Were the highs and lows of the Third Reich and Hitler, drug induced? Did Hitler never see a sober day?
A new bestselling book by Norman Ohler, a German novelist, claims that methamphetamine (also “meth“) blitzed Nazi Germany and the Third Reich. The strong opiates were responsible for the incredible stamina the German forces showed during the war, says the author.
The book “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich” was first published in Germany in 2015 and has been since translated into 18 languages. Recently translated also into English, the book is now set for release in the United States.
Ohler has authored two other books and this is his first non-fiction work. Many question the authenticity of his work, given the fact that he is not a historian.
Besides, blaming it all on meth may look like the author is attempting to absolve the Nazi regime of its many crimes.
The author is also a journalist and screenwriter. He admits to having tried drugs during his school days and later in life, although he did not get addicted.
The Beginnings of the Blitzing during The Third Reich
Ohler traces back the origin of the blitzing to the introduction of a drug called Pervitin. Pervitin is a synthetic version of the drug methamphetamine. According to the author it “landed like a bomb, spread like a virus, sold like sliced bread, and was soon as much of a fixture as a cup of coffee.”
Dealing with dictatorship and the incessant war was nothing less of a monstrous challenge to the soldiers in Nazi Germany. Popping meth helped them to remain alert, and in fact, it made sleep unnecessary!
History shows that, prior to 1924, drug use was liberal in Germany. Poverty-stricken families bought and sold them, says Robert McAlmon, an American author. McAlmon lived in Berlin during the Nazi era.
About 40 % of the world’s morphine came from companies in Germany in the 1920s. Germany also controlled 80 percent of the global cocaine market. Drugs like morphine and cocaine were freely available. Even pharmacists recommended them for serious ailments.
In the following years, drugs became associated with Jews. Drug use became frowned upon. The year 1924 saw cocaine banned, and drugs were no longer available as freely.
It all changed after the Olympic Games in 1936. An amphetamine called Benzedrine was successfully used to enhance the performance of athletes.
Dr. Fritz Hauschild, a chemist in Berlin, first developed Pervitin. It was the first synthetic meth in Germany. Temmler Werke, the pharma company that Dr. Fritz worked for, took up the promotion of the drug.
It didn’t take too much time for Pervitin to reach the soldiers in the war front. The soldiers, according to Ohler, took to the drug in a big way.
Meth causes an adrenaline kick and fights exhaustion. It provides an unending supply of stimulation. So effective were the short-term effects that the Army High Command ordered Temmler Werke to produce 35 million tablets.
The many uses of Pervitin
Testing the impact of Pervitin began soon enough. On May 10, 1940, army vehicles gathered near the border at Luxemburg in an attempt to reach France. Ohler says soldiers received Pervitin to remain awake and alert for this operation.
The high dose of neurotransmitters, dopamine, and noradrenalin did their work. They took away the soldier’s need to sleep. After going sleepless for three days, the soldiers entered France. This took the allies totally by surprise.
Ohler writes in his book that the land that these German soldiers claimed in three days far exceeded what they could during the entire time span of world war one.
Described as a health freak, Hitler would not touch alcohol or even coffee. He was also a strict vegetarian. However, Hitler was allegedly pumped with Pervitin by his personal doctor, Dr. Theodor Morell.
Dr. Morell supposedly only specialized in skin and venereal diseases. He allegedly treated Hitler over a period of nine years.
Hitler, according to the records, did not have any major ailment. But he complained of feeling plagued with severe stomach pains and gas at times. Dr. Morell developed his own vitamin and other hormone-based drugs. Ohler claims he was regularly injecting Hitler with them.
The dictator suffered an attack of stomach pain prior to the scheduled meeting with Mussolini. The meeting was to persuade the Italian leader to not withdraw his troops.
Dr. Morell, claims Ohler, injected Hitler with an Oxycodone-based drug called Eukadol. Eukadol is twice as strong as morphine. Hitler dominated the meeting and was able to prevail upon Mussolini to stay in the war.
He administered the same injection multiple times between 1941 and 1944, says Ohler. Hitler also allegedly received a cocktail of drugs including strychnine, cocaine, and meth.
Hitler exhibited erratic and sometimes maniacal behaviors. These included ordering pies in the middle of the night and having odd working hours.
Ohler attributes drug addiction as the root cause of the mania. He claims that the unending optimism and confidence that Hitler always exuded in his briefings was the result of the cocktail of drugs he was on.
The Final Days of the Third Reich
During the last days of the Fuhrer and the Third Reich, allied bombing destroyed the company which manufactured meth and cocaine. And according to Ohler, Hitler suffered from severe withdrawal symptoms and became suicidal.
Ohler says that the footage available of the last days of Hitler shows that he experienced severe hand and body tremors. While some experts believe Hitler had Parkinson’s, Ohler still puts up a case of withdrawal symptoms.
In the days leading up to his suicide, another specialist gave fifty cocaine injections to Hitler, according to Ohler.