An English translation of German author Norman Ohler’s book, Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany, is due to reach bookshops this month. The book discusses how narcotics pervaded Nazi society and helped soldiers overcome exhaustion during lightning campaigns and, later in the war, during desperate retreats.
A blurb of the Amazon book company notes that according to Ohler’s bestseller, “the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience, even partly explaining German victory in 1940.”
“In the beginning the army didn’t realize Pervitin was a drug: soldiers thought it was just like drinking coffee,” the book notes.
Millions of tablets were produced before the invasion of France in May 1940 to fight fatigue and stimulate motivation. Ohler claims that drug use impaired decision-making at the end of the war, when Hitler and his entourage indulged in stimulants administered by Hitler’s physician, Dr. Morell.