Drugs: The Influence of Mind-altering Substances on Society, Part 1

How Drugs Affected Hitler and Fueled the Nazi War Machine


by ANDREW ARNETT

It is widely acknowledged that Hitler was a homicidal psychopath, with some experts diagnosing him as having suffered from bi-polar disorder and a split personality. In addition, he was a manic depressive hypochondriac.

What is less discussed is his drug addiction and, more importantly, how drugs may have exacerbated his mental condition, influencing his judgement and thus, affecting the course of human society itself.

A U.S. military commissioned report on Hitler which included interviews with six of his doctors and personal physician revealed that Hitler was being fed up to 28 drugs a day. These drugs included strong psychoactive compounds such as methamphetamine, cocaine, Eukodol (Oxycodone), morphine, Oxedrine Tartrate, potassium bromide, Prophenazone, Atropa belladonna, Atropine, caffeine, Glyconorm, Mutaflor, odium barbitone, sulfonamide, and testosterone.

In addition to this mind searing regimen, Hitler was doing a daily uptake of rat poison, strychnine, rendered animal placenta, and injecting bull semen so as to keep up the virility of the quintessential Ubermensch.

The part these drugs played in Hitler’s decision making process can only be a matter of conjecture. In general however, we can safely assume they had a profound effect. Methamphetamine alone is associated with euphoria, self-confidence, grandiosity, and obsessive behaviors in addition to anxiety, depression, suicide, and methamphetamine psychosis.

We indeed can see a little bit of Hitler in all of these varying manifestations of the drug.

Hitler’s main supplier for this toxic diet came from Nazi doctor Theodore Morell, a licensed gynecologist who was known for his unconventional treatments and success with curing syphilis.

Hitler met Morell in 1936 and after the doctor cured him of his chronic stomach pains, Hitler made him his personal physician.

Hitler was so enamored by Morell that he insinuated him upon his own inner circle, including Nazi leaders Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering. Both of these men however, summarily dismissed Morrell as a quack.

Suspicious of the doctor, Himmler had one of his SS agents surreptitiously acquire a packet of Morrell’s “Vitamultin,” which Morrell was using to inject Hitler with on a daily basis. The results of the lab test found them to contain non other than methamphetamine.

Hitler, 1938 (Life)

Goering nicknamed Morell Der Reichsspritzenmeister, meaning The Reich’s Injections Master.” Though Goering did not curry favor with Hitler’s own doctor feel good, he nonetheless kept busy with his own predilections, namely maintaining a prodigious heroin addiction in keeping with his own grandiose persona and magnanimous lust for life.

Goering, founder of the Gestapo, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, Reichsmarschall to all Wehrmacht commanders, was the number two man in the Nazi hierarchy, second only to Hitler himself.

Goering was a hero fighter pilot in World War One, and was commander of the same squadron formerly led by the Red Baron.

During a failed coup in 1923 known as the Beer Hall Putsch, Goering sustained an injury which he treated with the aid of morphine. He acquired an addiction from that time, and continued to use morphine consistantly until his incarceration in 1945. Prior to the Nuremberg trial, Goering was using up to four grains (320 mg) of morphine a day.

In 1934, Goering commisioned a portrait of himself by a Jewish artist named Goth, who was a friend of Goering at the time. Upon seeing the painting, Goering was dismayed, feeling that “the eyes betrayed the fact that he was taking morphine.”

Goering demanded Goth alter the portrait but Goth refused this request, insisting that he would paint only what he could see, and not render a ‘dishonest’ vision of his subject. Shortly after, Goth fled to Britain in fear for his life.

The painting went on sale at Ludlow Racecourse, Shrops., on February 14, 2013 with a reserve price of 8000 pounds.

Mullock’s historical documents expert Richard Westwood-Brookes stated: “The historical significance of this portrait cannot be denied. As opposed to the official Nazi portraits of Goering, this shows him exactly what he was, a depraved drug addict, and for that reason I personally think it should be displayed publicly to show successive generations exactly what the Nazis really were, as opposed to their now more familiar propaganda images.”

Hermann Goering by Goth (1934)

What’s good for the goose, so it seems, is good for the gander. The Nazi leadership didn’t confine their drug use to themselves but rather, plied it upon the German military and their civilian population as well.

The Wehrmacht was high on drugs, being supplied with millions of tablets of Pervitin, a methamphetamine drug developed in 1938 by the Berlin-based Temmler pharmaceutical company. In the spring of 1940 alone, 35 million tablets of Pervitin were shipped to the German army and airforce. Pervitin also became a national best seller amongst the German civilian population.

In addition to this, the German leadership liberally dispensed alcohol and opiates to their troops, in the hopes that drugging their soldiers would give them an edge over the Allies.

But apparently, methamphetamine wasn’t quiet strong enough for the high standards of Nazi commanders. In 1944, Vice-Admiral Hellmuth Heye requested a drug “that can keep soldiers ready for battle when they are asked to continue fighting beyond a period considered normal, while at the same time boosting their self-esteem.”

Going back to the drawing board, German pharmacologists invented a pill code-named D-IX. It contained five milligrams of cocaine, three milligrams of Pervitin and five milligrams of Eukodal (opoid-based painkiller).

This experimental drug cocktail made it possible for soldiers to hoof up to 90 kilometers a day whilst humping a 20 kilogram backpack. The results made Nazi doctors jittery with excitement and plans were made to supply all German troops with the drug. Alas, the end of the war came before it could reach the battle field.

One can only wonder how the war would have turned out if those Nazi soldiers got a hold of that miracle pill.

Like what you read? Give Andrew Arnett a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.