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Hitler Could Not Face Reality (or His Conscience?) Without Opiates and Cocaine



(p. C1) Given the sheer tonnage of books already devoted to the Nazis and Hitler, you might assume that everything interesting, terrible and bizarre is already known about one of history's most notorious regimes and its genocidal leader. Then along comes Norman Ohler, a soft-spoken 46-year-old novelist from Berlin, who rummages through military archives and emerges with this startling fact: The Third Reich was on drugs.

All sorts of drugs, actually, and in stupefying quantities, as Mr. Ohler documents in "Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany," a best seller in Germany and Britain that will be published in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April [2017]. He was in New York City last week and sat for an interview before giving a lecture to a salon in a loft in the East Village, near Cooper Union.


. . .


. . . the most vivid portrait of abuse and withdrawal in "Blitzed" is that of Hitler, who for years was regularly injected by his personal physician with powerful opiates, like Eukodal, a brand of oxycodone once praised by William S. Burroughs as "truly awful." For a few undoubtedly euphoric months, Hitler was also getting swabs of high-grade cocaine, a sedation and stimulation combo that Mr. Ohler likens to a "classic speedball."


. . .


(p. C4) "There are all these stories of party leaders coming to complain about their bombed-out cities," Mr. Ohler said, "and Hitler just says: 'We're going to win. These losses make us stronger.' And the leaders would say: 'He knows something we don't know. He probably has a miracle weapon.' He didn't have a miracle weapon. He had a miracle drug, to make everyone think he had a miracle weapon."

Lanky and angular, Mr. Ohler quietly conveys the mordant humor that occasionally surfaces in his book, which has a chapter titled "High Hitler."



For the full interview, see:

DAVID SEGAL. "How Hitler's Henchmen Were Kept Hopped Up." The New York Times (Fri., December 10, 2016): C1 & C4.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the interview has the date Dec. 9, 2016, and has the title "High on Hitler and Meth: Book Says Nazis Were Fueled by Drugs.")


The book mentioned in the interview, is:

Ohler, Norman. Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich. Translated by Shaun Whiteside. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.






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