Nazi Soldiers
Nazi soldiers were given a methamphetamine-based drug to keep them awake during the invasion of Poland and France during World War II. Wikipedia

In Der Totale Rausch (Total Rush), a new book published last week in Germany, claims to bare the secret to the energy that Nazi soldiers who invaded Poland and France had during the Second World War. According to the author, it was a methamphetamine-based drug called Pervitin which kept invading troops wide awake.

Developed by Nazi chemist Fritz Hauschild, Pervitin was an alternative stimulant "fit for the Aryan race" which Adolf Hitler had claimed to be superior. In the 1930s, Nazis were not in favour of recreational drugs such as cocaine, opium and morphine and even looked down on it as for Jews only.

Belfast Telegraph reports that Pervitin, patented by the Nazis, was initially marketed in 1937 as a pick-up pill designed to fight stress and fatigue. At the same time, it provided euphoric feelings. Norman Ohler, author of the book, explains, “In the beginning the army didn’t realise Pervitin was a drug: soldiers thought it was just like drinking coffee.”

When Nazi leaders saw how effective the drug was with the success of the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the army ordered 35 million tablets which it gave to troops that invaded France in spring of 1940. Pervitin was proven effective because in four days, Hitler’s tanks captured more land in France than it did during the four-year duration of the First World War.

General Erwin Rommel, considered WWII’s Desert Fox, took Pervitin daily. After the war, Hitler recognised Rommel by awarding him for his role as tank commander during the French invasion.

With the stimulant drug’s success in the battle field, the Nazis wanted Pervitin to match the popularity of Coca-Cola and made it available to housewives and their children back home by lacing chocolates with it. Methamphetamine is today’s crystal or shabu.

Even Hitler became a Pervitin addict by the time he committed suicide in 1945, Ohler wrote, thanks allegedly to his personal doctor Theodor Morell, who was actually Jewish but joined the Nazi using new identity documents. There were suspicions that something weird was going on with Hitler and various attempts were undertaken to force Morell to disclose what he gave his patient, but the physician rejected the move.

Ohler researched military records in Germany and the US for several months. Among the notes he discovered were Morrell’s, who wrote that he gave Hitler 800 injections of the stimulant drug over 1,349 days. Besides Pervitin, Hitler also was addicted to Eukodal, a narcotic that kills pain due to its strength twice that of morphine.

Ohler told Deutsche Welle that he became curious about the secret behind Germany’s Blitzkrieg after an underground Berlin DJ told him that Nazis took a lot of drugs.

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