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Jul 21 · Last update 2 mo. ago.

What role did drugs play in the Second World War?

Drugs have been commonplace in warfare throughout history, with many cultures using mind-altering compounds to increase courage and awareness in battle or for medical reasons away from the battlefront. Alcohol is one of the most obvious and widespread of history, being used to anaesthetise mentally and physically damaged soldiers and to celebrate victories. But it was during the World Wars of the 20th century that relatively newly invented modern synthetic drugs came into play on and off the battlefield. What role did drugs play in the Second World War? And what effects did this have on societies following the war?
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Nazi Germany and Methamphetamine
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Nazi Germany and Methamphetamine

Throughout the Second World War Hitler was addicted to cocaine and amphetamines, and became dependent on testosterone, opiates, sedatives and laxatives in order to cope with the pressures of being the Führer. Germany had also embraced the use of amphetamines during the Second World War and the Temmler pharmaceutical company developed Pervitin in 1938 and it was widely used by nazi troops to provide alertness and as an anti-depressant. Toward the end of the war, German scientists devised a new drug cocktail to extend the limits of human endurance, the so called "D-IX" - 5 mg of Cocaine, 3 mg of Methamphetamine and 5 mg of Oxycodone, was intended to be distributed throughout Nazi Germany's military forces. Hitler is thought to have used this cocktail or a drug called Eukodal - an opioid, in a historic meeting with Mussolini that was instrumental with keeping the Axis's war effort going.

web.archive.org/web/20150621043239/https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/17400/armies-hopped-drugs historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/when-hitler-took-cocaine history.com/news/inside-the-drug-use-that-fueled-nazi-germany historyhit.com/did-hitlers-drug-problem-change-the-course-of-history

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Jul 27
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DH edited this paragraph
Throughout the Second World War Hitler was addicted to cocaine and amphetamines, and became dependent on testosterone, opiates, sedatives and laxatives in order to cope with the pressures of being the Führer. Germany had also embraced the use of amphetamines during the Second World War and the Temmler pharmaceutical company developed Pervitin in 1938 and it was widely used by nazi troops to provide alertness and as an anti-depressant. Toward the end of the war, German scientists devised a new drug cocktail to extend the limits of human endurance, the so called "D-IX" - 5 mg of Cocaine, 3 mg of Methamphetamine and 5 mg of Oxycodone, was intended to be distributed throughout Nazi Germany's military forces. Hitler is thought to have used this cocktail or a drug called Eukodal - an opioid, in a historic meeting with Mussolini that was instrumental with keeping the Axis's war effort going.
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