Adolf Hitler had an army of drugged-up Nazis that were able to stay up for days on end and brutally advance across Europe.
In 1940, the Nazi dictator’s forces were preparing to mount an assault on France through the Ardennes mountains.
Within just a few weeks, the seemingly unstoppable Wehrmacht had seized Paris and crushed French units with their Blitzkrieg tactics.
The strategy relied on relentless advancement on the ground, aerial bombardment and fast tanks.
However, the troops also had another weapon up their sleeves – copious amounts of drugs.
In 1938, the German pharmaceutical industry began churning out methamphetamine pervitin – essentially an earlier version of crystal meth.
They were distributed throughout the nation and later the country’s armed forces.
Air force members referred to the pills as “pilot’s salt” and Hitler himself was given injections of meth.
Prior to the invasion of France, soldiers were told to take one tablet per day and a “stimulant decree” was sent to army doctors.
Norman Ohler, who wrote Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany, told The Guardian: “The invasion of France was made possible by the drugs. No drugs, no invasion.
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“When Hitler heard about the plan to invade through Ardennes, he loved it. But the high command said: it’s not possible, at night we have to rest, and they [the allies] will retreat and we will be stuck in the mountains.
“But then the stimulant decree was released, and that enabled them to stay awake for three days and three nights.
“[Nazi General Erwin] Rommel and all those tank commanders were high – and without the tanks, they certainly wouldn’t have won.”
In total, 35 million doses were provided for the campaign in France.
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In 1941, the drug was outlawed in Germany – but distribution among troops was kept under wraps.
As the Nazis began to lose ground in 1944, Dr Gerhard Orzechowski began to work on a super-strength cocaine chewing gum.
Hitler Youth members were sent out to sea in mini-submarines with the drugs, as part of a plan to target the Thames estuary.
However, many of them suffered mental breakdowns due to the isolation and sleep deprivation.
Mr Ohler added: “It was unreal. This wasn’t reality. But if you’re fighting an enemy bigger than yourself, you have no choice.
“You must, somehow, exceed your own strength. That’s why terrorists use suicide bombers. It’s an unfair weapon.”
In 1945, the factory producing Pervitin was bombed, slashing the Nazis’ drug consumption.
Throughout the war, the Allies also used amphetamine to stay awake, relying on the stimulant Benzedrine.
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From autumn 1941 to the winter of 1944, Hitler’s drug use had increased dramatically thanks to personal physician Dr Theodor Morell.
Towards the end of his life, the dictator became hooked on opiates and his tremors began to worsen – leading to speculation he may have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
On April 30, 1945, Hitler swallowed a cyanide capsule and shot himself in an underground bunker in Berlin as Allied forces closed in.
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