There are so many weird facts out there about Adolf Hitler, the leader of the German Nazi Party and one of the most brutal dictators in modern history. The Nazi Party rose to power quickly in the 1920s and soon was a terrifying force to be reckoned with, both for the citizens of Germany and the surrounding countries Germany would soon be invading. There is still a plethora of mysteries about the Nazis, but one theory has recently gained some traction with historians as more data and documents have come to light — that part of the reason Nazis were so successful at the beginning of World War II was because they were high on crystal meth.
Drugs in the Third Reich were rampant, despite initial attempts by the Nazi Party to ban drugs such as cocaine in order to better control the public. Not only were most Nazi military members taking meth, but Hitler himself was addicted and had a massive drug problem. The question still remains: did drugs, which initially helped the Nazis take control of Europe by allowing them to stay alert for days on end, eventually lose them the war?
Cocaine Became Rampant In Germany After The Psychological Trauma Of WWI
The first world war inflicted a sort of psychological trauma on the people of Germany, leaving them with a "psychic pain" that scientists and doctors took it upon themselves to solve. By 1926, Germany was a world leader in dealing heroin and cocaine, and Berlin became the capital of experimentation in Europe. Many WWI veterans became addicted to morphine, which was readily available, and the price of cocaine and heroin was incredibly low. Basically, Germany had an involved history with drugs long before scientists invented the meth-based stimulant, Pervitin, that would carry them into WWII.
German Scientists Created Pervitin (Meth) After The 1936 Olympics
Scientists took note of how, during the 1936 Olympics, Americans were doping with Benzedrine, and took it upon themselves to create their own strain of performance-enhancing drugs. In 1937, Dr. Fritz Hauschild created Pervitin, Germany's first methamphetamine.
The drug became increasingly popular after being marketed as a cure-all, and was even sold without a prescription. As socialism fueled by extreme nationalism was on the rise, people took drugs not only to numb the pain but to increase productivity and energy. Pervitin largely contributed to the Third Reich's economic boost, coming out of the depressive economy of the 1920s. Some considered the drug to be "National Socialism in pill form."
Nazis Outlawed Cocaine, But Just Replaced It With Crystal Meth
With the rise of the Nazi party came the decline in drugs such as cocaine and heroin that had been so popular in the days after WWI. The party lambasted these drugs as toxic, and even used them to further their anti-Semitic rhetoric, claiming the Jewish people were addicts, and that addicts were "undesirable social elements." It got to the point where those who used drugs were deemed "criminally insane," and either executed or sent to concentration camps.
It was likely that the Nazis were less concerned with the health issues connected to drugs, and more concerned with being the only source of intoxication. Norman Ohler, the author of the book Blitzed: Drugs In Nazi Germany, wrote: "For them, there could be only one legitimate form of inebriation: the swastika."
However, by the time the drug Pervitin was invented, the idea of a performance-enhancing drug was popular both with the public and with the Nazis, who were using the drug themselves to stay awake and perform better during attacks and invasions.
Pervitin Became So Popular, It Was Sold In Boxes Of Chocolate
Pervitin, a form of crystal meth, was marketed as a cure-all for anything from weight gain to mood imbalance, and was sold without a prescription. It became so popular and easily accessible, it was even sold in boxes of chocolates. The chocolates were recommended to women, who were told to take two to three chocolates a day to both breeze through their housework and also lose weight in the process (Pervitin depletes appetite). It's no wonder the wonder drug became popular with the German army, which relied on the drug to combat fatigue during battle.