Thanks to you all for such a fun time! If I missed any of your questions you might be able to find some of the answers in my new book, BLITZED: Drugs in the Third Reich, out today!

Comments: 4342 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

cbrian134579 karma

Did the Nazis view the soldiers as having a meth problem? I remember hearing that Japan gave soldiers drugs to reduce inhibitions about certain missions (kamikaze attacks, etc.). There are also reports of Allied soldiers being given amphetamines. Was the Nazi leadership giving soldiers meth strategically?

High_Hitler_4481 karma

Strategically, absolutely. They issued the so-called "stimulant decree" in April 40, just before the attack on France. I dedicate a large of Blitzed on this.

mostlyhydrogen1935 karma

Were drugs used at all levels of the military, or just foot soldiers? How about within the Nazi government?

High_Hitler_3807 karma

Pervitin (meth) was used by many officers, and it was especially popular among the Panzer divisions who led the Blitzkrieg. In the government there was also rampant use - all the way up to Hitler. But he didn't use meth, he preferred opiods.

mostlyhydrogen2227 karma

So foot soldiers weren't on meth? If Hitler wasn't on meth, why was he rocking and shaking during the footage of the 1936 Olympics?

edit: added link

High_Hitler_3337 karma

He might have been on something. But I can only write about what the records show... Foot soldiers were also on meth. For the France invasion 35 million dosages were distributed.

vasubandu2300 karma

Today's military (and other) extensively uses Modafinil, which is a wakefulness agent? Are you familiar with that, and do you draw any parallels?

High_Hitler_2949 karma

I first heard about Modafinil when I researched Blitzed. The German Army (its elite units) was using it in Afghanistan, and I believe the US troops are using it as well. It is like taking amphetamines without the high. Very "efficient" I suppose.

suaveitguy1921 karma

How do academia and other historians view your focus on drug use?

High_Hitler_3424 karma

prominent historians like the late Hans Mommsen, or Ian Kershaw, and Antony Beevor have praised the book, saying it is a missing puzzle piece. this makes me very happy.

suaveitguy1293 karma

Do you think a lot of History is kind of moralistic, and sand off edges (like drug use) from their accounts to be taken more seriously?

High_Hitler_1716 karma

Absolutely. Especially when it comes to the Third Reich. But I think this will change, thanks to Blitzed - at least I hope so.

Sumidiotdude1159 karma

Since the book is so controversial, were there any parts or topics that you fought for that couldn't be included?

High_Hitler_1981 karma

No. Everything is exactly how I wanted it to be. And all of my research is included.

navidshrimpo873 karma

Do you think the outcome of the war could have been different if not for the drug use?

High_Hitler_1419 karma

I believe so. The meth abuse by the Wehrmacht was so heavy, and fit the military strategy of the Blitzkrieg like a glove, that it is hard to imagine how the outcome of the campaign against France would have been without the drug.

mostlyhydrogen712 karma

So you think meth gave the Blitz an advantage?

High_Hitler_1321 karma

Absolutely. This is a huge chapter in the book, and I did very long and careful research about this. Hard to sum it up in a few lines...

IdiotOnInternet861 karma

This youtube clip is highly relevant: Hitler shaking at the 1936 Olympics.

Is Hitler's favourite food/sandwich known?

Edit: As many noted this is slightly sped up, and he's watching the olympics intensely. Hitler apparently also suffered from Parkinson's.

High_Hitler_977 karma

Hitler shaking at the 1936 Olympics.

Hitler was a vegetarian. And he was really into sweets. Does this answer your question? (I actually studied all the menu cards for the headquarters)

IdiotOnInternet319 karma

Thanks for answering! I read up on Hitler's vegetarianism while waiting, interesting stuff.

Do you have any menu cards to show? :)

High_Hitler_366 karma

I am in NY right now, didn't bring any copy of menu cards. Perhaps you can find some online?

Jaqwan778 karma

Did Hitler's health decline from taking too many drugs? Was there any recorded evidence of it?

High_Hitler_1141 karma

It certainly did. The Nazi propaganda machine tried to keep this a secret. But some footage got out, showing how deranged Hitler was, and how strong his tremor. Especially the organ concoctions (described in the chapter of Blitzed called "Slaughterhouse Ukraine") paint a vivid picture of this.

Chtorrr640 karma

What was the weirdest thing you found in your research for this book?

High_Hitler_1161 karma

I believe it is the chapter in the book titled "Slaughterhouse Ukraine". About Morell's monopoly on all the organs of all the slaughtered animals, making weird concoctions out of these, testing them on Hitler.

mostlyhydrogen499 karma

I have never heard about Hitler eating organ cocktails. Was this some sort of fad pseudoscience or something?

High_Hitler_847 karma

Morell, his doctor, was a pioneer - or at least that is what Hitler called him. He liked to experiment - and so did "Patient A", which was Hitler's nickname for Morell.

suaveitguy551 karma

How common was the use of the same drugs in general? Were downsides known?

High_Hitler_855 karma

The Temmler company that manufactured Pervitin neglected the downsides, and praised only the "good effects" of meth. Only later people started realizing that meth was an addictive drug - and it was made illegal in Germany in May 1941. Does this answer your question?

Loushius537 karma

How did the army handle addiction? Was there any form of crisis after the war was over, and doses were not longer bring supplied?

High_Hitler_797 karma

The Army tried to set programs into place that would take care of addicted soldiers. But they failed in the end due to lack of resources. After the war, many soldiers were still addicted, and my research shows that Pervitin (meth) use is very high in Germany even in the 50s.

hangoneveryword529 karma

Did German civilians know about this at the time?

High_Hitler_1231 karma

Did they know about Hitler's drug abuse? Absolutely not. Hitler was presented as a sort of healthy saint. Did the people know about meth? Yes, because many were taking it. It was legal in Nazi Germany, under the brand name of Pervitin.

hangoneveryword485 karma

Were there other nations participating in similar programs?

High_Hitler_743 karma

The Allies learnt from the Nazis, and started developing their own programs later in the war, deciding to use amphetamines.

vanceandroid311 karma

I remember reading Live and Let Die when I was a little kid and having to go look up what a Benzedrine was and being shocked that Bond was so cavalier about taking drugs like that. Weird to think how commonplace its usage was back then.

High_Hitler_301 karma

Also Billy Wilder has James Cagney order coffee with meth in his formidable "1,2,3".

hangoneveryword241 karma

lol fantastic, exactly what you want to hear about your country: "they learnt from the Nazis"

D2WilliamU314 karma

That's pretty standard though, I'm pretty sure the entire aerospace program and jet fighter programs ran by every country since the end of World War 2 are run on Nazi Techniques and Ideas.

We still use swept-wing aircraft today which was a Nazi Idea. Look at the Me 262 with its wing shape, then the Shooting star and all the American jets produced after the war. They soon learnt straight-wings are awful for jet aircraft and the classic "Nazi scientists" that came over to the west after World War 2 taught them all about swept wing planes.

Edit : Oh yeah History people lol

High_Hitler_256 karma

The US learnt from the Nazis in many ways, for sure.

MissKneesaa484 karma

What made you want to research and writie a book about this particular topic?

High_Hitler_973 karma

A friend of mine is a DJ in Berlin. He is a history and a drug buff. When he told me about massive drug use in the Third Reich, I thought this was worth checking out. And my first visit to the Federal Archive of Germany was so fascinating (because I found so much evidence) that I seriously pursued the project.

AdolfMohammedTrump406 karma

Did you ever consider naming your book Kristallnacht to Crystal Meth? My psych professor keeps saying that would be a great title for a book on that subject.

High_Hitler_729 karma

I thought about "Kristall" actually, when I was still considering writing a novel about the subject. But I think Blitzed is an amazing title. Don't you agree?

Stalinfromrussia386 karma

Is it true that hitler suffered from parkinsons and was taking medication to treat it?

High_Hitler_760 karma

Morell (Hitler's physician) gave him a medicine called Homburg once. Homburg is supposed to treat Parkinson's. Other than that there is little evidence. Perhaps Hitler's tremor. But I reckon this comes from withdrawal from opiods.

piratt227314 karma

I actually heard about your book on NPR this morning, sounds interesting. How much cocaine did hitler use on a daily basis?

High_Hitler_674 karma

He only used cocaine from late July 1944 to October 1944 - over 50 times during this period.

SnoopTidder276 karma

Guten Abend Herr Ohler!

The Guardian newspaper has described Blitzed as both 'spurious' and 'crass', and argues that whilst your book is 'readable' it is at the expense of truth and accuracy.

In particular, your argument that drug use was commonplace amongst the entire German population is highly contentious; the historian, Richard J. Evans went so far as to describe your conjectured idea of drug use under the Third Reich as both 'wildly implausible' and 'having no basis in fact'.

How would you respond to those critics and your peers who have cast suspicion on the authenticity of the claims made in your book? What is your response to the idea that you may have purposefully misinterpret Morell's journals in order to substantiate your own view-point?

Finally, numerous historians have agreed that Hitler exhibited signs of Parkinson's disease; however, you claim that his tremors were resultant from experiencing withdrawals or going 'cold turkey'. Do you have any evidence to corroborate your claim?

It is undeniable that your book touches upon interesting subject matter, but I think we have to be careful when producing any piece of historiography not to mislead readers through the misrepresentation of information derived from primary sources.

High_Hitler_259 karma

Well, there was even a chocolate laced with Pervitin on the market. And from the production figures of Temmler it becomes clear that the product was very successful in Germany. There are many many reports of doctors and psychiatrists describing the effects it had on their patients. In regards to Hitler, I think I rather understated Morell's notes. I don't dwell on Barbiturates, for example - Hitler became dependent on them at a certain point in time. Parkinson's? It is a theory (because Morell gave Hitler a medicine called Homburg once, and because of Hitler's tremor), and it might be true. But I think it is more likely that Hitler suffered from withdrawal because Morell's notes definitely indicate this. I hope this answers some of your doubts. Have you read the book yet? Thanks, N

Veck123267 karma

Do the bad reviews bother you?

High_Hitler_530 karma

Yes, and no. Obviously Blitzed is a controversial book. I think the many positive reviews, and reactions by readers are what is most important.

Spoonsy258 karma

How much drug use was involved in the V-unit divisions? And how early did the meth use start into the war?

High_Hitler_322 karma

I didn't find anything about the V-units and their drug use. I would imagine they were on it. The meth use started with the attack on Poland. It was officially used a bit later, however, with the attack on France starting May 10.

Spoonsy95 karma

Thanks. Anything specific for guards in the camps?

High_Hitler_328 karma

Found nothing on camp guards except that they drank heavily. But I am sure they used Pervitin - since Pervitin and alcohol "go well together".

delavegadelavega220 karma

The book has such a crazy cover, very different from most history books. Why did you decide to go that route?

High_Hitler_316 karma

This was my publisher's decision. I think they did a great job. Each country's cover looks very different. I also like the German. It was done by artist Douglas Gordon. Try google: "Der totale Rausch" (the German title)

Livnontheedge196 karma

I assume the meth was taken in pill form? How is it different than the meds used today for ADD/ADHD?

Also, did Albert Speer use drugs? If not, was he aware of his "buddy's" habit? I ask, because in all of Joachim Fest's "Conversations with Hitler's Architect" I don't recall it ever being slightly hinted at, and that was indeed a very insightful book, relative to this space... or so I thought.

High_Hitler_284 karma

Meth was usually taken in pill under the brand-name of "Pervitin". This is similar to the meds used today for ADD/ADHD - but in Germany the use was unregulated. Not even a prescription needed until Nov 1939. And remember, Meth is different than amphetamines: stronger, and more addictive.

In regards to Speer: He was a patient of Morell (Hitler's doctor) as well, so I would assume he received similar treatment. Morell loved injecting Eukodal (Oxycodone) to all of his patients. But there are no notes I could find proving this. Morell's notes are mainly on Hitler. So we cannot be sure.

CDNY18192 karma

How did the drugs get to the front line where they standard issue or handed out by medics who was supplying them?

High_Hitler_266 karma

They were handed out by medics. They received the so-called "stimulant decree" in April 1940, telling them how much to dish out.

sillymuffinface187 karma

What inspired you to do this research and then eventually write your book? Was there an "aha" moment when you realized Hitler & his nazis may have been on drugs?

High_Hitler_341 karma

The aha-moment came in Koblenz, in the Federal Archives of Germany, when I studied Theo Morell's notes, and felt like a fly on the wall. Fascinating material!

figgle216160 karma

Why was Hitler a vegetarian?

High_Hitler_408 karma

In the late 19th century, vegetarianism was en vogue among right wing populist people in Germany. The composer Wagner for example was a vegetarian. There was the belief that you became superior if you didn't eat meat. Hitler bought into that.

SmoothieGeneral159 karma

Did Hitler smoke pot?

High_Hitler_315 karma

He never smoked anything. Marijuana was not popular among Nazi officials.

jamesmac89149 karma

First off, I would like to thank you Norman as I've read Blitzed and very much enjoyed it. Did you come across any interesting anecdotes from the people you met whilst researching the book? Do you have any plans to work on any further projects in the same field? Thanks for doing the AMA!

High_Hitler_188 karma

I actually discovered another and quite fascinating story (about resistance against Hitler), which is pretty much unknown, and I am currently examining whether that could be my next book. On the other hand, I continue writing novels, and my next novel called "The Equation of Life" will be published in Germany in the fall.

Happy you liked Blitzed!

Warlizard128 karma

Did you come up with your username? I might have to buy the book just for that.

High_Hitler_222 karma

We thought about calling the book "High Hitler" in Germany. But my publisher decided it is too jokey for the topic. However, the Spanish translation that is being published in Latin America is called "High Hitler". Enjoy the book!

mrbiceps34123 karma

Did Nazis use anabolic steroids at all? If so, which ones? Also, was it mandatory for the soldiers to use the various drugs that you've said?

High_Hitler_197 karma

Hitler did. There is a list in Blitzed with all his drugs. Over 80.

No, it was not mandatory for the soldiers to take Pervitin.

mostlyhydrogen123 karma

Was Hitler a drug user before he came to power, or was he driven to it by pressure? Do you think drug abuse drove him to believe delusional Jew conspiracies?

High_Hitler_309 karma

He became a drug user later in the war. In order to cope with the stress, and in order to keep himself artificially up. So, no, drugs were not responsible for his world views, and views on Jews.

skyking2794 karma

Were there any close calls with Hitler overdosing? How do you think his regime would've handled it?

High_Hitler_190 karma

There is one report by Dr. Giesing, saying Hitler nearly overdosed on the Cocaine he gave him in the fall of 1944. I think everyone would have been relieved, in fact.

Almostegnigeer70 karma

At least some finnish soldiers were given pervitine during the war(those drugs can still be found in houses of older people) did we get those from the germans since we were allies with them? And how usual it was to give regular jaegers some "boost"?

High_Hitler_64 karma

The Fins had their own approach I believe. I never read that they got it from the Germans. But I would have to do more research on this.

26summer65 karma

Great book! I'm totally enthralled by it. I'm just wondering, what happened to Morell's wife? I take she lived in luxury during the war. Was she investigated at all after war? What happend to their fortune?

High_Hitler_82 karma

She was never investigated. Morell lost his fortune. But in fact I am not sure exactly how she lived after the war. Happy you like the book!

BurgerKingBling61 karma

How extensive was Nazi research on methamphetamine before it became widely used by them? Do you know what dosages they were taking? Did they take it orally or what route of administration was used?

High_Hitler_97 karma

The first research was done at several German universities before the war. Most professors (also taking it themselves) concluded that meth was great. Sometimes they used high dosages. One conclusion was that meth reduces fear if administered in those high dosages. I dedicate quite a bit of space in Blitzed on this subject. Usually the meth was taken orally. But Temmler also manufactured ampoules for injection.

delavegadelavega53 karma

Some of your research came from US archives. What was it you found here in the US?

High_Hitler_98 karma

US intelligence interrogated Theo Morell, Hitler's physician, and only shared part of those files with Germany after the war. I learnt quite a few things about Morell's actions in DC.

suaveitguy49 karma

In your opinion, how valid is the thesis behind The Architecture of Doom?

High_Hitler_60 karma

I am not familiar (yet) with the Architecture of Doom. Will look into it. Thanks for pointing it out. What do you think?

samwise091245 karma

On a personal level, what are a few of your favorite films?

High_Hitler_117 karma

Certainly Taxi Driver. Also Bladerunner, and many of Fassbinder's films. You know his work?

bradfordmaster40 karma

What turned Germany away from drugs, and meth in particular? Was there somewhat of a nationwide withdrawal when meth became illegal? Are there any lasting effects from this period on drug culture and markets in Germany today?

High_Hitler_65 karma

Meth was very popular in the civilian population even in the 50's. Your question is very interesting: Why did it get less? I would have to do more research on this - in Blitzed I focus on the Third Reich itself.

The East German Army was still using it in the 60's, supplying their border troops with it.

TravMoon21 karma

How prevalent was drug use within all the different countries? We're the Germans the only ones doing it or was pretty common? I'd imagine amphetamines would be a pretty good performance enhancing war drug.

High_Hitler_57 karma

Germany was the leading drug country in the world. German pharmaceutical companies had the patents on Cocaine, Meth, Heroin. Amphetamines, however, were an American specialty. But the Germans beat them by marketing Meth, which was more powerful...

diothar20 karma

I see the use of the word meth all over here, and I was already aware of the use of stimulants by German soldiers- But I guess I'm wondering just how similar those stimulants were to what we now know as methamphetamine?

High_Hitler_48 karma

Pervitin was the brand name in Germany. Each pill contained 3 mg of pure methamphetamine.

sabrina_evans14 karma

As this is your first non-fiction book, what were some the challenges associated with making the transition between fiction and non-fiction?

High_Hitler_25 karma

My aim was to combine academic research with a fluid writing style. Many non-fiction books are a bit dry - and I tried to avoid that. But of course I also had to avoid inventing things! So it certainly was an interesting challenge in general. And I must say, I love writing non-fiction. It is fun (I thought it wouldn't be).

ouchingtiger4003 karma

Any stories about people buying their way out of the camps by selling drugs?

High_Hitler_6 karma

Sorry, I know nothing about this. You have any information?

clevelanders2 karma

Are there any records showing the progression to issuing drugs to troops? Was it something the Nazi leadership thought about for awhile and eventually did, or did it happen sporadically?

High_Hitler_2 karma

There was one guy responsible for it, Professor Otto Ranke. He discovered Pervitin (meth) for the Army, made tests in Berlin before the war, and then designed the meth program. Fascinating character - he got addicted to the stuff himself. Check out the chapter on him in Blitzed if you like.

thegreatskeptizmo2 karma

how can we be sure hitler actually took these types of drugs ? was it uncovered during autopsy ?couldnt his doctor be lying ?

High_Hitler_3 karma

There is no reason to doubt Morell's notes. They are very detailed. Also, there are reports of other doctor's within the headquarter describing Morell's practice. Autopsy played no role in this - Hitler's body was burnt after he shot himself.

suaveitguy1 karma

Was there an 18th or 19th century equivalent to the use of meth in warfare?

High_Hitler_5 karma

Nothing was ever as powerful as meth. But soldiers have always looked for potent substances to boost their performance. War and drugs cannot be separated. Also alcohol has played a role. Check "Shooting Up", an excellent book on the subject.

suaveitguy1 karma

How did you connect with Douglas Coupland, or how did he connect with your work?

High_Hitler_4 karma

We have a mutual friend in Berlin, Douglas Gordon, and met at a dinner at Douglas Gordon's home. There I invited Douglas Coupland to join me on a boat ride on my boat on the river Spree in Berlin. We're friends since then.

DankWojak1 karma

What was your favorite thing to research?

High_Hitler_2 karma

I believe Morell's notes describing Hitler's drug abuse. Fascinating material.

XIWu-TangIX1 karma

Have these drugs been a major factor in the brainwashing of mind manipulation carried out by hitler? And we're the doctors and physicians administering it fully aware of the effects?

High_Hitler_5 karma

Brainwashing experiments were being done in the concentration camp of Dachau, using Mescaline on inmates. The findings there, by the way, were being picked up by US intelligence when American forces liberated the camp.

trevisan_fundador-12 karma

Why, after SEVENTY YEARS, do you think we somehow do not know?

High_Hitler_5 karma

Can you clarify what you mean by "do not know"?

Random_Khaos5 karma

I have a college education (engineering) and have no memory of learning about the meth use of Nazi soldiers or heavy drug use of Hitler. This is very interesting!

High_Hitler_2 karma

This topic was completely under-examined so far. I also didn't know about it until I started my research in several archives.