Would ADHD apply to a serial killer?
Hitler's secret drug addiction
When the dictator woke up early in the morning, his personal doctor was already sitting by his bed. "Doctor, I'm so happy when you come in the morning," sighed the despot and rolled up the sleeve of his pajamas. As usual, he had lain awake all night and with the help of barbiturates had slipped into a numb sleep until early in the morning.
The doctor injected the patient with his daily "vitamin" cocktail. Its invigorating effect started immediately. The dictator valued that. After all, important decisions had to be made, the war was raging outside.
His personal physician, the Berlin urologist Dr. Theodor Morell, the "Führer" thought of true miraculous powers. Morell saved his life several times, claimed Adolf Hitler, whose secretary Traudl Junge said after the war that her boss was "downright morally addicted".
As addicted as a fixer who longs for a daily visit from his dealer.
Alleged vitamin cocktail
In any case, there are justified doubts about Morell's assertion that the "Vitamultin A" ampoules that he administered to Hitler in the morning only contained vitamins. It is more credible that the supposed vitamin cocktail was fortified with a good dose of pervitin, a methamphetamine, now known as crystal meth.
Vitamins alone, as the US psychiatrist Professor Leonhard Heston from the University of Minnesota and his wife Renate Heston, a nurse, found in their 1979 study "Medical Casebook of Adolf Hitler", were not good pick-me-ups. The only stimulant available in Germany during Hitler's lifetime was Pervitin.
Conversations with contemporary witnesses, reading all of the studies on Hitler's illnesses and studying Morell's legacy led the Hestons to the conclusion that the dictator most likely received a cocktail of vitamins, pervitin and caffeine from his personal physician, the latter in order to increase the effectiveness of methamphetamine amplify.
For Hitler's confidante General Building Inspector Albert Speer a plausible theory - Speer, who died in 1981, called the study by the Hestons "the first scientific and medical examination of Hitler's medical history".
Chocolate for the housewife
Methamphetamine was first synthesized in liquid form in 1893 by the Japanese chemist Nagayoshi Nagi. In Germany, research began in 1934 on its own process for the production of the psychotropic substance, which the Temmler-Werke patented in 1937.
A year later, the preparation was brought onto the market under the brand name Pervitin, where it was initially freely available in every pharmacy. Pralines mixed with pervitin, so-called "housewife's chocolate", also found great sales (advertising slogan: "Pervitin makes housewives happy").
The Wehrmacht soon became interested in the stimulant, which was euphoric and disinhibited, increased concentration and performance and reduced pain, fear, hunger and thirst.
"Panzerschokolade" stirred up soldiers
Especially during the "Blitzkrieg" against Poland and France in 1939 and 1940, Pervitin was used a million times. The soldiers called the drug "Panzerschokolade", "Stuka tablets", "Flieger-Marzipan" or "Hermann Göring pills".
In the three months from April to June 1940 alone, there is evidence that the Wehrmacht obtained 35 million methamphetamine tablets, not only from Temmler-Werke, which held the trademark rights for Pervitin until 2015, but also from Ingelheim-based Knoll AG, which has its own isophane Had brought the preparation on the market.
Almost every soldier, regardless of whether it was an infantryman or a fighter pilot, had his "watch keeping device" (the company's name) in his luggage. Many of them became addicted to the drug.
Later Nobel Prize Laureate asks for Pervitin
"The service is tight, and you have to understand if I write to you every two to four days later," a young corporal wrote on November 9, 1939 in his field mail to his "dear parents and siblings". "Today I mainly write about Pervitin."
On May 20, 1940, the then 22-year-old soldier from occupied Poland asks: "Perhaps you could get me some more pervitin for my stash." On July 19, 1940, he again asked for more supplies: "If possible, send me some more Pervitin soon."
The young private later became a writer and received the 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature. His name: Heinrich Böll.
The massive drug abuse at the front was not hidden from doctors. "If you want to eliminate fatigue with Pervitin, you can be sure that your productivity will collapse one day," warned Reich Health Leader Leonardo Conti on March 19, 1940 in his speech to the National Socialist German Medical Association in Berlin.
His warning was still unheard. It was only as a result of a sex scandal that the Ministry of the Interior felt compelled to place pervitin and other methamphetamine preparations under the Opium Act on July 1, 1941, and thus de facto forbid them: a Berlin pharmaceutical wholesaler had illegally acquired large quantities of pervitin and thus in addition to pharmacies also supplies a brothel.
Hitler's new problem
The new law posed considerable problems for Hitler and his doctor. Although the "Führer" was above the law, since the release of methamphetamine was now registered, the control authorities were able to trace every tablet from now on.
In order to avoid the danger of Hitler's drug consumption becoming known, personal physician Morell had his "Vitamultin" manufactured in his own hamma factories.
Hitler always had an ample supply of the tablets wrapped in gold paper. Eyewitnesses reported that he swallowed up to ten pieces a day. Especially in crisis situations. Even in the last hours before he died.
By early 1942 at the latest, the Hestons suspect, the dictator received the stimulant as an intravenous injection in addition to the pills. For this reason, his personal physician paid a visit to the Reich Chancellery almost every morning.
"Reich syringe master"
The overweight celebrity doctor was somewhat unpopular with Hitler's confidants. Luftwaffe boss Hermann Göring, himself addicted to morphine, called Morell the "Reichsspritzenmeister", Colonel General Heinz Guderian described him as an "unsavory, fat quack".
Hitler's partner Eva Braun complained to her lover about the doctor's lack of personal hygiene. "Morell is not there to smell, but to keep me healthy," instructed the "Führer".
In November 1944 he promised his "dear doctor" himself: "If we both get through the war happily, then you should see how much I will reward you".
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