Reports of Hitler’s Substantial Drug UseA new documentary about the Fuhrer, called “Hitler’s Hidden Drug Habit: A Secret History,” used medical journals and personal diaries to reconstruct Hitler’s personal drug use. The documentary, which will air on Great Britain’s Channel 4, reveals a side of Hitler that has received little attention in the decades since World War II.Beginning in 1936, Hitler began receiving daily medical examinations from Dr. Theodor Morell, a physician with unconventional views about medicine. Dr. Morell prescribed the Fuhrer an extensive cocktail of drugs to keep him healthy and virile. In fact, a dossier compiled by the U.S. military during World War II stated that Hitler took up to 74 different drugs. This included barbiturate tranquilizers (similar to today’s Xanax or Valium), morphine, and bulls’ semen intended to improve his libido. Among these was a form of the drug currently known as crystal meth.Methamphetamines were actually first manufactured in Germany during the late 1800s, making them easily available to Germany’s highest military and civil officials during the war. In fact, amphetamine use was not uncommon by soldiers in both the Axis and Allied armies. Hitler’s drug of choice, called Pervitin, was widely used by German soldiers. In fact, it earned the nickname “tank chocolate,” or Panzerschokolade, for its popularity among soldiers. Using these amphetamines prevented soldiers from needing sleep, increased aggression, and contributed to their fighting success.
May Drug Addiction Have Fueled Hitler’s Erratic Behaviors?In Hitler’s day, the less appealing effects of methamphetamine were not yet known. Today, crystal meth is known to contribute to insomnia, hallucinations, impaired brain functioning, mood disturbances, and erratic behavior. Although Hitler’s exact behavior and thoughts will never be fully known, these symptoms of methamphetamine addiction fit much of his behavior.For example, Hitler is widely believed to have attended a meeting with Italy’s Mussolini while under the influence of methamphetamine. At this 1943 meeting, Hitler raged for two hours straight about the Italian military’s incompetence and Italy’s unwillingness to take severe measures against civilians. Mussolini supposedly could not speak a single word during this tirade and was removed from power shortly thereafter.Hitler’s methamphetamine use reportedly continued throughout the war. In fact, he had nine injections of the drug Vitamultin, a potent cocktail that contained methamphetamine among other things, while hiding in his Berlin bunker in the days just prior to his death.Taken together, it is unclear how much Hitler’s methamphetamine abuse brought about the violent and senseless killings that occurred under his regime. Certainly, it is possible that someone under the influence of methamphetamine may become increasingly paranoid and aggressive toward others. However, some of Hitler’s behaviors have been chalked up to bipolar disorder, untreated syphilis, or even Parkinson’s disease. Although the full mystery of Adolf Hitler will never be understood, his rampant drug use almost certainly exacerbated the physical and mental deterioration he experienced during his final years.
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