Tucker explores the often weird and fanciful theories that were proposed and took hold under these extreme regimes – and in doing so sends a word of warning to the modern world of the internet and social media where similar bizarre ideas are expounded and consumed with frightening gullibility.

Everywhere from Western universities, schools and hospitals to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, absurd stories of sexist glaciers, racist gravity, socialist trees and NATO-backed mutant extra-terrestrial potatoes are being promoted as items of politically mandated scientific fact by compliant collaborators and credulous social media followers. Pseudoscientific narratives are even now used to justify the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, much as they were once used to justify the Nazi conquest of Europe or the spread of Communist revolution across the globe.

I found this to be a fascinating and disturbing read. I am interested in the World War II era and dictators, so I requested this read. Hitler and Stalin were two of the most brutal dictators in history, and they abused science for their own political and personal agendas. The writer does an excellent job of examining how Hitler and Stalin manipulated scientific knowledge and research in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

This well-written and researched book offers a new perspective on the history of science and totalitatianism.

NetGalley, Whitney Foster

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As a science teacher, I love explaining how science can be purposefully misunderstood and used to defend things, this book is full of examples.

NetGalley, Tyler Baker

This is interesting because it not only explores the odd theories which underpinned propaganda, it also investigates how believing such ideas came to be so accepted. All the more terrifying is the idea of how modern communication and social media practices could be used to share such misinformation. A very interesting book.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

A fascinating and in depth look at how politics has shaped science in two twentieth century dictatorships.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

About S D Tucker

S.D. TUCKER is a much-published British author who has written numerous well-received books and magazine articles for publication in the UK, US and Ireland, with a long-standing focus on the more unusual areas of history. Writing about topics as varied as weird science, aberrant economics, historical eccentrics, medical quackery and strange ideas about outer space, he has a particular interest in folklore, myth, legend and the paranormal. An experienced and knowledgeable writer on esoteric topics like UFOs, poltergeists and occult Nazi beliefs, which he approaches from a variety of perspectives, he writes the regular ‘Strange Statesmen’ column in Fortean Times magazine.

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