It might not surprise you to find out that Hitler was addicted to opiates. | Image Source: NBC News

Was Adolf Hitler a Drug Addict?

Most definitely. Adolf Hitler was addicted to methamphetamines as well as a plethora of other drugs during his time as a political leader.

Sona Kerim
Jul 6, 2020 · 4 min read

It goes without saying that we view the Holocaust as an atrocious event, and this article is in no way blaming Hitler’s drug-use for the atrocities he committed. But, it is interesting to see what state a man such as Adolf Hitler was really in.

We often hear about his ability to get a crowd going with his passionate speeches, or that he came into power at just the right time when the German people were looking for salvation.

It’s quite apparent that Hitler’s physical and mental health deteriorated throughout his reign, and it’s not far off to say he had really “lost it”. But how far gone was he?

Let’s go on a brief journey of Hitler’s physical and mental condition, take a look at what drugs he was taking regularly and how it impacted the soldiers of the Nazi regime.

Hitler’s Health

There is quite a lot of documentation regarding Hitler’s health, in particular, that he suffered from IBS (or similar digestive difficulties), and as a result, was on quite a strict vegan/vegetarian diet.

There is some speculation that he might have also suffered from Parkinson's disease in his later years. Some even suggest that he would keep one hand under his other arm when he spoke publicly to hide the tremors.

His mental and physical health only worsened over time, and according to medical records left behind by his physician Dr. Theordo Morells, he was dependant on quite a few substances to keep him going. These include a mix of vitamins, cocaine, and other opioids.

Doctor Theodor Morell

Morell was actually considered a quack by most, but he had had an impact on Hitler and quickly became his trusted physician. Morell was well known for vitamin injections and promoting a healthy diet for his patients. Hitler was suffering from intestinal problems and Morell recommended a bacteria-based medicine for his IBS (we still see similar medications being used today). Hitler liked his ideals and hired him as his full-time doctor.

Not much is known about Morell, but there is a story that Hitler was expected to give an important speech in 1941 and was so ill he was not going to be able to make it. That day Morell gave him something more than vitamins — opiates and a hormone injection, to be exact. Hitler, who was feeling poorly earlier, suddenly came back to life and felt strong enough to go to the meeting with the military generals.

Hitler was amazed by this immediate recovery and began requesting these opiates regularly.

According to Norman Ohler’s book Blitzed, Morell described Hitler’s drug-use in 3 phases.

  1. Vitamins were given in high doses intravenously
  2. That moment when Hitler received his first opiate and hormone injections
  3. Heavy opiate consumption

Drugs in Nazi Germany

The use of methamphetamines was popular during WWII, and not just in Nazi Germany. There is also documentation that shows similar drugs were used by the allies.

Why methamphetamines you might ask? Well, when it came to Hitler, he needed soldiers who were fearless and who didn’t tire easily.

This lead to a pill version of methamphetamines, that was being manufactured in factories throughout occupied Germany. These pills were even available over the counter for a short time. Pervitin, basically the pill form of crystal meth, was considered to be a magic medicine that could prevent depression, made people more alert, and in the case of soldiers, made them fighting machines.

The widespread distribution of Pervitin, which hit the market in 1938, meant that nazi soldiers were able to fight longer, fight harder, and it was even said that the drug made it so that they did not feel empathy.

Drugs are bad, mmkay

Throughout history, we see several instances of drugs being prescribed to soldiers, from WWII to the Vietnam War and beyond. The experiences of soldiers often cause serious mental illnesses, and it’s easier for a government to pump their soldiers full of drugs while they’re fighting than to have empathetic soldiers who have difficulty dealing with the horrors they’re experiencing.

Hitler himself was amazed by the impact the drugs had on his health and his ability to cope with his ailments, and we must remember that methamphetamines were no criminalized at this time and did not carry the same stigma they do today.

There is so much more that can be said about this topic, but I just wanted to share some basic insights about Hitler’s drug-use and the distribution of opioids to soldiers during the second world war.

I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned from your research! There are loads of great documentaries on this topic and just as many articles. Let’s share what we know in the comments, and feel free to fill in any gaps that I left in this article.

This blog is written out of the l❤️ve of History and sharing knowledge!

Sona Kerim is a Copywriter and Educator who has degrees in History, Philosophy, and Education.

You can find her on Linked In or Facebook or Instagram!

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