Nazi soldiers used performance-enhancing ‘super-drug’ in World War II, shocking documentary reveals


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A stunning documentary is shedding new gentle on simply how far the Nazis and Allied troopers went in an try and win World Warfare II — together with using performance-enhancing medication.

“Secrets and techniques of the Lifeless: World Warfare Velocity,” which airs June 25 on PBS, reveals that Nazi troopers got the methamphetamine Pervitin, manufactured by Temmler Pharmaceutical, whereas American and British forces used every thing they might get their palms on, together with espresso, Pervitin obtained from Nazi forces and the amphetamine Benzedrine.

“In 1940, the British military found Pervitin in a downed German airplane within the south of England, unlocking the key to the German troops’ boundless power, and main the Allies to contemplate the identical tactic for his or her troops,” PBS representatives wrote in a press release.

Credit: Courtesy of Brave Planet Films

Credit score: Courtesy of Courageous Planet Movies


The representatives continued: “The Allied troops determined to make use of the amphetamine. Each medication make customers intensely alert by flooding them with a way of euphoria. With its added methyl-group molecule, Pervitin races throughout the blood-brain barrier a bit quicker than Benzedrine. In any other case, the 2 medication have nearly the identical affect.”

Navy officers (together with U.S. Normal and future President Dwight Eisenhower, who ordered 500,000 tablets of Benzedrine) have been anxious to achieve an edge within the conflict. They needed to push the troopers previous their limits, hoping the medication would “defeat not simply the necessity for sleep, however anxiousness and concern amongst troops” as effectively.

(Courtesy of Courageous Planet Movies)

LiveScience reviews that in 1940, the 12 months of the Nazis’ relentless assaults in opposition to Britain (also referred to as the Blitzkrieg), roughly 35 million Pervitin tablets have been despatched to three million German troopers, seamen and pilots, citing information from the British Warfare Workplace.

The findings have been compiled by Nicolas Rasmussen, a professor on the College of New South Wales in Australia and printed in 2011.

Nonetheless, the implications of the medication have been largely neglected, PBS reviews.

Based on the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), methamphetamine is chemically just like amphetamine and can be utilized in quite a lot of alternative ways, together with smoking, drugs, snorting or injecting the powder after it’s dissolved in water or alcohol.

Among the long-term penalties of methamphetamine use embody excessive weight reduction, habit, reminiscence loss, violent conduct, paranoia and a number of other others.

“As well as, continued methamphetamine use causes adjustments within the mind’s dopamine system which can be related to decreased coordination and impaired verbal studying,” NIDA writes on its web site. “In research of people that used methamphetamine over the long run, extreme adjustments additionally affected areas of the mind concerned with emotion and reminiscence. This may occasionally clarify lots of the emotional and cognitive issues seen in those that use methamphetamine.”


Inside the German Pharmacy Museum, James Holland meets with medical historian, Dr. Peter Steinkamp of Ulm University. (Credit: Courtesy of Brave Planet Films)

Contained in the German Pharmacy Museum, James Holland meets with medical historian, Dr. Peter Steinkamp of Ulm College. (Credit score: Courtesy of Courageous Planet Movies)

The group even cited a current examine that individuals who as soon as used methamphetamine “have an elevated the chance of creating Parkinson’s illness.”

And although Benzedrine was decided to not be as harmful as Pervitin (it was administered in pill and inhalant kind), the drug was nonetheless dangerous to troopers, documentary guide James Holland informed Stay Science.

“It stops you from sleeping, however it does not cease you from feeling fatigued,” he informed the information outlet. “Your physique has no likelihood to get better from the fatigue it is struggling, so there comes some extent the place you come off the drug and also you simply collapse, you may’t operate.”

German soldiers battling in the Stalingrad region, Russia, World War II, on Sept.  6, 1942. (De Agostini Editorial/Getty)

German troopers battling within the Stalingrad area, Russia, World Warfare II, on Sept.  6, 1942. (De Agostini Editorial/Getty)

Holland added that the total extent of the habit and the devastating results weren’t “correctly understood” and that there was “little or no assist” given to the individuals who turned addicted.

“By the tip of the Second World Warfare, you noticed rising data of the unwanted side effects of those medication,” Holland mentioned. “What you do not see is what to do with folks as soon as they grow to be hooked — that is one thing that needed to be discovered the onerous means within the years that adopted.”


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