Heil Hitler: The Nazi’s Drug Addiction

Today, I saw the WWII movie Dunkirk directed by Christopher Nolan. It’s an exceptional movie, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about one of the most important events in the war. What made this film exciting for me was the knowledge that hard-core drugs made Dunkirk a possibility. Did you know that Hitler was a hardcore drug addict? Did you know the blitzkrieg was only possible because of meth? Did you know Nazis were given speed balls before kamikaze submarine missions? All of these questions are explained in the international bestseller Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler. I highly recommend this book because it completely changed my perspective on Nazi Germany. Up until this book, I saw the Nazis as superhuman- zealot nationalists who performed their tasks through the spirit of their beliefs; now I understand that their relentless drive came from drugs which kept them motivated, alert, and addicted to the war machine.

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In 1938, the German pharmaceutical company Temmler introduced Pervitin to the market. Pervitin was marketed as a magic medicine that provided energy, happiness, and the work ethic needed to expand the Third Reich. The magic of Pervitin lied in its main ingredient – methamphetamine aka Crystal Meth. This meth was available to all Germans and was given to soldiers in healthy doses during the blitzkrieg invasion of France. The blitzkrieg was only possible with Pervitin because the soldiers were able to go three days without sleep – the French soldiers couldn’t comprehend the artificial stamina of their opponents. The German tanks kept rolling because of the drugged soldier’s synthetic feelings of invincibility, and they ended up surrounding the Allies like a boa constrictor. The only escape route available for over 300,000 Allies was the coastal city of Dunkirk, France.

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Hitler, early on in his power, suffered from a host of stomach ailments which were probably due to stress and his diet. He searched for a doctor to help him, but no expert could help his infirmities; there was one doctor however that tried a different approach – his name was Theodor Morell. Morell gave Hitler vitamin injections which helped Hitler’s stomach issues – these injections quickly secured him as the Fuhrer’s personal physician. At the time of Dunkirk, Hitler was being lifted up by these daily vitamin injections which propelled his ego and narcissism – he halted the blitzkrieg because he didn’t want the military acting without his orders – in the end allowing all the allies to escape. By 1941, Hitler was in need of stronger drugs; Morell began a regimen of vitamins, animal hormones (Hitler was a strict vegetarian), and Eukodal. Eukodal is better known today as oxycodone – the fraternal twin to heroin.

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It didn’t take long before Hitler was addicted to these injections and by 1943 he was receiving even more drugs several times a day – high-grade cocaine, morphine, testosterone, and meth. Most of the high ranking Nazi staff were receiving similar injections from Morell while statewide propaganda ironically decried the drugs as “Jewish” poison not fit for the Aryan race. By the time of Hitler’s suicide in 1945, Morell had injected the “role model of Nazi health” over 800 times with 74 different substances. In the last years of his life, Hitler was receiving so many injections that he had track marks running up and down his veins. It was said that when Hitler received his injections, a cracking noise could be heard from his damaged vasculature and his blood oozed like gelatin because of its continuous exposure to animal hormones.

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The German army as a whole continued to receive state sanctioned meth throughout the war. The Third Reich would eventually experiment with cocaine and heroine – soldiers were given combinations of these three drugs to keep them fighting even when faced with utter defeat. Drugs were a tool for the Nazis and helped them accomplish superhuman tasks like the blitzkrieg, but in the end, both leaders and soldiers became burned out by their fleeting effects. Hitler was fueled by drugs, but drugs did not lead to the events of the Holocaust. Hitler’s hatred of the Jews began long before his first injection – as a healthy young man he dreamed of their extermination. The drugs hurt the Nazis more than anything. If Hitler weren’t addicted to drugs, he would have made less poor military decisions and prolonged the war – allowing greater time to kill victims in the concentration camps. Drugs in the Third Reich provided the energy for terror at the beginning of the fight but not the stamina needed for marathon fighting – oddly enough,  Morell was the Allies best weapon. 

“Hitler would go as white as a sheet and tightly clench his jaws, while his eyes would dilate. Everyone in his entourage would get panicky because these fits were always followed by an order to dismiss or to execute somebody.”
-Theodor Morell

Rock Star Nurse

Whenever I get sick I turn into a three year old. Whining, tantrums, and self-pity all intermingle with my nose blowing, coughing, and aches. They say men are babies when they get sick. This is 100% true and I may take more advantage of the stereotype because my wife is a nurse.  Christina is a Psychiatric Nurse who enjoys working with mentally unstable patients; her desire to help the mentally ill may be why she found me so attractive. Christina is patient, caring, and simply a rock-star nurse. She is the type of nurse you would beg to have if you were sick in the hospital. There are a lot of mean nurses that really should change careers or retire; to get a truly compassionate and competent nurse is a blessing. Simply put, Christina is the Filipina version of Florence Nightingale. She has to treat people who many times don’t know where they are and what is truly real. There have been stories of patients smashing their heads against the wall, patients running around the unit butt naked, and patients selling sex for pain medications. This all happens during an exhausting 12 hour shift with very little time for rest. A nurse has to chart everything that happens to their patients which makes the paperwork absolutely horrendous. Added to the incessant documenting, nurses must contend with disrespectful and egotistical doctors. Doctors are notorious for belittling and berating nurses in extremely unprofessional manners. I know some doctors are excellent but in general that profession is made up of those who were good at studying but not good at communicating.

Our society idealizes doctors for their intelligence, composure, and god-like power. On the contrary, we should idolize our nurses because they are the ones who truly treat the patients. If you are admitted to the hospital, 90% of the care you receive will come from a nurse. The doctor will pop in for 5 minutes and if you’re lucky you’ll receive mediocre bedside manner. The nurse is the one who comes to your call light. The nurse is the one who cleans up your crap. The nurse is the one who sits down with your family to explain care. There is no other career that combines so much responsibility with so little respect. We need doctors to get off their high horses and work with nurses as a symbiotic team-not a authoritarian dictatorship. If you think I am exaggerating these claims just take 15 minutes to talk with a nurse-you will be enlightened with a plethora of anecdotes. We take for granted the care we receive and many times forget that nurses are overworked and unappreciated.  I want to thank all the nurses out there for doing what you do. Christina goes to work and is responsible for multiple human lives all while balancing paperwork, mean doctors, and naked people running through the halls. Thank you Christina for taking care of me when I am sick and taking care of people that truly need your awesome skills.