It has been speculated that the Nazis used drugs in an effort to give themselves an edge during World War II. Now, we know that everyone in the German armed forces from the soldiers all the way up to Hitler himself partook in the consumption of drugs. The use of methamphetamine, or crystal meth was particularly rampant. Author, Norman Ohler, wrote a novel outlining all of the drug use in Nazi Germany.
Prior to the invasion of France in 1940, methamphetamine was distributed to the soldiers in the form of a pill. This pill was named Pervitin, and was created by a pharmaceutical company called Temmler. It was advertised as a drug for awareness and as an anti-depressive. Otto Ranke, a military doctor, tested the pill out on college students. After viewing his results, Ranke concluded that Previtin would help Germany win the war. While taking the pill, soldiers could stay awake for long periods of time while avoiding fatigue, allowing them to march further distances.
In 1940, over thirty-five million tablets of Previtin and another drug, Isophan (an altered version produced by a different pharmaceutical company), were distributed to the Nazi soldiers as part of the “stimulant decree.” Taken at the front lines, these pills fueled Blitzkrieg. Drug use wasn’t only widespread on the Nazi side; the allied forces were also known to take drugs, specifically amphetamines to avoid exhaustion.
The Nazi leaders all had their own particular drug of choice. Ernst Udet liked methamphetamine while Hermann Göring enjoyed morphine. He even gained the nickname Möring after his love of morphine. Hitler’s personal physician, Dr. Theodor Morell, left comprehensive records of the prominent drug use. According to Morell’s notes, the doctor injected Hitler with various drugs almost every day. These drugs included opiates, barbiturates, and amphetamines.
While Hitler may not have taken Pervitin, there were very few drugs he didn’t take. Dr. Theodor Morell’s notes suggest that he provided Hitler with over eight hundred drug injections. Among the drugs administered, Eukol stood out. Eukol is the German brand name for the synthetic form of oxycodone. Ohler suggests that Hitler was probably suffering from withdrawals at the time of his suicide do to the inability of Morell to find more drugs in the chaos of the city.
Hitler’s actions cannot be solely attributed to his drug addiction, as Mein Kamf was written well before his period of heavy drug consumption. However, some of his decisions throughout the war could have been heavily influenced by his use of drugs.