How the Nazi Military Helped Create Crystal Meth Addiction
Author: Justin Mckibben
Decades before the drug took on names like Ice and Crank, crystal meth had a very different name to go with a very different historical use. Once upon a time in Germany, there was a high demand for what was then known as Pervitin. Today, the compound has been chemically transformed into a street drug, but then it was an energy supplement popular among Nazi military forces.
Other drugs have been used at some point or another in government or military studies over the years, but the history of crystal meth has a pretty unique one.
Pervitin the Pilot’s Salt
Pervitin is the early version of what we know today as crystal meth. And some historical accounts show plenty of German soldiers got hooked on the stuff.
Pervitin was brought to the market in Germany by the then-Berlin-based drug-maker Temmler Werke. Almost immediately, the German army physiologist Otto Ranke realized its potential for military applications.
Not only could the methamphetamine compound in Pervitin keep soldier (pilots, in particular) alert on little sleep; it could also keep an entire military force feeling euphoric. Authors from the German publication Der Spiegel state that crystal meth “was the ideal war drug.” Comparing crystal meth to amphetamine-related medications is something we still see today, like with stimulants such as Adderall.
So, in turn the Wehrmacht (the name of Germany’s Army in WWII) distributed millions of tablets of Pervitin to their soldiers in an attempt to give them a serious fighting edge. Even among the Nazi military crystal meth had its aliases, referred to as:
- Panzerschokolade- “tank chocolat”
- Pilot’s chocolate or Pilot’s salt
The pill was the common form of consumption for the Nazi military. In fact, some records claim that between April and July of 1940, in just 4 months, more than 35 million three-milligram doses of Pervitin were manufactured for the German army and air force.
According to some, Hitler himself was hooked on a regimen of intravenous injections of methamphetamine. The man responsible for some of the most heinous war crimes in human history may have very well been one of the first IV users of crystal meth.
The Spread and Side-Effects
Eventually, rumors of the German “miracle pill” reached the Allied forces. Bomber pilots on the Allied side of the conflict began experimenting with meth, but the experiments were supposedly not long-lived. Despite the fact the drug made pilots more focused in the short-term, they quickly noticed the side-effects such as:
- Impair judgment over the long-term
However, Germany kept the practice going for much longer.
- In the 1960s the Temmler Werke was still supplying the armies of both East and West Germany with Pervitin pills.
- Finally, in the 1970s that West Germany’s postwar army, theBundeswehr, finally removed the drug.
- East Germany’s National People’s Army wouldn’t eliminate the use of crystal meth until 1988.
In the time many soldiers who used the “miracle pill” died of heart failure. Some experienced psychotic phases, some of which resulted in suicides.
Those who survived these effects of course became addicted to the overwhelmingly powerful stimulant. Today we are more familiar with the side-effects of crystal meth addiction they experienced such as:
While many people who are battling with a meth addiction aren’t aware of any way to get out of their addiction, treatment for meth addiction is available to help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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