Malte Thießen: Security, Society, and the State: Vaccination Campaigns in 19th and 20th Century Germany. [Abstract]

Vaccinations are a dream of planning public health. They promise the eradication of epidemics and pandemics, the decline of infant mortality, and the control of collective health conditions. Vaccination is therefore never just about the health and disease of the individual. Vaccination campaigns always aim to optimize the society as well. The article traces this history of vaccination in the 19th and 20th centuries from the German Empire and the Weimar Republic to the Nazi era to the Federal Republic and the GDR. The history of vaccination is one of fears and hopes. In the fight against smallpox, diphtheria, and polio, against tuberculosis, measles, or influenza, Germans negotiated images of man and models of society, ideas of security and the future. This article therefore focuses on disputes between politicians and entrepreneurs, doctors and scientists, journalists, and parents. From the 19th century to the present day, they argue about the opportunities and risks of the immunized society.

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