How Nazi Germany pioneered the use of performance enhancing drugs in WWII

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Image: Military History Visualized

The remarkable endurance of German and Allied soldiers during World War II had a secret ingredient: performance-enhancing drugs.

During the 1940s, Nazi troops were liberally supplied with a methamphetamine called Pervitin, while American and British soldiers stayed alert with the help of the amphetamine Benzedrine.

Medical officers on both sides distributed these stimulants — and others, such as cocaine — to keep weary soldiers awake for days at a time; to enable troops to perform longer under punishing conditions; and to deaden the horrific and debilitating effects of shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)… .

The German methamphetamine Pervitin was initially marketed in the 1930s as a recreational pick-me-up, and scientists were experimenting with Pervitin before the war to see how long student users could stay awake and still perform well on exams, said World War II historian and documentary consultant James Holland.

Related article:  Dreamers can ‘talk’ to scientists and solve problems while asleep

After British intelligence agents discovered Pervitin tablets in a downed German plane, officials hatched a plan to fuel Allied soldiers with a similar chemical advantage. They settled on the amphetamine Benzedrine in the form of tablets and inhalants; Britain’s Royal Air Force officially sanctioned its use in 1941, to be supplied at the discretion of the medical officer attached to the squadron or air base, Holland said.

Read full, original post: Nazis Dosed Soldiers with Performance-Boosting ‘Superdrug’

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