When Adolf Hitler found that bull semen was no longer giving him the lift he needed, he turned to injections of a heroin-like opiate that eventually caused his veins to collapse, a new book on the Fuhrer’s drug addiction reveals.
And while Hitler and his Nazi regime murdered millions in the name of a physically and morally superior ‘master race’, award-winning German author Norman Ohler’s appropriately titled Blitzed says the German troops’ march through Europe was fuelled by crystal meth.
By Ohler’s account, Hitler was an irredeemable drug user with ruined veins by the time he retreated to the last of his bunkers as the Red Army invaded Berlin in 1945.
Using notes made by Hitler’s personal physician, Dr Theodor Morell, Ohler narrowed down the Nazi leader’s drug use to three distinct stages.
While Hitler favoured high intravenous doses of vitamins and glucose from 1936, by the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 the Fuhrer had turned to “steroids and hormone products like liver extracts of pigs, stuff like that, pretty unsavoury things got into his veins”, Ohler told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Hitler was said to have taken crystal meth before his final meeting with Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini in July 1943, during which he reportedly ranted solidly for two hours.
The Fuhrer then became addicted to a heroin-like substance called Eukodal, which was prescribed following a nervous breakdown in 1944.
According to Ohler, Hitler began the Eukodal regime after narrowly surviving the 1944 assassination attempt known as Operation Valkyrie, in which German resistance planted a bomb in a briefcase under his desk.
Both of Hitler’s eardrums were burst in the explosion and his body was riddled with splinters from the wooden table that shielded him from the blast, leaving him a nervous wreck.
Dr Morell’s diaries also suggest Hitler was treated with Mutaflor for stomach cramps, the barbiturate Brom-Nervacit, bulls’ semen for testosterone boosts and crystal meth.
“Hitler loved Eukodal. Especially in the fall of 1944, when the military situation was quite bad, he used this strong drug that made him euphoric even when reality wasn’t looking euphoric at all,” Ohler told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
“The generals kept telling him: ‘We need to change our tactics. We need to end this. We are going to lose the war’. And he didn’t want to hear it. He had Dr Morell give him the drugs that made him feel invulnerable and on top of the situation,” he said.
Respected WWII historian Antony Beevor, who also appeared on the Radio 4 program, said the drugs revelation explained a lot about Hitler’s erratic behaviour in the latter stages of the war.
“What we’re seeing is an explanation of the fact why the British in 1944 decided no longer to attempt to assassinate Hitler,” he said.
“Operation Foxley was cancelled because they realised at this particular stage that the Allies would win the war more rapidly with Hitler in command, than Hitler being replaced by somebody else.”
The ice warriors
And while Hitler was experimenting with various stimulants and opiates, the Nazi hierarchy was fuelling its troops with a methamphetamine called Pervitin.
Pervitin was freely available as a medicine in Germany until 1939.
“People took loads of Pervitin, across the board. The company wanted Pervitin to rival Coca Cola,” Ohler said.
“The army realised there is a drug out there that might be of interest to soldiers because Pervitin keeps you awake for a long time,” he said.
“It was used for the first time when Germany invaded Sudetenland and then Poland, and then when Germany attacked France in 1940, a Blitzkrieg strategy. Before that attack, the German army ordered 35 million tablets of Pervitin for the soldiers advancing on France.”
Blitzed, the English language version of Ohler’s original, Der totale Rausch (The Total Rush), will be released from this week.
While Hitler and the Nazis have been documented in countless books, Blitzed is among the first to explore the regime’s relationship with drugs.