The lazy shorthand for calling something or someone evil is to compare them to the Nazis. It’s a cheap and easily-understood way of demonizing something you personally don’t like. Call it guilt by association, with an association that usually isn’t real.
Not surprisingly, you find an enormous amount of these false comparisons among conspiracy theorists in the alternative medicine community. Even just a basic search reveals conspiracy and natural health websites spouting rumors of a vast counterfactual history of the Nazis. They theorize that it was really Hitler’s Germany that won the war, and is now ruling us through complicated plots meant to keep us fat, sick, stupid and weak.
Of course, Hitler’s progeny wouldn’t be able to do this without their shills, flunkies and quislings in the pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and media industries – not to mention their endless supply of politicians kept well-fed through kickbacks and schemes. The end result is a society kept under the thumb of the global elite (who cooked up that whole World War II thing just to make more money), with only a few truth-seeking bloggers and rebel doctors fighting to help the rest of us open our eyes.
All of this is historically inaccurate, chemphobic nonsense. The Nazis were plenty horrible enough without having to link them to things they had nothing to do with, such as…
Monsanto – Natural News head Mike Adams’ recently published incoherent screed comparing GMO scientists to Nazi collaborators (while advocating for their murder) was far from the first bizarre attempt to link the US biotech giant and current Most Evil Company in the Universe to Hitler.
Some conspiracy theorists focus on a 1954 joint effort between Monsanto and Bayer AG, the German chemical company. The new firm they created together, called Mobay, cornered the market on producing industrial chemicals called isocyanates, until it was sued by the Justice Department in 1967 for antitrust violations. Bayer bought Monsanto’s share of the firm and that was the end of the collaboration.
The supposed Nazi connection stems, apparently, from the fact that Bayer AG was one of the companies that was merged together in 1925 to create the German industrial monolith IG Farben. Farben was one of the engines of Germany’s killing industry, and its directors were rightly tried and convicted for crimes against humanity after the war. In 1951, Farben was broken back up into its parent companies, including Bayer AG. It was liquidated several years later, with its only purpose until 2003 being to pay reparations to Holocaust victims.
This is incredibly tenuous. Saying “Monsanto worked with Bayer, Bayer was IG Farben, IG Farben was Nazi, therefore Monsanto is Nazi” is ludicrous. We don’t tar every company that worked with the Nazis with these accusations – otherwise, taking a Bayer aspirin, wearing a Hugo Boss shirt or driving a BMW would make you one.
Fluoride – The theory that the Nazis used water fluoridation as mind control to keep their concentration camp victims docile and stupid is often cited by proponents of local ballot measures meant to ban its use in municipal water supplies.
However, it has no validity and no supporting evidence in the historical record. For one thing, despite the objections of fluoride truthers, extensive testing and six decades of use have found it to be safe and extremely effective when added to underground water supplies. Additionally, the Nazis were meticulous about documenting their medical experiments, and not a single reference to fluoride can be found in any of the paperwork recovered from any concentration camp.
The idea of the Nazis subduing their victims with fluoride appears to have first been printed in “Fluoridation: Mind Control of the Masses?”, a pamphlet self-published in 1987 by Australian anti-fluoride zealot Ian E. Stephens. Stephens, in turn, cites Charles Elliot Perkins, an American chemist who traveled to Germany after the war and heard from nameless German chemists of
“[a] scheme which had been worked out by them during the war and adopted by the German General Staff.
“This was to control the population in any given area through mass medication of drinking water. In this scheme, sodium fluoride occupied a prominent place.
“Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual’s power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narcotizing a certain area of the brain and will thus make him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him.
“Both the Germans and the Russians added sodium fluoride to the drinking water of prisoners of war to make them stupid and docile.”
Despite Stephens’ ramblings being quite lengthy and detailed, he never offers anything substantive or science-based to back these claims up. Perkins himself was asked on numerous occasions for more evidence, but continued only repeating the claim that “German chemists” told him about the Nazi fluoridation plot.
No subsequent research has ever found any connection between the Nazis and fluoride, no evidence that they knew what it was, nor any reason why they would use it.
Aspartame – If you’re going to keep people mind-controlled through poison, you might as well hedge your bets and use two poisons. So goes the theory connecting Nazi Germany to the dreaded (and completely safe) artificial sweetener aspartame.
But this one is even easier to debunk. Aspartame wasn’t synthesized until 1965, when a student chemist named James M. Schlatter developed it by accident while working at Searle, which later became Pfizer. Dr. Schlatter was born in 1942, and would have been a little young to be recruited by the Nazis to be a pharma stooge for their nefarious plans.
Any other connection between Nazi Germany and artificial sweetener exists only in the minds of conspiracy theorists and anti-chemical activists.
Microwave Ovens – Speaking of anti-chemical activists, the theory connecting Nazi Germany and the microwave oven comes straight from an infamous one: the health and lifestyle blogger known as “Food Babe.”
In 2012 blog post entitled “Why It’s Time to Throw Out Your Microwave,” Food Babe, aka Vani Hari, makes a number of wild and scientifically inaccurate claims (debunked by Steven Novella, among others) about microwaves and what they do to food.
The first of these is that “Microwaves were never thoroughly researched before adoption in the United States.” To support this extremely wrong bit of wrong, she writes:
“The microwave oven was developed more than 80 years ago, and in WWII German solders (sic) were given these ovens to warm meals. Germans conducted several studies about the biological effect of using microwaves, which were transferred to the United States for further scientific investigation, but were never researched thoroughly before these ovens were mass produced for the general public.”
Yes, folks, the Nazis gave their stormtroopers microwave ovens to lug around their various conquests of Europe. Therefore, you shouldn’t use yours.
Surprisingly (or not), Hari didn’t actually make this up herself. Variations on the claim that the Nazis discovered or developed the microwave have been going around for a while, never with any kind of evidence to support them. The most oft-repeated version is that the Nazis developed a rudimentary portable microwave oven called a “radiomissor” for infantry use during the invasion of the Soviet Union.
The problem with this is that it’s totally counter to the historical record.
Actual microwave oven technology wasn’t invented until 1946, when a Rayethon engineer named Percy Spencer accidentally melted a candy bar in his pocket while standing in from of a magnetron. I can’t find a single picture of a “radiomissor” from any point in the war, and no archival source from either Germany or the Allies has ever claimed such a thing existed. Any reference to “German studies of microwaves on biology” all come from alternative medicine sites like Mercola, Natural News and others. Finally, Russia’s electricity grid during the 1940’s was extremely primitive. What would the Germans plug their microwave into?
Needless to say, Hari cites absolutely nothing to prove her claim. Because nothing exists to prove it.
Making up false claims about plots the Nazis were “secretly” involved in only obscures the true horrors of what they actually did do. When you find alternative medicine advocates spewing this nonsense, you should be extremely skeptical and go digging for primary sources. I guarantee you won’t find them.