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Meth abuse in WWII


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#1 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 03:51 PM

Morning ladies and gents...

We have an interesting training this morning addressing Methamphetamine Labs: The History & Colorado's Problem.

My question is this... was Meth given to both allied and axis forces to improve performance and alertness? Curious to hear some feedback and how it relates today :confused:

Mark

#2 sniper1946

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 03:56 PM

found this snippit mark..
Amphetamine was first synthesized in Germany in 1887, and was considered "a drug in search of a disease" for many years. Nothing was really done with the drug until the 1920's, when it was experimented with to treat everything from depression to decongestion. In the 1930's, amphetamine was marketed as Benzedrine and was used in over the counter inhalers to treat nasal congestion, the drug was almost immediately abused due to the depression. Meth, much more potent and easier to make than amphetamine, was first synthesized in 1919 in Japan and was initially marketed as a recreational drug until its side effects were discovered. During World War II, meth was used to keep soldiers fighting.

The Allied Forces used a pharmaceutical grade of Amphetamine manufactured in chemistry labs. The Axis Forces used Meth manufactured using a method that Hitler discovered (Nazi Method) that was manufactured in make-shift labs. Hitler himself was a Meth addict and the Japanese Kamikaze pilots used Meth before almost every flight because it made them more alert and they could fly for longer periods of time.
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#3 LRusso216

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 03:59 PM

Mark, a quick Google search yielded a thread from this very forum on the topic from over a year ago. Check this out. http://www.ww2f.com/...gs-use-ww2.html

Hope it helps.

image001.png

Lou


#4 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:02 PM

Thata boy Ray! Good show. The information provided is very helpful. My next question is this... if offered the drug, would you take it?

#5 sniper1946

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:03 PM

good spot lou,very enlightening..cheers,ray..

#6 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:03 PM

Mark, a quick Google search yielded a thread from this very forum on the topic from over a year ago. Check this out. http://www.ww2f.com/...gs-use-ww2.html

Hope it helps.


Teach,

Good morning sir,,,, I always do this! I get excited about a topic, and fail to research it first :o Thanks for the heads up. Checking it out now.

Mark

#7 sniper1946

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:05 PM

Thata boy Ray! Good show. The information provided is very helpful. My next question is this... if offered the drug, would you take it?


I need energy mark thats for sure,as the grandchildren have gone back home now,I have them stay each end of term and enjoy them very much,answer,NO!

#8 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:08 PM

Well played Ray :),,,,, even back in the day? say for instance bunked in at Bastogne?

#9 marc780

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:14 PM

The Germans absolutely handed out meth to their soldiers when the situation warranted it - i just finished an excellent book on the Kursk battle (i tried to find it on amazon for a link but couldnt - the authors name is either cook or cooksey). Anyway at one point in this colossal battle, the author quotes an SS grenadier who recalls how his unit commander came up and handed out pills to the men in the unit to keep them awake and alert. Since nobody had slept for days, and that he was told it was methampetimines they were taking.

#10 sniper1946

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:14 PM

Well played Ray :),,,,, even back in the day? say for instance bunked in at Bastogne?


being dead or being alert,mmm!!! tricky! lets put it this way,alive and kicking mark..;)

#11 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:21 PM

marc, What's the name of the book?

Ray,,,, haha! you see my point. I'll second that statement.

#12 brndirt1

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:31 PM

I don't know if "abuse" is the correct terem here really. I'm sure there was abuse, but there was also sanctioned and encouraged use of many drugs.

As far as the Wehrmacht using "speed", one should remember that the Berlin company Temmel, which manufactured Pervitine (a synthetic which is chemically identical to methamphetamine), supplied the Nazi Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and the Luftwaffe with 29 million of its Pervitine pills during the period of April-December of 1939 alone. Official documents only mention the drug under the code name "obm", but a cross-reference to the Temmel shipping orders reveal that "obm" is Pervitine.

Hitler himself was most likely addicted to Pervitine, as it had been prescibed by Dr. Morell as a "vitamin suppliment". One can only imagine how much of the drug was used in the next five plus years of war by German soldiers, sailors and airmen. All, without exception, front line Nazi orderly bags were filled with that "obm" drug, and by the last two of the war years a new combination had been concocted for military use. A single one of the new Temmel "obm" pills contained five milligrams of "natural" cocaine, three milligrams of Pervitine, five milligrams of eucodal (morphine-based painkiller), and the new synthetic cocaine that was developed by the Merk group.

But, before anybody jumps to any conclusions about the Nazis and their drug use it should also be remembered that all the soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the time did the same thing with the full knowledge and encouragement of their governments. US, UK, Commonwealth, ect.. Including even the Italians and Imperial Japanese. In point of fact, the most common "speed" used by American troops was Dexedrine which had been perfected in 1935 as a synthetic form of ephedrine. Post war the new Japanese Government distributed US produced Dexedrine wholesale to its citizenry to reduce "hunger pangs" and increase the "work" abilities of its citizens, by 1954 it was estimated that at least two, and probably ten percent of the Japanese people were addicted to the drug. And remember that methamphetamine, the more potent and easier to make than the German (1887) discovered amphetamine was cheaper than cocaine. This version of amphetamine was discovered and perfected in Japan itself in 1919, so our supply to the civilian population probably was easy.

1919 Methamphetamine was first synthesized in by the Japanese chemist A. Ogata.

1932 Amphetamine is first marketed in the US as 'benzedrine' by Smith, Kline & French of Philadelphia, in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat congestion.

1935 Amphetamine's stimulant effect is first recognized and physicians successfully use it to treat narcolepsy.

1937 Amphetamine is first approved by the American Medical Association for sale in tablet form. It is sold by prescription for use in the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

World War II Both Amphetamine and Methamphetamine are widely distributed to soldiers of both the Allies and Axis to help improve performance. This led to addiction problems in Japan after the war.

1940 Methamphetamine is marketed under the trade name "Methedrine" by Burroughs Wellcome in the US.

1942 Dextro-amphetamine and methamphetamine become commonly available. Directly after the war was over, the US dispersed millions of "speed" tablets to the civilians of Japan to both combat hunger pangs and keep them working.

1950 - 1953 U.S. dispenses amphetamine to any UN troops in Korea at MASH units when asked for them.

1954 Height of the Japanese amphetamine epidemic. There are estimated to be over 2 million amphetamine users in a population of 88.5 million.

1959 First report of IV injection of contents from Benzedrine inhalers.

1963 Illicit speed production begins when the Attorney General of California requests that injectable ampoules be removed from the market.

1960's Methamphetamine use rises in the United States, and JFK is the best known "legal" user.

1970 Amphetamine becomes schedule II Controlled Substance in the U.S. with the passage of the 'U.S. Drug Abuse Regulation and Control Act of 1970'. This makes it illegal to possess without a prescription.

That is why even in America the drug wasn't even recognized as a Schedule II controlled substance until the late 1960s, early ‘70s, by then 10 billion amphetamine tablets were being produced per year. It was also estimated that in the USA between nine and eleven percent of the population legally used the drug for one reason or the other before it was declared a "controlled substance".

You might want to look for a book by Dr. Wolf Kemper, Nazis on Speed; Drug use in the Third Reich. The gentleman is a criminologist as well as author, this is a study by he and two or three of his colleagues using German archives.

Herr Hitler had been under the "tender mercies" of a Dr. Theo Morell since the mid-thirties, and while many considered him a quack, Hitler would have none of it and followed his recommendations as much as could be expected . Between 1936 and his death by suicide in 1945, Hitler was administered by pill, liquid elixir , and injection form between thirty and thirty five different drugs and concoctions of Dr. Morell. Some twice a day, some three times a week, some once a month. These including (according to Morell's own records) Septoiod, Yatren pills (Iodoxyquinoline-sulphonic acid, + 5% opium), Dolantin (German version of Demerol), Tonophosphan (still used in veterinary applications) , Cardiazol, Vitamultin-Calcium, Pervitine (methamphetamine) , Strophantus, Dr. Morell's own "Little Gold Pills" (for nervous stomach), injections of emulsified bulls testicles combined with liquid Multiflor, and he also had leeches applied to his face regularly to combat his migraine headaches, and eye muscle twitching.

That the "amphetamines" were not seen as a risk or frowned upon in their usage until well after the WW2 years should be understood here. Many of the other "major" statesmen on the world stage also used the drug without guilt or shame, it was simply seen as one of the "new wonder" chemicals coming out of the war. On a par with penicillin, codeine, DDT, and/or "sulfa powders". Anthony Eden may have been the fellow whose amphetamine use was the most detrimental to both his health and the "world stage". In his attempts to match or better his mentor Sir Winston, he put in many too many hours working without sleep. This may have contributed to his failings/oversights in the Suez affair in the fifties. Remember it wasn’t until the late sixties that amphetamines were even classified a "controlled" substance in the US!

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Happy Trails,
Clint.

#13 jemimas_special2

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:44 PM

Clint Clint Clint.... well done. This post helps immensely. Wrote down the book reference :)

Thank you,

Mark

#14 brndirt1

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 06:08 PM

Clint Clint Clint.... well done. This post helps immensely. Wrote down the book reference :)

Thank you,

Mark


I had put that together for a now defunct forum called "Historic Battles", I was sad to see it fold earlier this summer. Just not enough people contributing eventually I guess.

I had kept that list/post from that site on an old iomega zip disk though, and it was pretty easy to find when you made me think of it.

Glad if it was of any help.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#15 DocCasualty

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 06:31 PM

With this revived drug use thread, I hope you don't mind my tagging this related question here too.

I've heard anecdotal mention of anabolic steroid use or experimentation by the Germans during WWII but nothing definitive. Does anybody have any reliable information on this subject? I did a search of ww2f and only found a thread someone had started a couple of years ago posing a similar question, without any response. A Google search just turned up more of these anecdotal statements of this having taken place, without anything to back them up.

I would be curious about any Allied or Axis experiments of this kind, however, whenever this is mentioned it usually is in the context of the "Nazis" trying to create super-human soldiers, capitalizing on the aggressive effects of testosterone derivatives. I'm not doubting that it occured but can't say I've ever seen good evidence of it either.




"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#16 brndirt1

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:03 PM

With this revived drug use thread, I hope you don't mind my tagging this related question here too.


I wonder at that usage, even though anabolic steroids had been developed in the thirties (in and out of Europe), their use for building body-mass and bone density was apparently NOT used in either sport nor the military until post-war. In that time-frame they were only used as an injected supplement for those males who suffered from atrophied or non-functioning testes, and in the aged for osteoporosis. Oddly enough Hitler may have been a recipent of testosterone treatments, but in the form of emulsified bulls testicles as noted in Dr. Morrel's notes.

Anabolic steroids (rather than metabolic steroids) were exceedingly expensive to produce, and only used in limited medical therapy situations. Originally anabolic steroids were also used to treat osteoporosis in the aged as they could provide an osteogenic effect via modification of cytokine production within bone marrow as well as enhancement of osteoblast differentiation and osteoclast recruitment. In short, the steroids strengthened bones.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, anabolic steroids showed promising results in ameliorating the effects of muscular dystrophy. Between 20 and 50% of treated children experienced a considerable improvement in mobility and strength. Due to the negative side-effects of anabolic steroids, these experiments were stopped.

Nobody in the medical field really believed in their value as performance enhancing substances for decades, until the Eastern European countries realized that they really could help athletes in international competition.

Since they were not widely known to have performance increasing possibilities (unlike amphetamines), it is unlikely that the even the Nazis used them to make a "super soldier". just my opinion of course, from the reading I have done.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#17 DocCasualty

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:36 PM

Thanks for that, Clint. I'm sure you're probably correct and another WWII legend/myth is debunked. I've also heard of prednisone being used by pilots in WWII (to what effect I don't know), however, that wasn't synthesized until the mid-1950s and not even commercially released until the 1960s.



"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#18 macrusk

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:44 AM

Re the question about steroids:

Kendall, Edward Calvin

Kendall, Edward Calvin



(1886–1972) US biochemist: pioneer

Kendall studied chemistry at Columbia University, New York and afterwards worked mainly at the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, MN. During the First World War he isolated from the thyroid gland a new amino acid, thyroxin. This contains iodine, and it is a component of the thyroid hormone (thyroglobulin) that partly controls the rate of the body’s metabolism. Kendall went on to study the hormones of the cortex (outer part) of the adrenal glands. In the 1930s he isolated a series of steroids from this source; one of them (Kendall’s compound E, later named cortisone) was shown by his co-worker P S Hench (1896–1965) to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. During the Second World War there was a belief that the Germans were buying adrenal glands from Argentinian slaughterhouses and using extracts from them to help their pilots fly at great heights. The rumour was false, but it led to intensified study and by 1943 no fewer than 23 corticosteroids had been isolated in the USA or in Switzerland, and Kendall and others had devised synthetic routes to make related compounds. Since then, corticosteroids have been much used to treat inflammatory, allergic and rheumatic diseases. In 1950 the Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology was shared by Kendall, Hench and T Reichstein (1897–1996), who had worked on these compounds at Zürich.


Read more: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/7329/Kendall-Edward-Calvin.html#ixzz0Rp63hWTv


<a href="Encyclopedia - Contributed Articles, Edward Calvin</a>
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#19 brndirt1

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for that information, and the link. I had massive cortisone injections as a youth, and for absolutely ludicrous reasons. I don't know if you heard of or care about american major league baseball, but in the early sixties Sandy Kolfax of the LA Dodgers had corisone injections in his throwing arm to extend his playing years.

My Dad thought, as did others, that this was a new wonder drug with no side effects (apparently) and when I had broken my right wrist for the first time he and my Dr. decided to inject it with cortisone so I could play basketball and football in both Jr. High and High School. I never made anything in the baseball or basketball area, as per scholarships, but I did get a partial scholarship to a small college to play football. It wasn't much of a big deal, and I forfeited it before my Soph. year to enlist in the USN in 1968.

Much later, I developed an allergy to a combination of body sweat and grain dust, not a good thing for a farm boy. Then I got more cortisone, both by injection and in pill form to "clear up" my rash. It seemed to work. When I was in my late thirties however, I developed cataracts in both eyes, and had to have plastic interocular implants to replace the biological lens in my eyes. Over the years I had suffered a number of blows to the head, resulting in unconciousness, and in one case a three day coma (don't ask).

The upshot of these were that my lenses developed miro-fractures in them, and the cortisone I had taken over the years was filtered out of my system and "stuck" to them since they acted like little filters. Tah Dah, cataracts before I was forty.

Now I know who was behind the entire "cure for joint arthritis", which translated to "cure for damaged joints" and started my use of the steriod. I didn't even know it was one until my cataracts were diagnosed and my Opthamologist asked me if I ever had suffered blows to the head, resulting in unconsciousness, and/or taken steroids, and I replied indignantly that I did NOT taken steroids. He then asked about the cortisone, and it was then that I even found out that is was one.

Ah well, such is life.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#20 Sgtchris

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 12:09 AM

Well, they give amphetamines (same stuff used in Adderall, used to treat ADHD) to elementary students. So I don't see the problem of them giving it to the soilders in WW2. It was basicly the same thing. It's not like they were giving soilders crystal meth to smoke during battle (thats the image I get when I hear soilders getting meth) They were given something like Adderall. I think the benifits of taking that during a war like WW2 would do more good than bad. Soilders would be more alert, more energy, more willing to fight and also a decreased appetite. If I had a choice during ww2, I would personally take it.

#21 marc780

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 08:38 PM

marc, What's the name of the book?

Ray,,,, haha! you see my point. I'll second that statement.


i got the author's name wrong, this is the one - it is the single best book on the battle i have read (including the Tigers are Burning by Caiden)

Amazon.com: The Battle of Kursk: Operation Citadel 1943 (9780141391090): Robin Cross: Books




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