The Very Drugged Nazis - book review

JoeArthur

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This book:


Reviewed here by Antony Beevor


What struck me was this bit:

Unlike the invasion of France, Germany’s Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union could not be won with the Wehrmacht’s secret chemical weapon. The distances were simply too vast. One of the three army groups alone consumed 30 million tablets of Pervitin in the first few months of the campaign, yet it failed to produce a decisive result.

30 million tablets!
 

The Purist

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This makes sense of passages in German combat reporting in the Soviet Union where officers could not rouse their men for a final push. The troops had literally reached the end of their endurance to get to point X and their bodies just shut down.
 

von Marwitz

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This book has received mixed reviews in Germany at best. Many have critisized the author for unscientific work, turning assumptions into axioms, and lack of historic knowledge that is documented in the book on a number of occasions. Added to this is a lurid style and often a lack of sources to substantiate the authors assumptions. I have leafed through the book because it appeared interesting, but it has turned me off in a way that I didn't even buy it.

One of the better parts of it seems to be the reports on use of Pervitin in the Wehrmacht and the companies which produced it. Yet, the notion of a 'Wehrmacht on drugs' is over the top. In the same way, you could call the USAF an 'airforce on drugs' for its use of go-pills for longer missions. Even worse is the part portraying many of Hitlers's actions driven by drugs.

Bottom line:
I'll pass on this one. Better spend your money on other books.

von Marwitz
 

Eagle4ty

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This book has received mixed reviews in Germany at best. Many have critisized the author for unscientific work, turning assumptions into axioms, and lack of historic knowledge that is documented in the book on a number of occasions. Added to this is a lurid style and often a lack of sources to substantiate the authors assumptions. I have leafed through the book because it appeared interesting, but it has turned me off in a way that I didn't even buy it.

One of the better parts of it seems to be the reports on use of Pervitin in the Wehrmacht and the companies which produced it. Yet, the notion of a 'Wehrmacht on drugs' is over the top. In the same way, you could call the USAF an 'airforce on drugs' for its use of go-pills for longer missions. Even worse is the part portraying many of Hitlers's actions driven by drugs.

Bottom line:
I'll pass on this one. Better spend your money on other books.

von Marwitz
Same could be said for Paratroopers, especially the D-Day drop. LOTS of stories about "uppers" being given/used by the U.S. troopers specifically.
 

JoeArthur

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My mother went out with one of the RAF pathfinders. A pilot, he was given amphetamines to take to keep him going. He was eighteen / nineteen at the time.

So what happens? Down the pub after a mission when things were flagging - pop the pills and the party started again :)

One other trick he mentioned. After a crash landing they always said "I've lost my watch". They were issued Longines by the RAF. He came out with a nice collection of Longines...............
 

Gordon

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One other trick he mentioned. After a crash landing they always said "I've lost my watch". They were issued Longines by the RAF. He came out with a nice collection of Longines...............
I'm surprised that they weren't held responsible for the cost of the "lost" equipment.
 

Eagle4ty

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I'm surprised that they weren't held responsible for the cost of the "lost" equipment.
Peacetime, yeah. Combat, every time we got hit in an engagement there was always lost equipment ranging from NVG's to to sun glasses. I GAVE away (read that pissed away) more money or items than the cost of equipment report-ably lost.
 

Old Noob

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I'll vouch for the peacetime reimbursement for lost military equipment by (ir)responsible personnel. Had to type out a few letters from the CO
to such personnel, directing that they lost it, they bought it.
 

Michael Dorosh

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I'll vouch for the peacetime reimbursement for lost military equipment by (ir)responsible personnel. Had to type out a few letters from the CO
to such personnel, directing that they lost it, they bought it.
We do the same here; I processed plenty of loss reports when I worked in clothing stores. If a troop lost something simple like a pair of gloves on an exercise, it was often forgiven, but doing so required the signature of the unit's commanding officer.
 
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Michael Dorosh

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This book has received mixed reviews in Germany at best. Many have critisized the author for unscientific work, turning assumptions into axioms, and lack of historic knowledge that is documented in the book on a number of occasions. Added to this is a lurid style and often a lack of sources to substantiate the authors assumptions. I have leafed through the book because it appeared interesting, but it has turned me off in a way that I didn't even buy it.

One of the better parts of it seems to be the reports on use of Pervitin in the Wehrmacht and the companies which produced it. Yet, the notion of a 'Wehrmacht on drugs' is over the top. In the same way, you could call the USAF an 'airforce on drugs' for its use of go-pills for longer missions. Even worse is the part portraying many of Hitlers's actions driven by drugs.

Bottom line:
I'll pass on this one. Better spend your money on other books.

von Marwitz
I rather thought this would be the case, I appreciate the review.

Benzedrine was commonly given to Allied troops (as noted above, they were called "uppers", also "bennies" or "pep pills").

German use of drugs was not unknown of by the Allies - there were wartime ads extolling the virtues of white bread as opposed to the evil Nazi drugs, but I don't think they pushed the message all that hard since both sides were doing it.

As for 30 million tablets of Pervitin - frontline strength of the Wehrmacht in Russia at the start of Barbarossa was 3.8 million men. That's 8 tablets per man - divided up over "several months", it's not that big a number.
 

Michael Dorosh

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I'm surprised that they weren't held responsible for the cost of the "lost" equipment.
In 1990 a number of us Canadians did a one month attachment to the Scottish Division and found that the British Army gave their men a certain allowance for lost kit each month. Many of the Brit soldiers ran out of beer money by the end of the month and so they would sell off stuff that the Canadians wanted, often for very low prices - I bought a beautiful barracks dress sweater from a Gordon Highlander for 20 pounds sterling. They just wrote it off and got new stuff while pocketing our cash.

There was some drama when the Gordons were ordered into barracks dress for a parade a day or so later, and the guy that sold me the sweater asked to borrow it back. I did so and all the barracks lawyers in the Canadian contingent consoled me - positive that the guy was a scam artist and that I'd never see my sweater again. Guy wore it for their parade and came back the next day to return it to me. I expect I was lucky, I was naive enough not to have even considered it was a scam.
 

TopT

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In the Marines they gave you a certain amount each month, in your pay, and if you lost something you had to pay for it yourself (uniforms and kit).

Combat was a different story. All sorts of stuff were easily replaceable.
 
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