You can add drug abuse to the long list of Nazi exploits, according to author Norman Ohler, who claims Adolf Hitler's soldiers were as high as a kite during World War II. When a friend mentioned Nazi soldiers used drugs, Ohler began scouring US and German archives and uncovered some surprises, described in his new book Der Totale Rausch (Total Rush), per Deutsche Welle. First, notes from Hitler's personal physician describe him receiving 800 injections of animal hormones and the opiate Eukodal, which Ohler calls "a pharmaceutical cousin of heroin," over 1,349 days, reports the Independent. But Ohler also uncovered evidence that Nazi soldiers were on drugs during major offenses. Though the Nazis condemned cocaine, opium, and morphine as "Jewish," Nazi chemist Fritz Hauschild developed a new drug, Pervitin, which was basically crystal meth in a pill, Ohler says.
It wasn't some secret operation: Pervitin was openly available in Germany in 1937 and used as a kind of medicine to make people feel alert. It was even put in chocolates so housewives could take part in the high. "It became a drug of choice, like people drink coffee to boost their energy," Ohler says. "For the first couple of days, you don't need to sleep." That made it perfect for when Hitler's armies invaded Poland in 1939. Ahead of the attack on France, some 35 million tablets were ordered for the army, Ohler says. General Erwin Rommel, a decorated tank commander known as the "Desert Fox," reportedly consumed Pervitin like it was his "daily bread," reports the Independent. Even after the drug was banned in Germany in 1941, the army continued using it, Ohler says, and the enemy took notice. British soldiers, and American soldiers in Britain, began using amphetamines "to keep up with these crazed German soldiers." (Another surprising WWII story involves the escape of two Nazi POWs ... in Minnesota.)