Blitzed: Newly Translated Book Will Show How Crystal Meth Sustained the Third Reich in World War Two

Methamphetamine used by German soldiers during World War II. Source: quapan / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr (left), Wikipedia/ Public Domain (right)

According to Norman Ohler, the Nazi Blitzkrieg of WWII was a drug induced rampage sustained by methamphetamine-based drugs. Ohler’s book, “Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany,” has been translated from the original German and the English version is due for release on the 6th October 2016.

Ohler has researched the subject both in Germany and in the USA and has concluded that the Nazi regime produced large quantities of a drug named Pervitin, originally named Volksdroge or “the people’s drug” and permitted it to be sold without prescription through chemist shops. The high-quality methamphetamine pill (also known as crystal meth) unsurprisingly became rampant through not only the armed forces but all strata of society.

Initially, it was not recognised as a drug, and it was commonly believed to be no more addictive than coffee, but tests conducted by the Army proved what it was and how it affected the fighting man. In 1939, the German hierarchy ordered 35 million tablets to be manufactured immediately before the German invasion of France in May 1940. The use of this drug heightened the feeling of euphoria and encouraged the troops to drive through the French countryside towards Paris. Additionally, toward the end of the war, Hitler and his staff took increasingly virulent cocktails of drugs mixed by Theodor Morell, Hitler’s personal physician.

As Hitler and the Nazi regime had set themselves up as bastions of morality, it is surprising to find out that the use of drugs had so permeated all levels of German society. With the modern understanding of the confusion sown by the use of these types of drugs, it is remarkable that any decisions were made while under their thrall.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE