I recently finished Robert N. Proctor's book, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. What was so disturbing is how the finest minds in science and medicine paved the way for barbarity, and that the Germans were inspired by the Americans for their “leadership in racial hygiene”.
A review quote from Harvard University Press:
“Robert Proctor demonstrates that the common picture of a passive scientific community coerced into cooperation with the Nazis fails to grasp the reality of what actually happened—namely, that many of the political initiatives of the Nazis arose from within the scientific community, and that medical scientists actively designed and administered key elements of National Socialist policy.”
And another poignant review quote from the Journal of Public Health Policy:
“It is easy to be simplistic about the Nazi period, to think of the German people as somehow different and capable of enormities that others would never be capable of committing. Not only is this facile, but Proctor's book, in adding complexity and subtlety to our understanding of the Nazi phenomenon, also clarifies our vision of what the opposition within Germany was, what was thought, what was attempted, and how it failed.”