Meth Nazis

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#2

The truly appalling behaviour of the Nazis in Russia makes sense if they were high on drugs. Of course, this came back in their faces when the Soviet Union invaded East Prussia and proceeded to do to the Germans what had been done to them. Don’t do drugs, kids, it can lead to the collapse of your society in total death and destruction!

But the amazing thing was that intelligent, rational people like von Guderian remained unable to deal with Hitler despite his insanity, which must have been obvious to everybody around him. When we look at company destroying CEOs and economy destroying bankers, and realise they may well be on the same drugs, it’s hard to understand why shareholders (and governments, in the case of banks) don’t mandate that these people (as well as their workers) aren’t required to have random drug tests which are rigorously enforced. Because clearly the people around them are intimidated from doing anything to stop the irrationality.

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#3

I’m not sure why anyone thinks that this is news, unless it’s part of some “70th anniversary of the end of WWII” thing. I remember reading years ago about how Hitler’s personal Dr. Feelgood hand-wrapped his speed pills in gold foil. For pretty much the entire time Hitler was in the bunker at the end, he lived on meth and chocolate cake.

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#4

The drugs aren’t necessarily the primary culprit. A CEO or a politico can be perfectly irrational without need for chemical assistance.

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#5

Use of mind-altering chemicals in warfare dates back for millenia. “Dutch courage” with alcohol, berserks with amanita muscaria 'shrooms, amphetamine pills for naval personnel for special cases (submarine hunts, engagements…) where normal human endurance had to be stretched, “go pills” for contemporary US Air Force pilots (and the resulting friendly fire incidents after their prolonged use)…

A lot of R&D goes into making better soldiers. Let’s hope some of that trickles down to the civilian sector as well… There are also non-chemical methods under research, namely transcranial magnetic stimulation.

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#6

There isn’t a year where someone doesn’t come up with some “new” & “shocking” discovery about Hitler…

Hitler is alive.
Hitler lived in Argentina.
Hitler was gay.
Hitler was a jew.
Hitler had one testicle.
Hitler’s mustache was a communist.
Hitler was a unicorn.
Hitler was a meth head.
Hitler was Stalin.

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#7

Not just the Germans, and not just WW2. From Wikipedia: “During World War II, amphetamine and methamphetamine were used extensively by both the Allied and Axis forces for their stimulant and performance-enhancing effects.”

Also: “Amphetamine was given to Allied bomber pilots during World War II to sustain them by fighting off fatigue and enhancing focus during long flights. During the Persian Gulf War, amphetamine became the drug of choice for American bomber pilots, being used on a voluntary basis by roughly half of U.S. Air Force pilots.The Tarnak Farm incident, in which an American F-16 pilot killed several friendly Canadian soldiers on the ground [in Afghanistan], was blamed by the pilot on his use of amphetamine.”

I knew a man who joined the Canadian Army as a teenager at the end of WW2, and was training to go to the Pacific when the war ended. He described being given a pill that the recruits were told would eliminate the need for food. I’ve always assumed that was some sort of amphetamine or similar stimulant.

Soldiers have been returning from war as addicts for a long time. From the Wikipedia article on morphine:
“…its extensive use during the American Civil War allegedly resulted in over 400,000 sufferers from the “soldier’s disease” of morphine addiction.”

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#8

…Hitler was a black man
Hitler was batman
(No, no, no, no, not at all, that was Bruce Wayne).

It’s not like the Nazis were the only ones using amphetamines- it’s been suggested that British troops used 72 million amphetamine tablets in WWII. The USAF may well still be using it- amphetamine use was reported in a friendly fire incident in 2002.

[ETA: some overlap with @teknocholer)

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#9

Meth Nazis would make a great title for a 1970s Grindhouse flick.

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#10

Great minds think alike. I was going to comment that while Meth Nazis was pretty good, Cannibal Vixen Meth Nazis had better acting…

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#11

Sociopathy and psychopathy are not irrational conditions; psychopaths are more like unemotional robots than normal people and sociopaths simply regard themselves as being qualitatively superior to normal people. Psychopaths can function for a long time without going over the top and some are never detected.
However, add to the traits of psychopathy - a belief that other people do not count, a belief that the psychopath is intrinsically superior to other people and a belief that the psychopath is above the law - the irrationality caused by psychoactive drugs, and you have a recipe for meltdown.
It’s believed for instance that the highest cocaine consumption in the UK is among bankers. This is why I don’t invest in banks.

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#12

It doesn’t have to be brand-new discoveries to be an interesting read. This is the kind of thing I like to see from Boing Boing.

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#13

You know who else used…oh, never mind.

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#14

Vice-Admiral Hellmuth Heye … requested a drug “that can keep soldiers ready for battle when they are asked to continue fighting beyond a period considered normal, while at the same time boosting their self-esteem.”

AHA. I knew we could somehow blame this self-esteem fetishism bullshit on Hitler.

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#15

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

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#16

Popular culture has it thus, but I don’t know of any solid evidence that bearsarkers were shroomheads.

I have wondered the same thing – every time that company CEOs and managers declare that their employees must sign away their privacy and bodily autonomy, and accept ‘mandatory drug checks’ as part of their contracts, ostensibly because those employees’ work is so crucial to the lives of others [though not crucial enough to pay them well]. The failure to impose similar tests on the CEOs and directors and managers themselves suggest that either
(1) Their work is trivial, and has no effect on the lives of others; or
(2) The whole thing is just an exercise in controlling employees’ lives because we can.

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#17

Spiegel Online [the German equivalent of the Daily Fail] have a recurring Pervitin / 3rd-Reich story which they take off the shelf, update and reprint every few years. The Atlantic’s story (from 2013) is a nearly word-for-word copy of the 2013 recension. Confusingly, the Atlantic’s link leads to the 2014 version of Spiegel’s moral-panic meth-revival story (which includes fewer details)

Where did that come from? The only suggestion of doubt within Garber’s article is a single throwaway sentence:

Leonardo Conti, the Third Reich’s top health official, moved to limit use of the drug among his forces.

And nothing within the link. Non-Spiegel historians say nothing about Conti trying to limit amphetamine use - he only controlled it for civilians.
So to sum up: Nothing about “military wrangling”, nothing about “awareness of long-term problems”, nothing about “divided the Nazi brass”, no “more details”.

UPDATE: Further consultation of the Google Machine reveals a serious epidemic of Meth Nazi stories in 2013 (Daily Fail, The Fix, two in HuffPost as well as the Atlantic), all plagiarising the Spiegel story and repeating SpiegelScheisss. Perhaps journalism should be a controlled substance, the way it destroys all moral scruples and concerns for accuracy, worse than any amount of meth.

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#18

Well, you’re never going to make the list with that attitude. I mean, jeez, you’ve got to want it!

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#19

Didn’t Elvis acquire his amphetamine habit when he was in the army?

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#20

Did you just Godwin the War On Drugs here?

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