4. The Context That Explains “Nazi Super Soldiers”
In the war’s first year, the Germans swept through Poland, Denmark and Norway, the Lowland Countries, and France. It was in the context of the astonishing speed and fury of the blitzkrieg that reports of “Nazi Super Soldiers” emerged. The pace and ferocity of the German advance owed much to innovative tactics, that integrated infantry, armor, and air, into a seemingly irresistible juggernaut. However, the Allies could not figure out the inexplicable energy and tirelessness of the German soldiers, who seemed indefatigable as they advanced and fought day and night, with little or no rest.
The reason was crystal meth, or Pervitin, which German troops were encouraged to pop in order to fight fatigue. The packaging read “Alertness Aid“, to be taken “to maintain wakefulness“. It was accompanied by a warning that it should only be used “from time to time“. However, once people start to use drugs, they seldom limit their intake to “from time to time”. Things got worse when medical authorities realized that cocaine’s effects overlap substantially with those of amphetamines, with the added “benefit” that cocaine produces greater euphoria. So cocaine was added to Pervitin.