ABSTRACT

During the decade of the thirties, the eugenics movement was battered by its critics, the geneticists of the left, and their supporters. But although the attack was furious, it could not aim at expunging the entire eugenics problematic, since that was so intimately interwoven with all current research in human genetics, in Britain as elsewhere. Both the eugenists and their critics were agreed that more research was needed, and both were roughly agreed on the questions that needed to be answered. There was even a broad consensus that, eventually, the knowledge gained might be used to upgrade the human race. 1 It was not until the 1950s, with the coming of the post-war Welfare State and the end of the Poor Law, that the eugenic problematic was finally to fall apart, leaving the field to a residual social biology that retained many of the eugenists' interests, but lacked the social activism that had been typical of the movement.