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Book Review:
Hitler's wild use of drugs at war's end

Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich

Norman Ohler, 2015

For those of you who read a fair amount of history, I would be remiss if I failed to recommend Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich (2015) by Norman Ohler.  Early chapters of Blitzed are about the widespread use of the methamphetamine, Pervitin, in Germany during the 1930's and by German soldiers (referred to as 'pep pills") during the Germany's invasions of France and the Soviet Union. Later chapters tell the astonishing story of Hitler's use of a wide range of drugs including weird vitamin supplements, steroids and psychoactive drugs, especially Eukodal, an opiate during the last 2-3 years of the war. According to Ohler's account, Hitler became dependent on frequent injections ( 800 at least) of drugs administered by his personal physician, Theodore Morrell whom Hitler kept at his beck and call ( in meetings as well) during the last years of the war. 


By the end of the war, Hitler was, in Ohler's account, a stooped, drooling drug addict with Parkinson's like symptoms of trembling hands and legs. Ohler believes that Morrel's drugs led to Hitler's physical and mental deterioration from 1942-45, a deterioration that was shocking to everyone who met him,  and which made a mockery of the view promoted by Goebbels and others that Hitler was a superhuman demigod capable of conquering the world.  Morrell gave Hitler injections of more than 80 different drugs, often in creative combinations:


 "Morrell administered a harder course of prophylactic injections and went on to prescribe more and more remedies in ever changing concentrations. He barely made any diagnoses but instead constantly added to his "basic medicinal treatment."   This soon include such diverse substances as Tonophosphan, a metabolic stimulant ...,  chiefly used nowadays in veterinary medicine, the hormone rich and immune system boosting Homoseran, a by product of uterine blood, the sexual hormone, Testoviron ... and Orchikrin, a derivative of bull's testicles, which is supposed to be a cure for depression. Another substance used was called Prostakrinum and was made from seminal vesicles and prostates of young bulls."  Hitler claimed to be a vegetarian but from fall 1941 "more and more highly concentrated animal substances began to circulate in his bloodstream." 


Ohler acknowledges that several historians and biographers have ignored or minimized the effects of drug abuse on Hitler and the German military, but Ohler makes a strong case that Morrell gradually destroyed Hitler's physical and mental health through his weird drug cocktails, and by turning Hitler into a drug addict who could not sleep or otherwise function effectively without daily injections of Eukodal. 

© Dee Wilson

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