From the middle towards the end of World War II, the horrific acts of the SS
were beginning to be discovered. Several people started realizing the harshness
of the eugenic practices that were taking place, and the demand for a reform-eugenics
came out. The public's feelings toward eugenic practices such as sterilization
soured. Eugenic-reformists began to show the public that the eugenics of the
past was bad, as it allowed for racism and the discrimination of unexplainable
qualities of individuals.
The word "eugenics" itself was even deamed dirty in Britain
and the United States. In 1940, the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor,
led by Charles Davenport, was shut down. Most other eugenic-based organizations
slowly went belly up, as the entire eugenics field became an embarrassment. Many
eugenicists changed professions quickly, and most citizens stopped using eugenic
practices in order to benefit their families. States in the US cut back extremely
in their compulsory sterilization of criminals, and laws legalizing it were repealed.
The makers of the textbook Human Heredity sensured the old eugenics,
warning of the events to which it could lead. However, they did support reform
eugenics, but they did so only after a significant amount of study had been
put into the science of human genetics.
This genetics was a fairly new science, and it really did not gain much
attention until near the end of the war. Where eugenics used statistical information
to base its theories, genetics differed, as it studied the physical traits of
the human body that were responsible for heredity. Being more of a physical
science, more hardcore data and facts could be gained. Institutions devoted
entirely to the study of genetics were formed around the United States and elsewhere
in the early 1940s.
In a way, as some have said, genetics killed eugenics. But eugenics was not
entirely destroyed, as it has been slowly returning from its dorment stage. With
the development of new technologies and new scientific discoveries, eugenics may
soon make a giant come back.