I was watching a program last night about the history of illegal drugs and how they became illegal. It was on A&E I believe. Anyway, it claimed that all the German army had been on amphetemines thereby having the ability to storm across Europe at lightning speed. It also said that Hitler was injected up to 6 times daily with meth and that he was a meth addict (I should say so! Six times a day! YIKES!). It kind of makes sense since Hitler was a raving lunatic, and all. Strange though that I’ve never heard it before. A google search only hit on an AryanNation website–not a reliable source imho. I’ve a degree in American History with an emphasis in WWII and I’ve never heard this purported. Any Dopers every heard/read this?
Hitler was given a variety of medication by his personal physician, Dr. Theodore Morell, who seems to be widely regarded by historians as a quack. He did recieve daily methamphetamine injections, and had all the classic symptoms of a speed freak: megalomania, paranoia, tremors, etc. On the other hand, he was a megalomaniac long before he got on speed, he may have had Parkinson’s or syphillus, (speed apparently wouldn’t have been the cause of some of his one-sided body twitching) and people were trying to kill him. How much of his nuttiness was due to the speed and how much was due to other factors is debatable.
Apparently they do make them available on long range missions. The U.S. Air Force admitted that the pilots who accidentally killed Canadian troops in Afghanistan last year were on amphetamines, but deny the drug played a role.
There is apparently a new drug being used by the military these days. It’s a very specific form of sleep inhibitor which allows the user to operate normally for days at a time without any sleep at all. Then, when it wears off, the normal sleep cycle kicks back into place and everything is jake again.
I first heard about this stuff just a few weeks before the invasion of Afghanistan from a completely unofficial source. As far as I know, nobody has made an official announcement of the use of the stuff, and I’ve seen no connection asserted between this sleep inhibitor and the unusual spate of murders by elite troops returning to Fort Bragg during the Afghan campaign. But it certainly occurred to me.
I think Provigil might be the drug you’re talking about. My husband is on this for a form of narcolepsy and gets lots of updates in the mail on how it’s being used for the military and people in the healthcare industry to safety stay awake for certain periods of time.
Hitler was not the only national leader to enjoy regular amphetamine treatment. Our own JFK was not averse to all kinds of medicines for his various ailments, one of which was some type of amphetamine concoction (sometimes mixed with painkillers), administered by Dr. Max Jacobson, who made himself regularly available. Kennedy didn’t care if it was “horse piss,” as long as it worked. It seemed to have.
i remember seeing something during the current war coverage where Ted Koppel said the soldiers were being given amphetimines “similar to what truck drivers take” to help them stay awake as they made their inital entrance into Iraq.
casdave I think the rationale is awake=alive. Amphetamines are bad for you, but the I imagine the negative health impact is outweighed by the greater risks of being fatigued when you concentration to save your life.