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

A shocking documentary is shedding new mild on simply how far the Nazis and Allied soldiers went in an try and win World War II — together with using performance-enhancing medication.

“Secrets of the Dead: World War Speed,” which airs June 25 on PBS, reveals that Nazi soldiers got the methamphetamine Pervitin, manufactured by Temmler Pharmaceutical, whereas American and British forces used every part they might get their fingers on, together with espresso, Pervitin obtained from Nazi forces and the amphetamine Benzedrine.

“In 1940, the British army discovered Pervitin in a downed German plane in the south of England, unlocking the secret to the German troops’ boundless energy, and leading the Allies to consider the same tactic for their troops,” PBS representatives wrote in an announcement.

Credit: Courtesy of Brave Planet Films

Credit: Courtesy of Brave Planet Films


The representatives continued: “The Allied troops decided to use the amphetamine. Both drugs make users intensely alert by flooding them with a sense of euphoria. With its added methyl-group molecule, Pervitin races across the blood-brain barrier a bit faster than Benzedrine. Otherwise, the two drugs have virtually the same impact.”

Military officers (together with U.S. General and future President Dwight Eisenhower, who ordered 500,000 tablets of Benzedrine) have been anxious to achieve an edge in the battle. They wished to push the soldiers previous their limits, hoping the medication would “defeat not just the need for sleep, but anxiety and fear among troops” as properly.

(Courtesy of Brave Planet Films)

LiveScience experiences that in 1940, the yr of the Nazis’ relentless assaults towards Britain (often known as the Blitzkrieg), roughly 35 million Pervitin tablets have been despatched to three million German soldiers, seamen and pilots, citing knowledge from the British War Office.

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

However, the implications of the medication have been largely missed, PBS experiences.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), methamphetamine is chemically just like amphetamine and may be used in a wide range of alternative ways, together with smoking, tablets, snorting or injecting the powder after it’s dissolved in water or alcohol.

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

“In addition, continued methamphetamine use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system that are associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning,” NIDA writes on its web site. “In studies of people who used methamphetamine over the long term, severe changes also affected areas of the brain involved with emotion and memory. This may explain many of the emotional and cognitive problems seen in those who 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)

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

The group even cited a latest research that individuals who as soon as used methamphetamine “have an increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”

And although Benzedrine was decided to not be as harmful as Pervitin (it was administered in pill and inhalant type), the drug was nonetheless dangerous to soldiers, documentary guide James Holland advised Live Science.

“It stops you from sleeping, but it doesn’t stop you from feeling fatigued,” he advised the information outlet. “Your body has no chance to recover from the fatigue it’s suffering, so there comes a point where you come off the drug and you just collapse, you can’t function.”

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

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

Holland added that the total extent of the dependancy and the devastating results weren’t “properly understood” and that there was “very little help” given to the individuals who turned addicted.

“By the end of the Second World War, you saw increasing knowledge of the side effects of these drugs,” Holland stated. “What you don’t see is what to do with people once they become hooked — that’s something that had to be learned the hard way in the years that followed.”


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