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Nazi Soldiers On Crystal Meth Really Put The ‘Blitz’ In Blitzkrieg
Imagine an army made up of soldiers that could go days without sleep, had endless aggression, and weren’t afraid of anything. In the early days of World War II, a Berlin-based drugmaker called Temmler Werke produced a pharmaceutical that made German soldiers fearless in battle. That drug was crystal meth.
German author Norman Ohler’s recently released book, “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich,” paints a picture of Nazi Germany that diverts wildly from accepted history. In his version, the country’s citizens and soldiers weren’t just high on furor for their Führer; they were also doped up on methamphetamine.
Through close examination of interviews and documents that hadn’t previously been considered, Ohler uncovered new details about how German “super soldiers” were just ordinary men with a steady supply of methamphetamine, which at the time was called Pervitin. Though critics feel his account is overblown because Ohler is a novelist, not a historian, the evidence he provides throughout the book is nonetheless compelling.
Task & Purpose was able to sit down with Ohler to discuss his discovery, and just how pervasive Pervitin was in German society circa-World War II.
“Fatigue was the biggest enemy of the soldier,” Ohler said. “The people who had been taking Pervitin didn’t tire as easily.”
Throughout the course of the war, soldiers took millions of Pervitin pills on the front lines, calling it everything from Panzerschokolade (“tank chocolate”) to “the miracle pill.”
“Methamphetamine really became the drug of choice for the German army,” Ohler said.
When it was first distributed to the troops, Pervitin was chaotically ingested during the Blitzkrieg against Poland. In the later offensive against France, use of the drug was regulated but still widespread.
“Thirty-five million tablets were being distributed to the troops, especially the tank troops leading the advance into France,” he said.
Later on, the German Army used a form of methamphetamine on wounded soldiers as well.
Temmler Werke was able to produce Pervitin throughout the war. It was deemed a necessary pharmaceutical by the government, and money was dedicated to ensuring its continued production.
“Pervitin was classified as decisive for the war in 1941,” Ohler said.
The use of methamphetamine by soldiers was a huge contradiction in Nazi Germany, which preached “physical, mental, and moral purity.”
“There were officials who recognized this contradiction and tried to stop the massive abuse of Pervitin,” he said, “but on the practical level, they didn’t care.”
The Germans’ use of Pervitin wasn’t without its problems. Methamphetamine is a dangerously addictive drug with disastrous side effects. Some soldiers died of heart failure, while others developed addictions that lasted well beyond the war.
But it was just the soldiers. Ohler says Adolf Hitler had addictive habits as well, but his vice came in the form of cocaine and and heroin injections. His increasingly erratic behavior toward the end of the war mimicked that of a usual junkie — paranoid, agitated, and unreliable.
“Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) is available for purchase now.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.