The Nazi regime preached an ideology of physical, mental, and moral purity. But as Norman Ohler reveals in this gripping new history, the Third Reich was saturated with drugs. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer cooked up cocaine, opiates, and, most of all, methamphetamines, to be consumed by everyone from factory workers to housewives to millions of German soldiers. In fact, troops regularly took rations of a form of crystal meth - the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility associated with the high even help to explain certain German military victories.
Drugs seeped all the way up to the Nazi high command and, especially, to Hitler himself. Over the course of the war, Hitler became increasingly dependent on injections of a cocktail of drugs - including a form of heroin - administered by his personal doctor. While drugs alone cannot explain the Nazis' toxic racial theories or the events of World War II, Ohler's investigation makes an overwhelming case that, if drugs are not taken into account, our understanding of the Third Reich is fundamentally incomplete. Carefully researched and rivetingly listenable, Blitzed throws surprising light on a history that, until now, has remained in the shadows.
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The best "Gotterdammerung" book I have ever read.
- James Carl Barsz, MD
Methamphetamine: winning wars for 70 yrs.
Interesting. Dry. Surprising
Probably not, since what is being read is, in fact, a translation from German. When the story ventures into accounts of the consistency/frequency/etc of Hitler's bowel movements, no matter how interested in history I am, I am probably not going to go looking for more of the same.
Performance was average. A bit monotone and slow. This may be due to the fact that reciting the number of millions of methamphetamine/narcotic analgesics/vitamins/gas pills/etc pills taken by Germans-military, upper echelon military, government and average German citizens-is only interesting for a short period of time.
Your grandfather's methamphetamine lost WWII for the Germans.
The sheer mass of pills and other concoctions used by the German people is staggering. The book gives one the impression every German in the military was, from the invasion of Poland until the fall of France and beyond to Operation Barbarrossa, 'blitzed' on methamphetamine or something Hitler's personal physician dreamed up to make money. Most of civilian administration and civilians seem to have indulged themselves in everything from quack vitamin remedies to methamphetamine to various, very potent narcotic analgesics.
The ending of the book, chronicling Hitler's final 'pharmacological fall' was interesting. A lot of people seem to believe the Germans were these invincible 'supermen' and that a neo-nazi state would be so efficient, it would take over all other forms of government. The Nazis were clowns. They did nothing efficiently. Keeping records doesn't preserve a corrupt government. There is no reason to believe neo-nazis would be any smarter than the Hitler clan. I think it is the uniforms and, of course, the movies that give them this aura of invincibility.
It is interesting that the extent of the Germans' drug use is not more commonly known. This seems like something the allies would have jumped on to demonize Hitler when he was alive and to demonize the remaining Nazis after the war. Like the Germans very effective use of IBM's "Hoeleriths" to facilitate the final solution, it remains popularly unknown.
- Doc Holliday