In his bestselling book, “Der Totale Rausch” (The full Rush)—recently released in English as “Blitzed”—Ohler uncovered that countless in the Nazi regime offered drugs regularly, from the soldiers the the Wehrmacht (German equipped forces) all the means up come Hitler himself. The use of methamphetamine, better known as crystal meth, was particularly prevalent: A pill type of the drug, Pervitin, was distributed by the millions come Wehrmacht troops prior to the successful intrusion of France in 1940.
You are watching: Drugs given to soldiers in ww2
Developed by the Temmler pharmaceutical company, based in Berlin, Pervitin was presented in 1938 and also marketed as a magic pill for alertness and also an anti-depressive, amongst other uses. It to be briefly even obtainable over the counter. A army doctor, otto Ranke, experimented with Pervitin ~ above 90 college students and also decided, based on his results, the the drug would assist Germany win the war. Using Pervitin, the soldiers the the Wehrmacht could stay awake for days in ~ a time and also march many much more miles there is no resting.
Nazi leadership, c. 1940. Theodore Morell is fourth from right. (Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R99057 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)
A so-called “stimulant decree” authorize in April 1940 sent more than 35 million tablets of Pervitin and Isophan (a slightly modified version produced by the Knoll pharmaceutical company) of the pills come the former lines, where they fueled the Nazis’ “Blitzkrieg” invasion of France through the Ardennes mountains. It should be provided that Germans were no alone in their use of performance-enhancing drugs during human being War II. Ally soldiers were known to usage amphetamines (speed) in the type of Benzedrine in bespeak to fight combat fatigue.
See more: Do The Blue Angels Still Fly, New In 2021: Blue Angels To Start Flying F/A
When it concerned Nazi leaders, Ohler’s research study suggested, they all favored your own details drugs the choice. In one interview through VICE as soon as his publication was very first published in Germany, Ohler clarified: “Not every one of them take it every drug. Some more, part less. Several of them were on methamphetamine—for example, ernst Udet, the chef of aircraft Procurement and also Supply. Others to be on strong anesthetics, prefer Göring, whose nickname was in reality ‘Möring,’ native morphine.”
Ohler, one award-winning novelist and screenwriter, had initially to plan to create a novel about the Nazis’ long-rumored drug use. However his plans readjusted when he found the thorough records left by Dr. Theodor Morell, Hitler’s personal physician. He ended up spending years studying Morell’s records in the commonwealth Archive in Koblenz, the Institute because that Contemporary gendergeek.org in Munich and the national Archives in Washington, D.C., and deciding to emphasis on truth instead that fiction.
Hitler presents Morell the Knight’s Cross, c. 1944. (Credit: Heinrich Hoffmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images)