The Complete History of Nazi German Speed Freaks

Joe Duncan

Actual Nazis and meth…whatever could go wrong?

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Behind the battle lines of the Nazi war machine in the 1930s and 1940s was a secret, not-often-discussed weapon that surprised the allies continually throughout the war; one that must’ve remained invisible to allied troops whose job it was to retake Europe.

The weapon, of course, wasn’t something that came in the shape of a bullet, bomb, or missile, but something else. It was the vast lines of supplies that fed methamphetamine to the Nazi soldiers on the front line. It’s what would prove to be one of the most deadly and terrifying mixes in the history of the world, the unbridled racism of the German Nazis in the Second World War, and methamphetamine, a drug that often causes a total breakdown in reasoning and a psychotic disconnect with reality.

Crystal meth today has destroyed many communities all over the world, almost without exception. We’re starting to see meth problems crop up in places that were formerly unthinkable, places like Iran and Iraq, nations which don’t strike us a drug havens, absent the Western values we all tend to associate with Hedonistic party lifestyles and individualist debauchery.

While methamphetamine ravages cities by creating addicts, it got its start by ravaging cities the old fashion way, by serving as the fuel of the Nazi war machine that tore whole nations apart. Something had to make the Blitzkrieg possible in the first place, right? Right.

German History

The history of methamphetamine is about as German as Oktoberfest, with both amphetamine proper and methamphetamine being invented by German chemists, with the former being first synthesized by the industrious Germans in the late 19th-century, just as Bayer Pharmaceuticals was producing another drug that would later rock the world, diacetylmorphine, also known by its brand name, Heroin.

While amphetamine has been around since the late 1800s, it wouldn’t be until decades later, after the First World War, that amphetamine would make a breakthrough as a commercial product available to the masses.

German chemistry was just really advanced in the decades leading up to the World Wars and it heavily influenced German life and German productivity alike.

The Early Daze of Amphetamine

Making its way through polite circles of high-brow intellectual society, amphetamine was first sold in over-the-counter inhalers that artists, poets, writers, and thinkers would inhale to get a creative boost, with Benzedrine being the brand name that rocked the world in the early 1930s. From here, it was only a matter of time before this cocktail of destruction would come into full swing and its also no wonder the early 20th-century was such a ridiculously productive time, between Freud and his ilk with their incessant cocaine use and over-the-counter amphetamine inhalers, creative types had everything they needed to push themselves to the absolute limits of ability.

Drug Cocktails

Back in the 1920s, America was having its “roaring twenties” era, just as the then-Weimar Republic in Germany was experiencing a similarly liberal boom, with drugs and loud music being the norm, something the Nazis would push back against and try to destroy with a ferocity unmatched even today. This era, however, is a large part of what fueled the industrialist growth of both nations, with all the corporatism, greed, and excesses one could imagine having to show for it. In the Weimar Republic, smoking, drinking, and drugs were the norm and were accepted as a new way of life. Better living through chemistry, right?

Morphine, heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine all fueled contemporary society of the day and were staples in the drug diets of millions of users the world over.

Nazi Liberalism?

Interestingly, when the Nazis first came to power, attitudes towards drugs didn’t change much throughout the 1930s. They inherited the liberal attitudes towards drugs that the prior government of the Weimar Republic had. As things progressed, however, they (almost predictably) began to develop a double-standard, denouncing drugs as being “Jewish,” and considering addiction to be something that happened to Jewish people and thus making them inferior, all the while, members of the party enjoyed the kind of drug usage that came with the kind of elitism the Nazis had. I bet Freud was pissed.

Pervitin Meth

That’s when Pervitin hit the scene, and while Pervitin might sound like a quaint little drug that would treat your plaque psoriasis, it was really just straight-up meth in pill form. Hitler, believing himself to be genetically superior and all and thus immune to addiction, used to take basically anything he could get his hands on, including opiates, testosterone, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and reportedly injected bull semen to boost his sex life.

The 20th-century was wild.

It was a common belief of the day that bull semen would give you the virility of the bull, like a makeshift, medieval form of Viagra. Thankfully no one today still practices this.

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The Double-Standard Rationalization of Drug Use

The double-standard became more pronounced when the Nazis criminalized drugs as something abhorrent and “Jewish.” But by this time, Hitler himself was already a raving drug addict pumping himself full of anything he could get his hands on, including bull semen, and the only way to marry these two worldviews in a coherent system was to pull a Republican Party and just totally gloss over any inconvenient contradictions as if they didn’t exist.

Drugs were illegal for civilians, but Nazi military and party officials were exempt from these laws. Actually, beyond this, the men of the military were specifically ordered to take drugs, especially the brand new Pervitin that was all the rage, something that would dramatically aid in the speed of Nazi attacks when the time came for the Invasion of Poland.

The Nazi Invasion of Poland

In September of 1939, the invasion of Poland began, and thanks to the speed of the attacks with their newly developed Blitzkrieg warfare, the conquest was brief and brutal. It was only a matter of days before the Nazi war machine had torn through the Polish nation. It’s almost as if the troops weren’t sleeping or something and could just march for days on end.

Nazi Meth Addiction

Letters from the era have been documented and stored in historical archives and guess what was just about the most frequent topic of discussion when troops wrote home to their families…asking for more Pervitin.

The troops loved their meth pills so much they often requested their families to send them some so they could have a backup supply. The soldiers were all getting hooked on government-mandated meth.

The Nazis had become full-blown tweakers at this point and the war was to go on, two things that arguably influenced one another, meaning the Nazis were partying like college frat boys in the middle of World War 2, high out of their minds, shooting at anything and everything that stood in their way.

The Nazi Invasion of France

But Poland was just the warm-up round for what would be the much larger, more ambitious invasions to come, starting with the invasion of France. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Nazis were preparing themselves, ordering an astonishing 35 million Pervitin tablets to be made so they could unleash fury like unstoppable killing machines. The French and their English allies, on the other hand, had no idea what hit them and before you know it, France was under Nazi control.

The African Theater of the War

But the Nazis didn’t just conquer Europe, they also invaded Africa, and Africa would become another theater in the war in its own right, considering much of Africa was colonized at the outset of World War 2. The famous Nazi German tank commander Erwin Rommel was the man who led the African theater for the German side of the war effort and he called meth tablets, “Thy daily bread,” it was such an important staple of his tank regiments. Ahh, yes, the body of Christ, indeed.

Every day, troops would dose up on meth tablets in the form of Pervitin, a tool that allowed them to fight for up to twenty-four hours straight.

There was simply no way for Allied troops to keep up and this prompted the French, British, and American forces to all adopt their own policy of taking regular amphetamine tablets, distributing them to troops of the front line in order to keep up with all the Germans tweaked out of their minds on meth.

The Great Downfall

But all of this drug use eventually would lead to some darker times ahead. As with almost all drug use (and all shortcuts in life, generally), this master plan of drugged out super soldiers worked for quite a while before the frontline soldiers began to feel the dark sides of the drug.

While methamphetamine causes intense energy, ecstatic pleasure, and total euphoria, staying awake and alert for days and days on end eventually leads to a disconnect from reality and sometimes total psychosis. Especially over time, this led to severe brain and nerve damage in the Nazi forces, forcing many of them to go through full-blown drug withdrawal in the middle of a war, or, God forbid, a battle.

Withdrawal

With bullets whizzing by their heads and mortar shells exploding all around them, their confidence and strength began to melt away, as the drugs that fueled the war effort began to take heavy tolls on the most fundamental unit of war: the soldiers who fight.

And while the soldiers were high and suffering on the battlefields, leadership was still not exempt from all of this and were the high-society Nazi socialites that you’d expect them to be, with Hitler wasted virtually the entire war, especially on meth.

High Hitler

There’s an interesting story about a meeting between Hitler and then-Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The story goes that Mussolini had set up the meeting between the two in order to try to convince Hitler to allow him to back out of the Second World War. The allied forces had just landed in Sicily and things weren’t looking good for Italy, a military that had already been ravaged in the African theater, reduced to a mere embarrassment. The Italian people no longer wanted to be a part of the war and Mussolini didn’t have their support.

Hitler arrived but just prior to their meeting, he took what the Germans called Panzerschokolade, or “tank chocolate” in English, the good old fashion Pervitin meth tablets. Mussolini didn’t end up getting a single word in while Hitler berated him high on meth for hours. Maybe the salute should’ve been High Hitler because Hitler certainly was high just about all the time.

His addiction spiraled out of control in a way that puts modern rock stars to shame, being prescribed up to eighty drugs per day, with meth being a staple of his narcotic diet. He would end up using drugs all the way up until the collapse of the Eastern Front and the end of the war where he committed suicide and died as the Soviet War Machine stood at the foot of Berlin.

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