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Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  9,048 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews
In this highly original book, a bestseller in Germany, Norman Ohler investigates the murky, chaotic world of drug use in the Third Reich. There have been other books on Dr Morell's cocktail of treatments for Hitler and Goering's reliance on drugs, but Ohler's book is the first to show how the entire Nazi regime was permeated with drugs - cocaine, heroin, morphine and metha ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Allen Lane (first published September 10th 2015)
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Keith Martin Because the review is crappy. Hugh Trevor Roper wrote about Hitler's drug abuse in 1947. The author specifically states that drugs were not excuses…moreBecause the review is crappy. Hugh Trevor Roper wrote about Hitler's drug abuse in 1947. The author specifically states that drugs were not excuses for Hitler's murdering of Jews or Russians yet this review implies otherwise.

It's a crappy review. Read the book and see for yourself. (less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  9,048 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews

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Steven Godin
It's not often I think of drugs (being anti) but when I do, it's things like breaking bad, Ewan Mcgregor swimming in a toilet to retrieve his fix in Trainspotting, Al Pacino in Scarface snorting half of Bolivia, or Sid Vicious holed-up at the Hotel Chelsea wondering what planet he is on. But the worst human being of the 20th century tops the lot of them. Or, at least according to Ohler anyway. Prior to the bullet entering his head, that sent him on a rendezvous with the devil, Hitler had somethi ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hitler was a meth head. Seriously. A genuine meth head.

Not content with merely being a genocidal maniac, a rubbish tactician and the twentieth century’s biggest asshole, the Fuhrer was also a methamphetamine and oxycodone addict, getting both drugs and sundry other dodgy chemicals regularly mainlined into his track-marked arms by his personal doctor/sycophant Theodor Morell.

This addiction, and Nazi Germany’s generalized abuse of powerful uppers and downers (particularly u
David Schaafsma
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, non-fiction, history
Hitler and the Third Reich: From Teetotaller to Junkie

What are the images we have of the German army from WWII? Manic Blitzkrieg attacks rolling over neighboring countries. For while the whole world thought they were a superior fighting force, as Hitler claimed. The element was surprise—shock and awe—and a kind of audacity. And what images do we have of the war-time Hitler? Ranting, raging, increasingly out of control, a dictator and a despot, possibly insanely evil. But how is it th
Sam Quixote
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nowhere were the 1920s more roaring than in Berlin - cocaine and morphine were available over the counter and cheaper than alcohol, and everyone was escaping reality, particularly since life in the Weimar Republic, with its mass unemployment and hyperinflation, was such a nightmare! Then these drugs started to be outlawed for obvious reasons (physical/mental health damage, addiction, death, etc.) and the Nazis came to power in 1933, supposedly ushering in an era of abstinence and sobriety, mirro ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Sensational history with two premises: first, that Adolf Hitler was addicted to the cocktail of drugs prescribed to him by his Doktor Feelgood, Theodor Morell. This includes cocaine, oxycodone (brand name Eukodal), and methamphetamines (Pervitin). Ohler posits that Hitler's addictions and withdrawal had military consequences - Hitler's increasingly irrational decision-making, for one. It's an intriguing idea, but it seems as though Ohler is willing to explain almost everything, from Dunkirk to the Crimean campaign, ...more
--Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany

Picture Credits
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In this fascinating account of drug use in the Third Reich, author Norman Ohler takes us on a journey through the history of Germany and explains how, and why, it became a centre of pharmaceutical research. Although the National Socialist Party presented themselves as clean cut, and Hitler praised abstinence, it is clear that much of the Nazi hierarchy – including Hitler himself – were very reliant on drugs and, indeed, that their use was widespread both in the armed forces and in civilian life. ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all, despite the author's infectious zest and admirable research I'm not sure I share his conviction of the importance of his findings in influencing many events of world War Two. This essentially is that Nazi Germany was fuelled by narcotics and in particular a drug called Pervitin which essentially was crack cocaine in pure form. The argument that the blitzkrieg of France couldn't have happened without Pervitin is probably the most convincing of his arguments though equally it might b ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and fascinating. I'll review it more tomorrow after I take some pills.

Guardian article

Opening: Methamphetamine, the Volkesdroge (1933-1938): National Socialism was toxic, in the truest sense of the word. It gave the world a chemical legacy that still affects us today(*): a poison that refuses to disappear.

How dirty one feels at the end of certain books, would love to be able to scrub my brain clean with a hard brush. This is a very good rendition of the chemical factories, and how Hitler's rants were drug fue
Steven Z.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
With thousands upon thousands of books written about Nazi Germany and its “Fuhrer,” Adolf Hitler, one wonders if there is a relevant area of research that has not been mined thoroughly. The appearance of Norman Ohler’s BLITZED: DRUGS IN THE THIRD REICH provides an affirmative answer. A regime that prided itself on its anti-drug mantra was led by a man usually pumped full of drugs by his personal physician Dr. Theodor Morell. The premise of Ohler’s work, first published in Germany in 2015, is tha ...more
World history told through a pharmalogical lens.

Ohler's extraordinary history of drugs in the Third Reich starts with a survey of Germany in the inter-war period, tracing both the civilian and military usage of the newest pharmacological advancement: Pervitin, aka crystal meth. In a convenient capsule form, this chemical compound was advertised to help with every possible mental and physical ailment - there's even an advert for meth-infused chocolates for your sweetie! This incredible chapter o
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The variable shortness of the chapters, some a mere page-turn long, makes for a blitzed reading experience indeed!

Built upon the interwar boom in over-the-counter pharmaceutics, the 1940 Blitzkrieg was kept on its feet for 17 days at the cost of a good night's sleep for all participants and a handful of heart attacks among middle-aged officers swimming on the freshly conquered beaches.

Tanker chocolate and pep in pill form remained de rigeur for long-shift jobs such as bomber runs,
Jill Hutchinson
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating look at Nazi Germany, which although preaching the ideology of physical, mental, and moral purity, was rife with drugs. In order to carry out the Fuehrer's military plans, which became more delusional as the tide of war changed, the ground troops had to undergo rapid and exhausting marches/movements (think the Ardennes) to catch the Allies off guard and unprepared. The Blitzkreig was born and with it the necessity for super-human resilience. How better to drive troops to the edge of ph ...more
Steve Wiggins
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Drugs, Nazis, insanity—what an interesting and dangerous combination. In Blitzed Norman Ohler tells the story of the deep entanglement of drugs and Nazi Germany. Along the way many pharmaceutical company names (still quite evident in a drive through central New Jersey) get mentioned. The history is fascinating and disturbing. The Blitzkrieg that won the initial phases of the war on the western front was largely possible by an army on crystal meth. Able to stay awake and push on for days, they moved wit ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Entertaining book filled with interesting premises. Ohler's account of Hitler and his drug use is quite fascinating, and seems solid. I didn't realize Hitler's addiction reached such levels, and given that it wouldn't be surprising if a variety of his health issues cropped up due to rampant drug use. It gets more tenuous as the book explores drug use further and further away from the inner power circle. The documentation of use in the Wehrmacht is intriguing I just wonder how systematic and wide ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler is a fascinating account of the role drugs played in Nazi Germany and which claims claims that German soldiers and civilians commonly used methamphetamine, and also that Hitler was a drug addict.

Methamphetamine was a legal prescription drug marketed as Pervetin produced by the Berlin-based Temmler pharmaceutical company and glowingly endorsed by addicted doctors. It seemed like a miracle at first and was taken by civilians and the armed forces alike.

Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
121st book for 2018.

Berlin, during the Weimar year was a party town, full of of all the fun drugs cocaine, opium, and uppers and downers. Apparently the party didn't end after the Pure Ayran Race came into power. Ohler, documents in surprising detail how the whole Nazi war machine ran on crystal meth (Geiles Krystal as Jesse P from BB would say). This was one reason the the French couldn't keep up with the German's in their Blitzed Kreig across their country. They will have to stop s
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, wwii, history, war
I found this book tremendously enlightening. It made sense of much of the behaviour of the Nazis during WWII. That they were on stupendously high doses of speed goes far towards explaining such inhuman attitudes. I must say I took an unhealthy amount of pleasure in imagining just how miserable and in pain and unwell the führer must have been once he became so dependent on his doctors’ dubious injections, and in fact a complete junkie, this man who continued to pride himself on clean living and w ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
If I'm taking this book seriously, and not even exaggerating, most of the Germany was high on meth at some point.
This book is to history what Fox News is to journalism. It can be entertaining, but don’t be surprised when facts are shunted aside in an attempt to bolster a story line.

Really, the lurid cover and title of the book pretty much set the stage for what is to follow. Other reviewers (many of whom seemed to love the book, which to my mind is a rather sad commentary on modern standards for nonfiction) have gone into great detail about the main points of the book, so I won’t repeat them. However, jus
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Very interesting look at drug use within the Third Reich-from Germany’s burgeoning pharmaceutical industry following WWI to the use of meth to keep soldiers awake and energized during WWII campaigns. The book also follows Hitler’s drug use via his personal physician, who was quite creative with hormone and vitamin injections. Eventually, he became so dependent on cocaine and oxy that he was in pretty bad physical shape by the end of the war.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!


Years ago, I heard about this book while my mom was listening to NPR while I was in the car. I don’t remember how I retained it for all those years but I did. I remembered it and, finally, I decided to buy it when it was cheap somewhere.

I’m so happy that I did it.

This book is absolutely crazy because I didn’t know the extent of drug use in WWII and, in general, Nazi Germany. When I think of that era, I don’t think of dru/>
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So many cites and refs and substantiated research. It was a tour de force. Revealing and important. Read it. Read every page. Including the index.
Roll names like Eukadol, Pervitin and Merck around in your mouths. Wince - as I did, at the gazillion mainlines and IM injections in the der Fuhrer's arms and behind. Learn about the manufacture and use of narcotics that Germany sold to the world. Understand the difference between an opioid and an opiate . Raw materials more close at hand than th
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
~ review copy

I admit that when I selected this book I had the expectation that it might be salacious and merely a 'fun, crazy' read. The first chapter left me unconvinced as to whether 'this research' was to be taken seriously or not. As I continued though I have to say that I gained confidence in the author's academic rigor.

There are pages of notes at the end but that in itself isn't enough. What convinced me was the depth of the archive diving that the author had done,
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This was a surprisingly fun read – well, as fun as any book about Nazis and Hitler can be. Ohler manages to break a lot of new ground in a well-worn subject, and his argument is clear and convincing: the "blitzkrieg" that so stunned Poland and France in 1939-40 was not the result of any fiendish Hitlerian plan, but the product of large amounts of meth. Ohler also delves deeply into Hitler's medical records to document his increasing reliance on opioids, cocaine and eventually meth, and how the c ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blitzed manages to thread so many needles at once. In the process of explicating the sinister history of meth, Ohler manages to incorporate insights and analysis from the fields of psychopharmacology, medicine, psychology, military strategy, infinitum.

This book, which at first seems primed to be a cutsey micro-history (peep that cover), builds itself, in less than 300 pages, into a thorough, at times frightening examination of one of the secret pillars of third reich p
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Norman Ohler's Blitzed is an extensively researched book that provides another view of Hitler's Germany. Despite Der Fuehrer's official (and hypocritical) pretence of abstemiousness, he did eat meat, and he did drink, and he did have a mistress. We can add drug use to that list, not just by Hitler, but on a national scale all the way down to ordinary German soldiers, hopped up on Pervitin (methamphetamine) tablets during the invasions of Poland, France, and Russia.

Once an over-the-co
Peter Mcloughlin
This is mostly a story about drugs used in the Third Reich mostly stimulants the most notorious of which is methamphetamine. Also, a lot on Hitler's use of stimulants and his mental deterioration as the war went on and Nazi fortunes took a downward turn. Drugs issues might have interested me more at a different stage of life and the Nazis are a warning from history but despite clean living image they wanted to present they were depraved in drug use as well as ideology and cruelty.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii, nonfiction
Generally I don’t read reviews of books before the books themselves, in a vague attempt to form independent opinions. (There are definitely times when a review is necessary as a warning, though. Don’t tackle A Little Life without being at least partly spoiled so as to cushion the emotional trauma, for example.) In this case, however, I’d read two very different reviews in the Guardian: one positive and one negative. I came across the latter having already reserved the book, then I decided to read it despite the rese ...more
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Norman Ohler is a German author and screenwriter.

He is the son of Wolfgang Ohler.
“What is past is prologue’.” 6 likes
“The fact was that between the autumn of 1941, when he started being given hormone and steroid injections, and the second half of 1944, when first the cocaine and then above all the Eukodal kicked in, Hitler hardly enjoyed a sober day.” 1 likes
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