Leora Auslander’s “’National Taste?’ Citizenship Law, State Form, and Everyday Aesthetics in Modern France and Germany, 1920-1940” described the way in which the French and German nations had dealt with the issue of identity and citizenship, specifically in terms of the Jewish populations. This text illustrated the similarities between Parisian and Berliner Jews and the larger French and German populations. These groups were marginalized in various and different ways in each country, but, through analyzing personal belongs and furnishings, Auslander discovered a cultural cohesion throughout the groups. Because the Jews and the non-Jewish French and German populations decorated their houses in much the same way (the French decorated similarly, but their style was different from that of the German populations), indicating that these populations (German or French versus Jewish) were not fundamentally different as many eugenicists had argued during this same era.
Throughout the Interwar Period especially, eugenics evolved and advanced as an area of study that gained more and more influence in politics. In Chapter Four of Breeding Superman, the author, Dan Stone argues that eugenics held a key place in British politics throughout the beginning of the 20th Century, as the Empire fought to preserve its strength. This same argument can be applied to France and Germany during this period. Both countries became more concerned with the strength of their populations, especially in light of the massive loses caused by World War I. Each of these three countries defined citizenship differently, though each definition inherently placed some groups above others. The Jews in each case were understood to be inferior to the “native” population. In France, however, this argument became more complex as there was a hierarchy between French Jews and foreign Jews. (This distinction would prove to be very important as both the Occupied and Non-occupied Zones began to deport Jews in 1942.)
Eugenics was not the sole factor in this hierarchy. Auslander explains in “’National Taste?’” that culture was another very important aspect in determining national identity. Citizenship in France became directly linked to culture as the law changed to jus soli (citizenship determined by territory of birth). That is not to say, however, that eugenics did not influence the French during this period. Eugenics shaped politics or political thought throughout most of Europe. While many aspects of eugenics were racist, as Stone acknowledges, this was not forcibly the case; today, people across the world view eugenics in a very negative light due to the policies and actions of Nazi Germany during the war.