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Drugs

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by GunSlinger86, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Did the fact that Nazi soldiers were taking pure, cleanly-made Methamphetamine in laboratories that doesn't have the nasty chemicals and side effects on the body as a result of those chemicals, besides what it does to your brain after.... How big of a factor did that help in the early part of the war when most of the German Army was flying on pure speed, giving them more confidence, more stamina, strength, ambition, etc., all the positive side effects of amphetamine-based drugs, in overrunning French and British troops so easily, as well as the way they moved through Russia so fast in the early months. I know tactics were important, but you need men and equipment to apply those tactics, and the edge that cleanly made amphetamines give a person does give an advantage. Later in the war British and American troops started taking Benzedrine, another drug similar to amphetamines, and the same types of results were reported, more stamina, taking more chances, confidence, etc.
     
  2. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The stamina, motivation, and aggressiveness would be on the side of the drug-using troops in 1940.
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction...over confidence and aggression can get you (and your mates) easily killed.
    A strong coffee ie: a simple stimulant would be all my troops would get.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not necessarily. The "motivation" aspect is especially questionable. Even without that long term relying on drugs rather than proper rest and nutrition is not a winning move.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    From a modern perspective, the big problem with any form of speed is that the only thing that makes the eventual 'hangover' go away is... more speed.
    It's remarkably more addictive in any form than people mostly noticed until Meth reared its nasty little head. With 'positive' effects tailing off quite quickly over time & required quantity for same effect ramping up quite a lot.
    I can see how Pervitin etc. might be fantastically useful over a short-ish period in 'total war' operations - normal-ish Speed has an odd effect - not so much overconfidence or even aggression, more a remarkable & contented 'focus', but would think commanders would have to be pretty careful about there being a defined rest & recovery period.
    If your chaps are to be engaged for longer than a week, then you could conceivably be into some quite serious lack of efficiency after the boost.

    Don't think I've ever looked at how strong Pervitin, Scho-ka-kola etc. actually were, though.
    Might be 'real' speed effects, but could conceivably be closer to some sort of overcharged Red Bull.
    Would be interesting to a dosage specification/comparison among all the newspaper articles shouting that the Reich was powered by drugs.

    'Pilot's Salt': The Third Reich Kept Its Soldiers Alert With Meth
    "Just one of these pills, Böll explained, was as effective at keeping him alert as several cups of coffee. Plus, when he took Pervitin, he was able to forget, temporarily, about the trials and terrors of war. He could -- for a while, at least -- be happy."
    That makes me wonder, because even a little bit of actual Speed goes well beyond any coffee.
     
  6. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    How prevalent was this drug use? I've never read a single book on WW2 that mentions it in the slightest, from either sides perspective. Nor have I read about tons of ex-soldiers being meth-heads, or going into withdrawal etc.
     
  7. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Google Nazi meth and there are a lot of sites to fact check.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    We've also discussed it here a few times. Mostly in Battle of the Bulge related threads I think.
     
  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I'm still googling Nazi bases in Antarctica! :D
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    There's some confusion between Pervitin, Scho-ka-kola and "Panzer Schokolade" (Pilot's Salt is a new term to me). Scho-ka-kola has no amphetamine, but is just a chocolate and coffee candy with plenty of caffeine. "Panzer Chocolate" is just slang for Pervitin, called that because Pervitin came in a round little tube like several popular candies. I think the term Panzer Chocolate (that German soldiers used when speaking or writing of Pervitin) creates confusion and also obscures drug use because people confuse it with Scho-ka-kola or other candies.
    At any rate, earlier threads forced quite a bit of research and it's undoubtedly true that Pervitin, at least early in the war, was issued quite freely and to a wider body of men than Benzedrine was in allied forces. Benzedrine was limited to flyers and a few other types, and not ground troops or armored forces. The Germans, early in the war, issued it freely at first to infantry and armored forces and then seem to have limited it later. Still, back in Germany it was easy to obtain (as was Benzedrine in the US) and I found a letter that referenced this, a soldier writing home to Mom and Pop asking them to send more Pervitin to him. He, apparently, wasn't getting it from the German army anymore.
    The earlier thread (IIRC) was about a question asked in regards to an event in Stavelot during the Ardennes Offensive, where SS infantry troops attacked across the Ambleve river in deep winter water, against some stone buildings occupied by Americans with heavy machine guns. The Germans were mowed down in the water and the Americans attributed the stupid attack to the Germans being "Hopped Up" on drugs. No evidence has been found that German forces were still issuing Pervitin (at least widely) at that point in the war. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't... Remember though, that there little beyond anecdotal evidence of Pervitin use early in the war. It was simply handed out like they might issue chlorine tablets to purify water, or salt tablets to prevent dehydration. The soldiers write and speak of it frequently, but records on such mundane items weren't saved.

    .
     
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  11. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Agreed.
    Though the issue level post the 'Stimulant Decree' in April 1940 seems reasonably well-sourced at about 35m various tablets, until concerns began to be raised just over a year later.

    The formula of all of them seems to have varied quite a lot over the years, with even increasing amounts of Cocaine added to later mixes.

    I had a bit of a dig about re strength, and while lots of articles authoritatively say X grains of this, or Y grammes of that, it's all a bit meaningless without knowing the strength/purity of the substance being cited.
    Sure there was a paper or two that've popped up on here looking at them from a chemistry & modern 'drug science' perspective. Though I also recall being completely confused when they got a bit 'sciencey'...
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Of course it made him happy. Amphetamines stimulate the production of neurotransmitters. Some important ones are dopamine and endorphins (our "happy" brain chemicals) so not only do you have increased energy, you feel wonderful! That's why they're so addictive. Problems occur when they're used on a long-term basis because you run your synapses out of neurotransmitters and the body crashes.
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    It's not so much the happy that made me wonder at strength. More the "several cups of coffee" comparison.
    Extra wondering at what else was in it formula-by-formula, as a dose of just speed equivalent to a few cups of Java isn't going to make you feel all that euphoric. Quite possibly the opposite, among the strange focus. A dash of Cocaine, however, as mentioned in some recipes might indeed bring a bit more temporary (if bleedin' irritating) cheer.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Back in another day and age I, and by I, I'm referring to the generic I, meaning a friend of mine that was totally not me, worked railroad moving ore and steel in and out of a Detroit steel mill. Being young and wanting as much money as I (my friend) could get, I'd (he'd) work double shifts most of the week, maybe one shift as a switchman then another as track labor fixing up broken stretches of track, 16 hours a day. It was grueling work, especially during winter. There was an ubiquitous brand of Benzedrine known as "White Crosses" on the street everywhere back then, for a dollar a tablet. In every track gang, in every engine, somebody on the crew would have a pocket full of these and because they were so easy to find, they'd be shared out to anyone with a dollar. One of these would get you through a shift with no ill effects. Two or more would get you through a shift with a smile, at first. Everybody took them, at least sometimes, even the grizzled old railroad men that were the engineers and conductors. The unpleasant side of this was that though you might be "happy in your work" for the first two or three hours, after that you started grinding your teeth and being distracted and irritated by everything and everyone around you. I (my friend) did not find this at all pleasant. It made hours like that possible, and put money in my pocket, but I don't understand how anyone would get addicted to these. I suppose different personalities have different reactions to drugs.

    .
     
  15. harolds

    harolds Member

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    As far as pharmaceutical amphetamines go, there are many different formulas with slightly different effects. When I worked in a prison facility I remember listening in on some inmates comparing meth recipes and those were just one type of amphetamine. With coke it all depends on the purity. Heavily cut cocaine can be fairly weak.

    The only (chemical) speed trip I ever took was in a southern French hostel. I bought a couple of cups (small) of espresso while reading a book in the lobby. Before long I was sweating, my heart racing and I couldn't get to sleep until 3:00 in the morning! So it depends on the coffee too.:D
     
  16. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    They still make prescription Methamphetamine for people with serious eating disorders and serious narcolepsy. Its called Desoxyn. Its pure and made in a lab which I'm guessing is what Pervitin was... Pure methamphetamine made in a lab with no toxic chemicals unlike street meth made in someone's bath tub.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Second that!

    By in my college days, I decided to make a pot of coffee using Pepsi instead of water...Bounced off the walls for about an hour, before I ran to the bathroom and puked.

    Glad I did not go with my first idea of using Jolt.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Chocolate covered coffee beans ... why dilute things with water.

    A con I go to occasionally usually has coffee made with caffeinated water also has bottles of caffeinated water in the con suite so if you are sensitive you have to look close at the labels.

    Surprised at the Pepsi coffee reaction. I don't think I've ever had even nausea from any sort of caffeine.
     
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I found this passage in Albrect Wacker's book about German sniper "Sepp" Allerberger, titled, "German Sniper on the Eastern Front".

    [The exhausted Landsers were laying around like sandbags in the relative safety of the assembly point when a medical sergeant came up, "Men, now you'll get lead back in your pencils." he went from man to man distributing small glass tubes containing pills, with a label that read "Pervitin". This is a a methamphetamine which suppresses feelings of hunger, increases stamina and dispels the need for sleep. "Whenever you think you can't hold out any more," he said, "take one of those pills and your motor will start running again. But don't take too many, or you'll flake out before you can say 'peep'. When you've taken one, then you'll be ready. So, have a good fight." And with that he turned to see to some wounded men who were being brought in.]
     
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