Abstract: pushing on France during the western

Abstract: This paper addresses the positive
effects and negative effects on Nazi soldiers and their population back at
home. It analyses several sources pertinent to the effectivity of Pervitin in
combat and on the Homefront. Conclusions are drawn that in fact the drug was
far more harmful than beneficial. And connections to modern times are made
relating to modern meth use

 

 

Introduction

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The soldiers experience is different for
each. Some incredibly resilient under the stress of combat, the adrenaline
kicking in, and the will to fight taking over. Some soldiers providing support
from behind the lines, medics, snipers etc. During World War two, on top of the
countless deaths and disease there were days upon days of travel and battles
that lasted not only days, but weeks, months even. Without support or sleep,
and added stress, disease killed many troops. As humans we obviously get tired
after a long day’s work, but can you possibly imagine how that would affect
battle performance? Exhaustion, fatigue, lethargy on top of the sheer horror
and pain associated with conflict? A soldier, Nazi, pushing on France during
the western offensive, they’ve been awake for days, virtually no sleep, moving
and staying alert, ready for the slightest alert that an enemy shell could drop
on you at any second. You’re slowing now, before you know it you won’t be able
to fight, you’re only eighteen, how could the Fuerher possibly expect us to do so
much for the fatherland? Continently your commanding officer receives a
shipment from the Temmler corporation, you take the pills included within, and
you’re ready to march and fight all night. Your hunger goes away, your lethargy
is cured. Incredibly alluring to the Soldier. This problem plagued the Nazis among
other fighting forces during world war two. The soldiers were too tired and
weak to be effective fighters. They turned to drugs. Created to wake up the
soldier and make him lust for battle. Thus, the first methamphetamines were
born. State sponsored and mandated the Nazi soldiers were given tablets to pop
during a terribly long night or just before battle. How well did they work?
What were the long-term effects on the populous? These are questions that can
still be applied in modern times. This topic is worthy of investigation because
with drug use becoming more and more common, despite the efforts of the united
states government, we can examine the state sponsored use of these drugs to support
their soldiers to make educated inquiries into today’s life and times. It is
important to modern historians and civilians alike to understand and appreciate
history of the past. Many lessons can be learned from history, and enough time
has passed that certainly there are repetitions in history that can all be
interpolated and applied to modern society.

Personal Connection

            During my childhood, I lived in
Germany and went to many different museums and memorials around the world,
remembering the survivors of the Nazis’ war machine. The horrors of their
history were burned into my mind forever. The Nazi’s use of drugs became an
interest of mine a while back, and it seemed like there was not really any more
to the argument to the effectivity of it. There was always just the fact that
the drugs existed and what their purpose was, but the lack of mainstream
coverage of this issue intrigued me. I noticed that wat was really not talked
about was their invention of the methamphetamine, also known as speed, crank,
tweed, etc., most likely because of that it is pretty far down the list on
crimes. far more often talked about are the concentration camps, the death
camps, racial cleansing, nationalism and the mass genocide, but the manufacture
of this and the deliberate dosage to the soldiers has always fascinated me. As
an adolescent living in Michigan near the city of Detroit I have seen the
terrible effects that drugs have had on many of the populous, you don’t have to
look far to find terrible addictions in the streets of Detroit. I am interested
in the causation and the usage of the methamphetamine related drugs as they
have wide reaching impacts today far larger than simple usage. I am interested
to see how the Germans dealt with their drug problem, how they solved it, and
of course the effectivity of this in combat.

The sources analyzed were from a variety
of different authors and viewpoints, some focus on the negative side of the
drug use and Hitler’s hypocrisy, while some focus on the reasoning behind it.
The sources also come from a variety of languages, including English and
German, so there is definitely some translation error involved. The most
important source was by Ohler, Norman, and Shaun Whiteside. And it’s titled Blitzed:
Drugs in the Third Reich. A very informative and semi narrative text on the
use of drugs in Nazi Germany.  The value
of this source comes from its origin, purpose and content. Written by Norman
Ohler. Norman Ohler is a best-selling author in the New York Times and is best known for his book Blitzed, which has been
published in over twenty-five different languages. His renowned historiography
abilities make this book an excellent choice for accurate non-biased
information. Norman Ohler also speaks German, meaning that he can accurately
interpret and assess different German articles and documents.  The purpose of the document is not only to
persuade, but also to inform, something that I needed very much in this scope
of an analysis, it provides a nice overview, wihie still having a point to
argue. This is incredibly valuable to me because of the narrative tied to his
exploration as well as the overview of the topic. The semi-narrative nature of
this book makes it particularly valuable to me as it allows me to analyses how
certain facts were obtained and analyzed, to really get inside the historian’s
mind is very important to understand a source

The limitations of the source mainly come
from the non-indexed organization, the text has made an attempt to make the
information flow chronologically instead of like an encyclopedic text, making
it hard to locate specific information in the text. The narrative way the
author tells the text makes it slightly difficult to find key information and
pick it out of the fluff. While the source does contain plenty of good
information it is often hard to locate inside of the large body of the book.
There is also a certain amount of bias attributed to any piece of text that is
very hard to avoid. Norman Ohler probably suffers from a neutrality bias in
this text.

The
second text I have chosen to evaluate is an article by “Der Spiegel” written by
Ulrich Andreas. “The Nazi Death Machine:
Hitler’s Drugged Soldiers”. The value of this source comes from the Origin
purpose and content. The author Ulrich Andreas, a renowned Journalist and
author. Working also as a moderator he is a renowned journalist and is highly
regarded in his field. The source was useful in that it provides me with a fact
about the side effects of the drugs from an experienced author and researcher.
The author is also German, so he will be able to interpret and read the
documents with ease. “Der Spiegel”, the news organization that ran this article
are also very accredited in Germany.

The limitations from
this document come from the bias associated with it. The author, being German
is very biased against the Nazi’s and like to criticize any action they took,
by definition just because they’re Nazi. Germany obviously has a strong
hostility toward modern Nazis, and any arguments not completely criticizing
their actions may be seen as discreditable in the journalist and historian
community. The hostile language used in this text leads me to believe there was
some exaggeration and the creation of a highly negative tone most likely
influences the readers to not look at the potential lighter side of the
argument.

 

 

Methodology

I set off to gather my resources for
study. I visited Libraries and online resources to try and collect my thoughts
and to collect valuable resources. Several different types of text are needed
for this type of research, I needed large broad texts types in order to gain a
perception of the conflict at the time, what exactly was happening with the
push west on France, and how France was responding. I then needed many more
precise texts describing the soldiers fatigue, firsthand accounts, and
summative sources by authors trying to convey a message. It was important to me
to collect many sources that have slightly different viewpoints, a synthesis in
general is more accutire history than one sided arguments, where people start
with a conclusion then work their way back into the history to prove that, I
set out to take the evidence presented at hand and formulate an argument as to
the effectivity of the state sponsored use of drugs by the Nazi soldiers.
Something that is very. The scope of my investigation if from 10 May 1940 until six weeks after that when
Germany defeated the allies in France and Belgium. Ironically, while promoting
peace and maintaining a healthy body, Germany had “no qualms about pumping
their soldiers full of drugs and alcohol” (Spiegel). Another thing prevalent in
history is to be able to do proper source analyses… There was one artifact that
I visited. A bottle of Pervitin, the state sponsored amphetamine pills that
were bottled and distributed to the masses. The valuable resources collected
serve a great purpose in allowing a complete argument to be formed, the
argument formed must be not only persuasive but must be created as an
informative paper as well. I know that these many sources must all be accounted
for in my argument in order to form a complete coherent argument on all sides
while providing counter examples. The informative sources were primarily used
to provide history on the topic and the more descriptive sources were more
likely.

Science Behind
Methamphetamines

According to Drug Free World Methamphetamine
is a stimulating drug usually seen in the form of white or clear, powder or a
pill. It is chemically alike drugs called amphetamines, which are drugs
modernly used to be used.  ”
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain”
(Drug Free). Dopamine levels seem to be directly correlated to “motivation,
pleasure, and reward (pleasure from natural behaviors such as eating)” (Drug
Free). The drug has many immediate effects including a rush or euphoria. There
are many immediate effects from the taking of strong methamphetamines taking
even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same health
effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines. These
include Thigs such as heightened alertness and activity and metabolic rates,
Less appetite, faster breathing, faster heartbeat and increased blood pressure
and body temperature.

 

Historical War

To examine the effect
of methamphetamine pills on the effectivity of Nazi soldiers during the push on
France and on the general populous.
The history of the push must be examined Germany’s blitzkrieg was a push
through history, on the sept 1st 1939 Germany launched her offensive
on the western European states. Germany pushed into the eastern states such and
countries such as Poland long hours and brutal battles endured, leaving Germany
eventually the victor. The drugs were part of a
plan to help pilots, sailors and infantry troops (Ulrich). In a plot to
further the German army’s ambitions and stamina, steps like these were taken. Germany
was already facing a drug problem before the introduction of the
Methamphetamine drugs. Alchohol and other drug abuse was rampant from the highest levels of
government and military leadership to the lowest-ranking soldiers
(Bergen-Cico 38). Despite
the rhetoric from the Nazi party there was clearly already a drug problem in
der Dritte Reich. This could not bode well for the Nazi population. Put bluntly
by Norman Ohler “Although the Nazis pretended to be the cleanest of all,
with a strict, ideologically reinforced anti-drug policy that was underscored
by propagandistic pomp and draconian punishment, a particularly potent, highly
addictive, and quite insidious substance became a popular product under Hitler”
(Ohler 17).

Manufacturing / Introduction

Germany had to make their soldiers fight
longer hours while working harder at it, something obviously beneficial in wars
times. The German pharmaceutical company Temmler in Berlin first produced this
drug in 1938, and assured its dominance within the international market by
patenting the drug in Britain, France and Germany under the name ‘Pervitin’
(phenylmethylaminopropane) (Lewy 148). Temmler Pharmaceuticals decided to take
on this problem head on (Ohler 18), under supervision of the military, Temmler
went into creating Pervitin, a pill used on the front lines by soldiers and
officers composed of parts cocaine and parts methamphetamine (Der Spiegel
source). This drug was a stimulant on the front lines and it did its job Very
well. Introduced in 1938 The drug was an instant success with the soldiers and
millions of pill bottles became distributed (Ulrich Spiegel). The Drug was
however leaked introduced to the General population and they all instantly
became hooked. As stated by Bergen-Cico, “Ephedrine, the active ingredient in amphetamines and
methamphetamine, was first synthesized in Germany in 1887 for medical uses,
including increasing blood pressure, opening nasal and bronchial passages and
stimulating the central nervous system” (Bergen-Cico 39). All obviously very
desirable effects for the military and the public.  Japanese scientist Akira Ogata refined and
produced methamphetamine in 1919 (Bergen-Cico 39). The public was aware of its
effects and the military wanted it, so by the 1940s, “methamphetamines had
become a widely available wonder drug, used for the treatment of asthma,
depression, obesity, epilepsy, and even opiate addiction”, and Temmler
Pharmaceuticals began manufacturing large scale (Bergen-Cico 39).

 

 

Effectivity

May historians and primary sources would
agree that the Pervitin pills, as Hitler hoped were quite successful according
to (Ohler 89). The soldiers would stay awake and alert for “days at a time”,
Ohler quoting a letter sent by a soldier to his parents” I only slept for two
hours, and tonight again I won’t have more than three hours of sleep, but I’ve
just got to stay awake. The Pervitin will soon start working, by the way, and
help me over my tiredness. Outside the moonlight is unusually bright, there’s a
clear, starry sky and it’s very cold.”  (Ohler
89) and it became harder and harder for the soldiers to turn away the “little
red white and blue bottle” which of course contained Pervitin. Increcing focus
and dedication on the front lines without “concern for personal safety” made
the German wehrmarkt even more successful then they might have otherwise been (Ulrich).
The professional manufacture of Pervitin in Nazi Germany was “much safer” than
modern methamphetamines. And according to Snelders,
Stephen, and Toine Pieters in, “Speed in the Third Reich: Methamphetamine
(Pervitin) Use and a Drug History from Below.” It was extremely effective in
what it did. Heinrich Boell remarks at the effectivity of the miracle drug, as
he was in the German army and on several occasions “On May 20, 1940, the
22-year-old soldier wrote to his family: “Perhaps you could get me some
more Pervitin so that I can have a backup supply?”” (Ulrich). Heinrich
clearly believed in the drugs effectivity, but was also Cleary very addicted to
the substance. The drugs professionals manufacture helped it to increase its
effectivity, not only did the Nazi soldiers have access to speed, but they
could use it while being “much safer” then modern meth, something that
certainly helps the effectivity argument. The combination of Cocaine and
Methamphetamine in these pills certainly helps in the effectivity argument, the
soldiers were stronger and more resilient to wounds and pain and sleep while on
them, but at what cost? red phosphorus and iodine.

Long Lasting Effects

As with most drugs
there is no way to reap the benefits without experiencing some of the side
effects, Nazi Germany and Hitler didn’t seem to care when introducing the drug
to the army and to the public, creating the first burnouts and addicts.  During the war
Nazi doctors were increcingly concerned about the recovery phase after taking
the “wonder drug”, Tolerance was also being noticed by the Nazi doctors, something
widely known now, but it meant there needed to be even more tablets shipped.
Some users reported shortness of breath, anxiety and there was several deaths (Ulrich).
“Leonardo Conti, the German Reich’s minister of health and an adherent of Adolf
Hitler’s belief in asceticism, attempted to restrict the use of the pill, but
was only moderately successful, at least when it came to the Wehrmacht” (Ulrich).
Although Pervitin was classified as a restricted substance on July 1, 1941 (Ulrich),
millions of tablets were still sent to the front lines. The soldiers
were soon to be “unable to fight” (Ulrich). The soldiers that Hitler had worked
hard to perfect his Soldiers, but the drugs seemed to end up hindering their
performance. Norman Ohler famously states “Would the soldier have been more
effective if they were not burnt out after a while just by being armed to the
teeth? Potentially, but the effectivity of the Blitzed Nazi soldier cannot be
that easily discounted, especially when Hitler had 18.2 million soldiers who
were serving, so the bodies available were nearly endless. The civilian
population was also ravaged by this widely available substance with millions of
bottles in circulation” (Ohler). This problem extends also to today’s world, Meredith
Bennet Smith writes in Her article that Meth use is a “rising problem in
Europe: (Bennet-Smith). How about the soldiers coming home from the War, would
they also suffer the same strong addiction as they did while fighting the
second great war? NPR has some very interesting research about this topic,
During Vietnam there were many soldiers addicted to opiates, but when they came
back their addictions had been cured. Alix Spiegel, not associated with Der
Spiegel Magazine, believes this is due to the Change in environment, the
environment of Vietnam was exotic enough that their addiction was kicked on
return to America, but much of Europe is geographically similar enough that
this probably didn’t occur to the same strengths as in Vietnam. Furthermore, Side effects were so serious that the army sharply cut
back its usage in 1940. Historian Lukasz Kaminski says, “A soldier going
to battle on Pervitin usually found himself unable to perform effectively for
the next day or two” (Kaminski). Suffering from a drug hangover and looking
more like a zombie than a great warrior, he had to recover from the side
effects.” Some soldiers turned very violent, committing war crimes against
civilians; others attacked their own officers. A counter argument to the
effectivity was that the soviets seemed to do it without hard drugs like Pervitin.
The war, called the great patriotic was in the CCCP was fought with incredible
pride and incredible patriotism that allowed their soldiers to not back down in
the face of fear, similar to the effects of the Pervitin. Perhaps the Nazis
could have taken another route to success.

 

Connections to Modern
America

How does this connect to the drug
problems in Modern America? This research leads to the obvious question of what
to do about the drug problem in America. By starting this research without
already having a conclusion that the Drugs were harmful to the German populous.
I instead started and looked at the effectivity and drawbacks and then coming
to analyze and examine the effect of
methamphetamine pills on the effectivity of Nazi soldiers during the push on
France and on the general populous. While there were clearly many upsides to
the state sponsored use of the drug in the military, there were incredible
downsides too, such as addiction and withdrawal symptoms, not only for the
soldiers, but for the population back at home who were introduced to the drug
during the 1939 era. The addiction ran through almost every home, as people
were egar to get their hands on the stuff. How can we apply this to modern
times? As many of my sources indicated to me the manufactured versions were much
safer and purer than the street drugs available today. There is a different
conclusion to be drawn from this research than initially meets the eye. If
there were professionally manufactured recreational versions of these drugs
available to American then the drug problem would soon disappear, the cartel
has no power, the USA can tax and regulate it, because like in German people,
once introduced to the drugs could not resist taking more, but if the content
of the bottles was more heavily regulated then maybe deaths could be reduced,
overdoses eliminated and revenue earned. Despite Nazi Germany’s terrible
crimes, this is a lesson that can be learned that does speak to the effectivity
of the drug.

 

Historians job

Are there any possibilities for further
research? In the academic world, research never really ends.  There is
always room for experimentation in the modern world and reflection on past
historical events to see how we can shape our world today. Historians should
always look to the past for examples of how to lead the world today, because
like much in the pas t, history replays itself over and over throughout
people’s lives. A historian’s job is to extend their range of research to as
many other areas as possible. I had to really stretch my knowledge into very
many different areas and had to analyze many primary and secondary documents.

 

 

 

Conclusion/further
connections

The
Pervitin in Germany was one of the most influential inventions of war time, not
only did it help Nazi Germany conquer France and the other western countries,
but it created addiction and introduced a drug that is still around today.
While originally produced in factories, methamphetamine is now produced on the
street and is an incredible problem facing Americans and the rest of the world
today. Pervitin was designed to be effective, it was designed to give The
Germans the upper hand and it was designed to help make the Nazi as effective
of a soldier as possible. In some respects, it achieved that, but by creating
the first burnouts, making their soldiers dependent on the drug there are some
large downsides to the drug as well. My research question was to examine the effect of methamphetamine pills on the
effectivity of Nazi soldiers during the push on France and on the general
populous. I had to Consider an argument or concept in a way that
uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue. By uncovering the
assumptions of my argument and showing the interrelationships with modern
America, I successfully examined the effect that the Nazi drug use on their
soldiers. Limitations of my source come. So, to answer the research question of
How did the effect of methamphetamine pills
affect the Nazi soldiers during the push on France and how did it affect the
general populous? The answer to that being layered deep within history and
filled with contradictions it is difficult to say whether one can say the
Pervitin affected Germany positively or weather it was more bad than good. My
research shows, that even though the drug had many plusses during the war, it’s
far reaches even into modern times leave it as much more of a hindrance than a
benefit, leaving the Germans and the world in a worse place then it was without
it.