D-IX and Pervitin - issue and usage of amphetamines.

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
User avatar
Kokampf
Member
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 19:45
Location: London, UK

D-IX and Pervitin - issue and usage of amphetamines.

Post by Kokampf » 30 Jan 2003 00:14

There are many references in WW2 German accounts to the issue of Pervitin (benzedrine / l-amphetamine) tablets to help stave off tiredness. Incidentally amphetamines were also used by the Brits and Americans.

Gerd Schmuckle, 7th Panzer Division, at Kursk 1943 (quoted in Citadel: The Battle of Kursk by Robin Cross):

"I could not sleep. During the attack I had taken too much Pervitin. We had all been dependent on it for a long time. Everyone swallowed the stuff, more frequently and in greater doses. The pills seemed to remove the sense of agitation. I slid into a world of bright indifference. Danger lost its edge. One's own power seemed to increase. After the battle one hovered in a strange state of intoxication in which a deep need for sleep fought with a clear alertness."

So just how widely available was Pervitin, and under what circumstances would it be issued (only in combat, perhaps)? It would be very easy for men using this substance heavily under stressful conditions to develop a strong psychological addiction to this powerful stimulant, and perhaps even engage in recreational use.

Basic amphetamine information (check the links and experience reports on addiction):

http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ampheta ... ines.shtml

A magazine article I have here quotes 'Hamburg historian Wolf Kemper in his report Nazis on Speed - Drugs in the Third Reich' as describing an experimental and highly addictive combat drug called D-IX being tested in Sachsenhausen in November 1944 and subsequently being issued to troops. Does anyone know any more about this stuff?

It also occurs to me that the former Soviet-controlled areas of the Crimea and Ukraine could well have supported natural and/or artificial growth of opium poppies, cannabis and of course psychoactive mushrooms - psilocybes and amanitas ('fly agaric' - the infamous red and white spotted one often featured in folklore, traditionally used in Lappland and parts of Siberia and sometimes associated with the Viking berserkers). And of course there were medical supplies of opiates:

'In 1939 two scientists working for I.G. Farben, Otto Eisleb, and O. Schaumann, at Hoechst-Am-Main, Germany, discovered an opioid analgesic which after numbering compound 8909, they named Dolantin (Pethidine). Hopes that it would be a new, non-addictive pain reliever, to take the place of Morphine, just like Diamorphine (heroin), before it, came to naught. However, because it was an extremely effective analgesic, the Germans used the drug extensively throughout World War II.

'(Unless otherwise noted, facts are taken from The Methadone Briefing, edited by Andrew Preston, London: Waterbridge House, 1996).

'From 1937 through the Spring and Summer of 1938, two other scientists working for I.G. Farben, Max Bockmuhl, and Gustav Ehrart, were working with similar compounds to Dolantin. Bockmuhl and Ehrart were searching for drugs with certain characteristics, such as "water soluble hypnotics (sleep inducing) substances, effective drugs to slow the gastrointestinal tract to make surgery easier, effective analgesics that were structurally dissimilar to Morphine-in the hopes that they would be non-addictive, and escape the strict controls on opiates."

'On September 11, 1941, Bockmuhl and Ehrhart filed a patent application for, and were formally credited with, the discovery of Hoechst 10820 (Polamidon), which eventually became known as Methadone.

'In the Autumn of 1942, I.G. Farben handed over the drug, codenamed "Amidon", to the German military for further testing.

'The Nazis did not make any attempt to mass produce the drug, unlike Pethidine, which by 1944 was being produced at an annual rate of 1600 kg. One reason for this was given by Dr. K K Chen, an early American researcher, after the war. He said that a former employee of the I. G. Farben factory had written him, saying that the Germans had discontinued Polamidon use due to its side effects. Chen decided that the Nazis had been giving their test subject doses that were too high, causing nausea, overdose, etc.

'After the war ended, the Allies divided up the spoils. I. G. Farben was in an US-occupied zone so all its "intellectual capital" (patent, trade names, and the like) came under US management. Along with the formula for Zyklon B, a nerve gas [sic.] that the Nazis used in some of their extermination programs, Methadone was now an American possession.


- http://www.disinfo.com/pages/dossier/id838/pg1/

Does anyone have any evidence to share on both official and unofficial German use of any of these substances, particularly on the Eastern Front?[/url]

User avatar
Ike_FI
Member
Posts: 578
Joined: 04 Dec 2002 21:32
Location: Helsinki. Finland

Re: D-IX and Pervitin - issue and usage of amphetamines.

Post by Ike_FI » 30 Jan 2003 01:30

Kokampf wrote: So just how widely available was Pervitin, and under what circumstances would it be issued (only in combat, perhaps)?
I can't tell how it was in Wehrmacht, but I know that Germans provided some amount of this "wonder drug" to Finland during WWII. It was issued to long range patrolmen and other individuals who were under exceptional pressure (troops participating long-lasting fightning, etc.). Apparently supply was controlled well enough to prevent getting hooked to it.

I've also read some articles that tell about WWII-era cough syurup containing heroin/morphin that allegedly caused some addiction cases. Some painkillers used during and shortly after wartime likely had similar unfortunate side-effects as well, in addition to being quite effective in their primary task. My late grandfather who had some pains caused by his war-time wounding considered "modern" pills inferior to those he got from pharmacy during "good ol' days" without any prescription...

User avatar
Skorzy
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 22 Oct 2002 09:07
Location: finland

Post by Skorzy » 31 Jan 2003 11:55

In Finland it was issued to the long-range patrols (kaukopartio) in a form of BIG pill named "höökipilleri". There is one example of a long range patrolman who cross country skiied for several days without a stop after taking one pill...
But in a more serious tone; I read somwhere that the long range patrolmen often caused serious alarm after getting back from mission: tired, amphetamine-paranoid men with automatic weapons...

User avatar
Juha Hujanen
Financial supporter
Posts: 2196
Joined: 20 Mar 2002 11:32
Location: Suur-Savo,Finland

Post by Juha Hujanen » 31 Jan 2003 12:29

Those damm Germans also used it for doping in sports.
In winter 43 in Petsamo in Lapland a ski competion was held against Finns and Germans.
Just before German team went on,a German medic did gave each a white tablet.Germans skied like possesed and did win the game(well it turned out later that they were Austrian Olympic scale skiers) but still.
Germans do have a long tradition on usage of doping :lol:

Cheers

Jarkko Hietala
Member
Posts: 361
Joined: 30 Jan 2003 19:16
Location: Finland

Post by Jarkko Hietala » 03 Feb 2003 17:56

My book about history of body building supplements says that over 150-million doses of amphetamines being used by both sides in eastern front (Germans and Russians) during WWII. Germans also experimented use of male hormone testosterone to raise aggressiveness of their troops.

Return to “German Strategy & General German Military Discussion”