Blitzed is a colorful, intriguing investigation into the Nazis’ use of methamphetamines during the Third Reich. Norman Ohler pays particular attention to Hitler’s relationship with his personal doctor, Theo Morell, arguing that the doctor’s enthusiasm for uppers eventually helped dismantle the Nazi war machine. Recommended By Moses M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A fast-paced narrative that discovers a surprising perspective on World War II: Nazi Germany’s all-consuming reliance on drugs.
The Nazi regime preached an ideology of physical, mental, and moral purity. But as Norman Ohler reveals in this gripping new history, the Third Reich was saturated with drugs. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer cooked up cocaine, opiates, and, most of all, methamphetamines, to be consumed by everyone from factory workers to housewives to millions of German soldiers. In fact, troops regularly took rations of a form of crystal meth — the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility associated with the high even help to explain certain German military victories.
Drugs seeped all the way up to the Nazi high command and, especially, to Hitler himself. Over the course of the war, Hitler became increasingly dependent on injections of a cocktail of drugs — including a form of heroin — administered by his personal doctor. While drugs alone cannot explain the Nazis’ toxic racial theories or the events of World War II, Ohler’s investigation makes an overwhelming case that, if drugs are not taken into account, our understanding of the Third Reich is fundamentally incomplete.
Carefully researched and rivetingly readable, Blitzed throws surprising light on a history that, until now, has remained in the shadows.
"Very good and extremely interesting — a serious piece of scholarship very well-researched ... There have, of course, been other books that already argued that Hitler was effectively a drug addict at the hands of Dr Morell's pills and injections of amphetamines and other drugs. But Ohler takes the argument, to my mind, further and more convincingly." Ian Kershaw, author of To Hell and Back and The End
"Blitzed tells the remarkable story of how Nazi Germany slid towards junkie-state status. It is an energetic ... account of an accelerating, modernizing society, an ambitious pharmaceuticals industry, a military machine that was looking for ways to create an unbeatable soldier, and a dictator who couldn't function without fixes from his quack ... It has an uncanny ability to disturb." Times (UK)
"Ohler's astonishing account of methamphetamine addiction in the Third Reich changes what we know about the Second World War ... Blitzed looks set to reframe the way certain aspects of the Third Reich will be viewed in the future." Guardian
About the Author
Norman Ohler is an award-winning German novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He spent five years researching Blitzed in numerous archives in Germany and the United States, and spoke to eye-witnesses, military historians, and doctors. He is also the author of the novels Die Quotenmaschine (the world's first hypertext novel), Mitte and Stadt des Goldes (translated into English as Ponte City). He was co-writer of the script for Wim Wenders' film Palermo Shooting.