Ulf Schmidt

Ulf Schmidt

Doan Fellow, 2011-2012

Ulf Schmidt is a professor of modern history and the director of the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Kent, Canterbury, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was previously Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His research interests are in the area of the history of modern medical ethics, warfare, and policy in 20th-century Europe and the United States. He has published widely on the history of Nazi Germany, the history of human experimentation during the cold war, the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial and the Nuremberg Code, and the history of eugenics and euthanasia.

For full details see http://www.kent.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/Schmidt.html.

Schmidt is the author of, among others, Medical Films, Ethics and Euthanasia in Germany, 1933–1945 (2002); Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors’ Trial (2004); and Karl Brand: The Nazi Doctor—Medicine and Power in the Third Reich (2007), recently published in German as Hitlers Arzt Karl Brandt: Medizin und Macht im Dritten Reich (2009). He is coeditor, together with Andreas Frewer, of History and Theory of Human Experimentation: The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics (2007). He is also the principal investigator of a Wellcome Trust–funded project on “Cold War at Porton Down: Medical Ethics and the Legal Dimension of Britain’s Biological and Chemical Warfare Programme, 1945–1989.”

Key publications include:

  • Secret Science: Human Experimentation in Biological and Chemical Warfare Research during the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012/13, in progress).
  • Hitlers Arzt Karl Brandt: Medizin und Macht im Dritten Reich (Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, 2009).
  • Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor—Medicine and Power in the Third Reich (London/New York: Continuum Publishers, 2007).
  • With Andreas Frewer, eds. History and Theory of Human Experimentation: The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Franz Steiner, 2007).
  • With Andreas Frewer, eds. Standards der Forschung. Historische Entwicklung und ethische Grundlagen klinischer Studien (Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang, 2007).
  • Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors’ Trial (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
  • Medical Films, Ethics and Euthanasia in Germany, 1933–1945 (Husum, Germany: Matthiesen, 2002).

Current Research

My proposed stay at CHF interlinks with my current work on Secret Science: Human Experimentation in Biological and Chemical Warfare Research during the Cold War, an ambitious book project that Oxford University Press has contracted to publish. The work will reconstruct the nature of government-sponsored chemical-warfare research and will critically assess the ideology, politics, and ethics behind the experimental programs. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between medical science, politics, and modern warfare, and examines the potential and real dangers of biological and chemical warfare throughout the 20th century, issues that are important not only in current debates on terrorism but also given the fragile international situation (see also http://www.kent.ac.uk/porton-down-project/).

One of the central foci of my work at CHF will be to study the extensive literature from the Anglo-American and German-speaking world on the subject of chemical warfare published during World War II and the cold war. Most of this work is part of the Monograph Collection at CHF. Another key aim is to examine the scientific networks and experimental programs of U.S. scientists involved in chemical-warfare research, development, and production, and to assess their social and professional background, especially in cases where they had emigrated from Europe. I also want to explore the staff of the Chemical Warfare Service, which was established in 1918. By examining the papers of the American Chemical Society and of U.S. chemical companies, I hope to gain a better understanding of the extent to which these organizations collaborated with state and military agencies on a national and international level, for example, with Porton Down in Britain or at Suffield Experimental Station in Canada.

Fellowships at CHF


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