NaziantismokingWhat follows are excerpts from a review of a book called The Nazi War on Cancer by Robert N Proctor.

The illustration at left is from BlogsofBainbridge.

Another, below at right, comes courtesy of Inconvenient History.

Not only does this post address how health was viewed during the Third Reich, it also looks at its policies which sound suspiciously similar to those of the Democratic Party in the United States and Socialist Parties (including some Conservative ones) throughout the world.

Emphases in bold mine below. See if any of the following sounds familiar …

It seems that Hitler was a smoker in his youth but at some stage he became aware of its health hazards and, when in power (perhaps with the zeal of a convert), appeared to detest tobacco, which he called “the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor.” But the antismoking campaign reflected “a national political climate stressing the virtues of racial hygiene and bodily purity” as well as the Fuhrer’s personal prejudices. The same could be said of Nazi efforts to discourage drinking and encourage a better diet.

Nazi anti-smoking motherhood_smoking Inconvenient HistoryThe state performer in antismoking propaganda was Adolf Hitler. As one magazine put it: brother national socialist, do you know that our Führer is against smoking and think that every German is responsible to the whole people for all his deeds and emissions, and does not have the right to damage his body with drugs?”

Robert Proctor presents a great deal of evidence that the [N]azis exerted massive control over most facets of ordinary citizen’s lives. Yet somehow, he never reaches the obvious conclusion that such compulsive regulations, even if arguably well intentioned, ultimately lead to a large scale sacrifice of basic freedoms.

He explains how the [N]azis greatly restricted tobacco advertising, banned smoking in most public buildings, increasingly restricted and regulated tobacco farmers growing abilities, and engaged in a sophisticated anti-smoking public relations campaign … Despite the frightening parallels to the current war on tobacco, Mr. Proctor never even hints at the analogy. Curiously, he seems to take an approach that such alleged concern for public health shows [N]azism to be a more complex dogma than commonly presumed. While nothing present in the book betokens even a trace of sympathy for the Third Reich, this viewpoint seems incredibly naive. It’s easy to wonder if Hitler and company were truly concerned with promoting public health. The unquenchable lust for absolute control is a far more believable motive.

Incongruously some of the book’s desultory details lend further certitude to its unpromulgated thesis. Hitler not only abstained from tobacco; he also never drank and was,for the most part–a vegetarian. Frighteningly he also was an animal rights activist. The book reruns a [N]azi-era cartoon depicting many liberated lab animals giving the [N]azi salute to Hermann Göring after he outlawed animal experimentation and promised to send violators to a concentration camp. Also included is a fitting quote — now too widely suppressed — from Joseph Goebbels, `the fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian; he views Christianity as a symptom of decay.” Controversial as it may be in some circles, such a quote proves that [N]azism viewed Christianity as hatefully as it did Judaism. Passing coverage is given to the Third Reich’s forays into euthanasia and eugenics …

Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels was obliged to hide his ciggie whenever he was filmed — anti-tobacco activists succeeded in banning smoking from government offices, civic transport, university campuses, rest homes, post offices, many restaurants and bars, hospital grounds and workplaces. Tobacco taxes were raised, unsupervised cigarette vending machines were banned, and there were calls for a ban on smoking while driving ...

It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

If some of these measures appear familiar today, then consider the rules laid down in 1941 regarding tobacco advertising. “Images that create the impression that smoking is a sign of masculinity are barred, as are images depicting men engaged in activities attractive to youthful males (athletes or pilots, for example),” and “may not be directed at sportsmen or automobile drivers,” while “advocates of tobacco abstinence or temperance must not be mocked.” Advertisements were banned from films, billboards, posters and “the text sections of journals and newspapers.” Nevertheless, even the Nazis couldn’t equal the recent ban on smoking on death row, meaning prisoners about to undergo massive electric shocks are forbidden from indulging in “one last drag” — talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

This great crusade, propagated through a remarkable network of lectures, re-education programs and congresses, was backed up by the medical and health establishment for the sake of “science.” Or at least a certain type of junk science, one in which objective research and the scientific method was subordinated to, and bastardized for the sake of, a greater political program. Thus, it was commonly touted by scientists and racial hygienists that smoking caused “spontaneous abortions”: a clearly demonstrable fallacy, but one requiring official promotion in order to ensure a high birth rate for Aryan women. (Source: Anti-tobacco Gestapo: past and present)

Historians and epidemiologists have only recently begun to explore the Nazi anti-tobacco movement. Germany had the world’s strongest anti smoking movement in the 1930s and early 1940s, encompassing bans on smoking in public spaces, bans on advertising,restrictions on tobacco rations for women, and the world’s most refined tobacco epidemiology, linking tobacco use with the already evident epidemic of lung cancer. The anti-tobacco campaign must be understood against the backdrop of the Nazi quest for racial and bodily purity, which also motivated many other public health efforts of the era.

… Many Nazi leaders were vocal opponents of smoking. Anti-tobacco activists pointed out that whereas Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt were all fond of tobacco, the three major fascist leaders of Europe — Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco — were all non-smokers.(7) …

German smoking rates rose dramatically in the first six years of Nazi rule, suggesting that the propaganda campaign launched during those early years was largely ineffective.(4) (5) German smoking rates rose faster even than those of France, which had a much weaker anti-tobacco campaign. German per capita tobacco use between 1932 and 1939 rose from 570 to 900 cigarettes a year, whereas French tobacco consumption grew from 570 to only 630 cigarettes over the same period.(9)

… smoking may have functioned as a kind of cultural resistance,(4) [al]though it is also important to realise that German tobacco companies exercised a great deal of economic and political power, as they do today …

We should also realise that tobacco provided an important source of revenue for the national treasury. In 1937-8 German national income from tobacco taxes and tariffs exceeded 1 billion Reichsmarks.(12) By 1941, as a result of new taxes and the annexation of Austria and Bohemia, Germans were paying nearly twice that. According to Germany’s national accounting office, by 1941 tobacco taxes constituted about one twelfth of the government’s entire income.(13)

German anti-tobacco policies accelerated towards the end of the 1930s,and by the early war years tobacco use had begun to decline. The Luftwaffe banned smoking in 1938 and the post office did likewise.Smoking was barred in many workplaces, government offices, hospitals,and rest homes … During the war years tobacco rationing coupons were denied to pregnant women (and to all women below the age of 25) while restaurants and cafes were barred from selling cigarettes to female customers.(19) From July 1943 it was illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to smoke in public.(20) Smoking was banned on all German city trains and buses in 1944, the initiative coming from Hitler himself, who was worried about exposure of young female conductors to tobacco smoke.(21) Nazi policies were heralded as marking”the beginning of the end” of tobacco use in Germany.(14) …

An ordinance on 3 November 1941 raised tobacco taxes to a higher level than they had ever been (80-95% of the retail price). Tobacco taxes would not rise that high again for more than a quarter of a century after Hitler’s defeat.(26) …

According to official statistics German tobacco use did not reach prewar levels again until the mid-1950s …

After the war Germany lost its position as home to the world’s most aggressive anti-tobacco science. Hitler was dead but also many of his anti-tobacco underlings either had lost their jobs or were otherwise silenced. Karl Aster, head of Jena’s Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research (and rector of the University of Jena and an officer in the SS), committed suicide in his office on the night of 3-4 April 1945. Reich Health Fuhrer Leonardo Conti, another anti-tobacco activist, committed suicide on 6 October 1945 in an allied prison while awaiting prosecution for his role in the euthanasia programme. Hans Reiter, the Reich Health Office president who once characterised nicotine as “the greatest enemy of the people’s health” and “the number one drag on the German economy”(27) was interned in an American prison camp for two years, after which he worked as a physician in a clinic in Kassel, never again returning to public service. Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, the guiding light behind Thuringia’s antismoking campaign and the man who drafted the grant application for Astel’s anti-tobacco institute, was executed on 1 October 1946 for crimes against humanity. It is hardly surprising that much of the wind was taken out of the sails of Germany’s anti-tobacco movement …

For a few decades now, depending on the country, we have had:

– A ban on tobacco advertising.

– Numerous Tobacco Control conferences worldwide.

– WHO diktats on tobacco, which UN signatory countries are obliged to follow.

– Retail prices which are 75 – 80% tax.

– Bans on tobacco use in public places, parks, beaches, nursing homes, hospitals, hotels (including private rooms), cinemas, shops, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants.

– Bans on smoking in one’s own home — flats and public housing.

– Proposals on restrictions of tobacco sales based on age.

– Proposals to ban smoking in one’s car.

Sound familiar?

Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were all non-smokers.

Hitler was also fond of animals at the expense of Jews and Christians. He also advocated eugenics and ordered mass extermination.

Is the man without vices the person to trust? No.

Is this what our forefathers fought and died for?