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.
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