‘So many excellent men have been lost to tobacco poisoning.’
Adolf Hitler, 1942
Much historical study has been conducted into addressing the atrocities committed by the Nazi Regime from 1933 to 1945. However, considerably less attention has been dedicated to the Nazi anti-tobacco campaign, a relatively benign government policy, which importantly, was one of the first campaigns by a Western government designed to deal with health issues arising from tobacco use. This subject is particularly topical in the current climate, as many Western governments are attempting to reduce tobacco use among their own citizens. This paper will examine the first mass Western government campaign against tobacco and its ultimate failings.
Why were the Nazis so concerned to control the use of tobacco among its citizens? Is it possible that the Nazis were concerned with the wellbeing of some of its citizens? Or were more selfish motives involved?