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Free «Nazi Medical Experiments» Essay Sample


Medical experiment is treated as a way to find positive approaches in examining, curing patients. Researches in the sphere of medicine are useful in developing many issues regarding medical practice. However, its notion stays disputable, because it concerns the matters of ethics, moral and humanity (Bogod, 55-67).

The Nazi human experiences were a string of medical tests that were conducted on prisoners, who were mainly Jewish including children. It was an event that caused great concern across Europe. The victims of experiments became also Roma and disabled Germans in concentration camps mainly during the 1940s and the time of the Holocaust. Prisoners were forced to take part in the tests (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The experiments had catastrophic results like disfigurement, permanent disability or even death. This was a great injustice done to human beings in the medical world that could be treated as medical torture. Doctors tried to investigate the nature of a human being but used approaches and methods that were inhumane. They acted with an aim to create resistant mechanisms for military aims that would serve in achieving Nazises’ targets. The subject of the research paper is to analyze advantages and disadvantages of medical experiments that were conducted during the Second World War.



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Benefits of the Nazi Human Experiments

Nazi experiments have set a background for proceeding modern researches, concerning its ethical issues (Cohen, 34-68).  Nazi scientists conducted experiments in the sphere of genetics, people’s resistance to extreme conditions, toxic substances, testing medical preparations.  Some medical experiments like those conducted at Carl Vaernet were meant to deal with issues of homosexuality.

The Nazi human experiments prompted scholars to consider the issues of medical ethics. Those experiments became examples of inhumane medical experience. During the time following the war, medical crimes were put into trial that later came to be referred as Doctors’ Trial. People analyzed and realized all deeds of doctors that caused cruel treatment to people, disability and death. That led to the establishment of the Nuremberg ethics codes in the world of medicine (Cohen, 34-68). Although, this was a very serious misfortune in the medical world, it led to the establishment of important rules and codes of practice that lay a foundation for future medical practice.

The most serious ethical issues of using tainted information and data gotten from the experiments on the people, who were killed and tortured by the Nazis in the idea of research, brought some debate that led to changes in medical practice.  It was not one of the efficacious ways to prompt such changes; however, there was some progress made in this sense. It was a development that many may not notice considering the nature of harm it had brought. The benefits of the experiments are ambiguous, regarding its initial intentions. However, they have set the background, considering matters of offering ethical medical services to patients.

A critical evaluation, considering the ethical issues of the medical tests carried out on human subjects by Nazi Germany doctors or the case in post-war America, could lead to a greater effort of preventing potential abuse.  In this effort, it is important to understand the existing principles that directed the medical practitioners in Nazi Germany in their atrocious actions.   

The Nazi human experiments are still relevant in the contemporary world.  The consequences of those tests should be analyzed by everyone with an aim to prevent the history experiences the same situation. This is especially evident considering the move taken by Hilary Clinton in 2010. She apologized for conducting gonorrhea and syphilis tests carried out on Guatemalans during 1946-1948 without their knowledge and consent. The experiments included both female and male patients and were conducted in Guatemala’s NationalMentalHealthHospital. The most startling fact is that the public learned about such unethical tests 60 years later after the American public health service had sponsored the tests along with Pan American health Organization, the NIH and the Guatemalan government.  That tests were considered, certified and initiated a year following the Nazi doctors’ trial that is why dreadful experiments on human subjects makes this topic important and so much relevant to this day (Cohen, 34-68).  The entire biomedical discipline ethics has stemmed from the Nazi human experiments.

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Examining past events, people draw conclusions and realize the moral sides of the happened things. This is how the Nazi human experiments have contributed to the issues of the medical world. The relevance in the modern set up cannot be overemphasized.  

The main move in carrying out the Nazi human experiment was to come up with new treatment. These experiments were very instrumental in developing new kinds of treatment that were necessary and at the same time lay a good foundation for more medical research of the present age. Though done at the expense of other people’s lives, one would say that it was worth the effort. Some of the challenges in the medical world got a solution due to the Nazi human experiments that were conducted. Thus, they still brought some value to the healthcare industry.

Unethical Nazi experiments have brought useful items for consideration of modern medicine. However, people should not forget that results were achieved by the expense of innocent people’s lives. Current medical researches have turned the cruel experience of the past into the databases that save lives of thousand people.   The bottom line is the fact that, despite the nature of the tests and experiments, they were not in vain. They took part in a noble task, the results of which they could see affecting many lives during that time and in the future. It created some sense of honor and satisfaction to the participants. However, it may have been not easy for everyone, who participated, to agree with this fact.

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Disadvantages Faced with Nazi Human Experiments

Although the Nazi human experiments were taken as a good cause, the manner in which they were conducted was unethical. There was a lot of coercion and involuntary participation of the individuals, who were used as experimental subjects for the test. This was a rude process that was enforced people to experience pain without their consent. It raised a lot of ethical issues, and this put the procedure of the experiments into question (Spitz, 10-23). This is the major issue that covers the whole issue. Despite the progress made in the medical world, there were a lot of people, who desired looking at the manner in which the experiments were conducted. The major challenge of the Nazi medical experiments on human beings was the issue of ethics. This is the broad picture that appears, when we think of the medical tests of this time.

Issue of genetic changes was a major concern. The Nazi human experiments were a threat to genetic information. Their aim was to damage the genes that could be passed on through generations. The manner in which the experiments were conducted posed a great danger in this sense. This was a risky engagement that gambled with the lives of people. It was really a disturbing scenario, and future generations were left at the mercy of success. Genetic information is important for promoting a variety in the human reproduction process. The destruction of genes would thus be a great loss to humanity. This was a great disadvantage of the medical tests because the existence of some genes was put on a balance (Spitz, 10-23). The fate of such experiments determines the developments that would influence the future generations.

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It is a very discouraging thing to know that a number of companies and organizations make use of experimentation and tests as a part of publicity by means of unethical methods. The value of human life is incomparable, and no amount of resources can really determine its worth. Such issues were of great concern in the Nazi human experiments (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The experiments could also cause death, disability and disconfigurations. The patients, families and friends experienced physical, psychological pain and trauma. The loss of victims was a very disturbing occurrence that could have caused emotional pain and psychological unrest amongst those affected.

The Nazi doctors carried out brutal medical tests upon helpless inmates in a concentration camp. These operations were torturous. They included very shocking events through coercive engagement of people in studies that were dangerous against their consent (Spitz, 10-23). The victims of experiments had unbelievable mutilation, suffering and incredible pain. Tests usually were intentionally meant to end in a fatal result for the victims.

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The Nazi human experiments reflected a society of savages. The most thrilling evidences of those times were experiments conducted on children. The names of Josef Mengele, Otmar von Verschuer, Schumann and other experimenters were treated as murders, who did not sorrow the victims of their tests (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The scientists used children for conducting vaccine researches, X-ray sterilization, and cancer experiments. Such crimes were immense and grossly dissolute (Spitz, 10-23). They should not be dismissed casually through citing principles showing some cultural ethical relativism. Such sentiments of saying that these people cannot be judged because of standards based on time and place have changed. Despite the war that was going on, the suspension of the normal rules were not permissible. This was very unfortunate that such desperate measures would be the only way to address the challenges facing man at that time.

It was a selfish engagement to devalue the lives of some people to the advantage of others. The war endangering German was not a reason enough to justify these extraordinary means taking the lives of fellow human beings. Quite a number of people in the modem society could consent with the opinion that extraordinary danger invites extraordinary measures to provide for the common good of all (Spitz, 10-23). Regardless of the fact that such a belief absolutely infringes human rights, there seems to be a hindrance in providing judgment to these actions based on the cultural ethical relativism principles. The medical tests brought a lot of controversy on ethical matters and called for urgency measures in the medical world. Some very important medical ethics were compromised for the purpose of engaging in a process that would offer a common good for all.

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Ethical Feasibility of the Medical Tests

All medical experimentations had a sole intention to assist the German military endeavors. These included creating weapons, testing pharmaceuticals and assisting in the medical assessment of military human power that was injured together with developing the racial concept of the Nazi system. Ultimately, the doctors in the Nazi system of governance had a feeling that they were doing a great job for the human race. This actually raises a very critical matter. The Germany doctors took a Hippocratic Oath while they still violated the ‘do no harm’ Hippocratic principle (Cohen, 34-68). This was a very unfortunate occurrence and a glaring contradiction. There was no way they could reconcile it. This contradiction was disturbing, and an examination should be conducted concerning the moral premises that were used. The exclusion of some ethnic communities’ claim to humanity was one of the premises that have already been listed. The Jews in Nazi Germany lived according to a series of regulations referred to as Nuremberg Laws (Holocaust Encyclopedia). The Jews were restricted in the rights of getting education, starting business, way of behavior and even usage of language.

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The racial policies brought up a very strong grounding in evolutionary and genetics biology (Wyschogrod, 12-23). It would be very important to focus on some of the various written explanations as highlighted by the Nazi government to prevent hereditary illnesses. Analyzing the process of cultivating animals and plants by human beings, a lot of caution is exercised to get rid of the less valuable. Only the valuable and useful genetic material is safeguarded. This is the same thing that nature needs through the selection law. The same should be done with human beings.  In such experiments, people having hereditary illness shall not overcome the problems (Spitz, 10-23).  If that does not happen, then it means the destruction and self-dissolution of the entire people.  A person who is affected by hereditary illnesses is not in a position to maintain itself in the great challenge of selection between individuals. Laws have been enacted to deal with the matter amicably to protect the population that is healthy from the hereditary illness dangers and dissolution.


Nowadays developments and progress in medicine on the ground of humanistic approaches are highly desired. It is very imperative for all medical practitioners and society at large to realize that progress in the medical world is not merely an unconditional obligation. A slower progress course in the elimination of diseases does not stand any chance of threatening the society. All the same, erosion of societal, moral principles and values presents a risky situation for the entire populace. Therefore, it is important to know that it was the cruel pursuit of scientific development and applied biological science to enhance the general health of society in Germany, at the expense of the poor and the vulnerable people, who were deprived recognition as persons. These actions largely contributed to Germany moral decay. There were more of disadvantages than pros of the Nazi human experiments. Despite the need, human life cannot be gambled. The effort of critically assessing the past will prompt a huge effort to prevent potential abuse. Analyzing the retrospective judgment of moral ethics principles and resulting directives, it is important to point out that the Nazi human experiments were out of medical, ethical standards. The most underlying factor in the medical world should be an intention to save people’s lives guiding in its actions according to the code of ethics. The Nazi human experiments had more disadvantages than benefits.


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