Guns and Gear

Guns & Politics: The Nazi’s Were On Drugs, What Is The Left’s Excuse?

Susan Smith Columnist
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One has to wonder what exactly is causing the increasingly extreme nature of the reaction of the left to our President.  It really isn’t normal how these people are behaving, and while it has been clear for a long time that Nancy Pelosi is crazy, Charles Schumer is hateful and John McCain is bitter, there is something else that is infecting these and too many others in the media and on the left side of the aisle since the election of our 45th President.

It’s as if there is some sort of unnamed…substance involved?

Recent revelations have made it clear, for example, that the military forces once thought to have been the greatest ever seen in warfare at the time, i.e., those of the Third Reich in the mid-20th Century, were pretty much completely fueled on drugs the whole time.  Let us, then, take a look at the Nazi invasion of France, which stunned the world at the time, and became known as the Blitzkrieg, the ‘Lightning War.’

The vaunted Maginot Line, the series of fortifications along the German-French border, was meant to have protected France from invasion, and had been long expecting such activity from its increasingly aggressive neighbor.  Though the Maginot Line considered itself ready, it was recognized far and wide that France itself was ill prepared for a land war with its northern neighbor.  Germany finally, after invading and basically blasting through their mutual European neighbors of the Netherlands and Belgium, invaded France in May, 1940, by using tanks, artillery, and divebombers in attacking the Maginot Line.  The main German assault, though, went north, through Luxembourg, bypassing the Maginot Line altogether.

One of the Commanders of this extraordinary force was soon-to-be General Erwin Rommel, who would later gain fame in the African desert as the “Desert Fox”, and who led the 7th Panzer Division “as it crashed through the Belgian defenses into France, skirting the Maginot Line and then smashing it from behind.” He acknowledged that “this was a new kind of warfare integrating tanks, air power, artillery, and motorized infantry into a steel juggernaut emphasizing speedy movement and maximization of battlefield opportunities.”

It was found after the war that Rommel kept a journal of his experiences during the invasion of France. In the following excerpt, he describes the action on May 14 as he leads a tank attack near the Belgian border behind and parallel to the Maginot Line as his tank formations plunge through the French defenses:

Civilians and French troops, their faces distorted with terror, lay huddled in the ditches, alongside hedges and in every hollow beside the road. We passed refugee columns, the carts abandoned by their owners, who had fled in panic into the fields. On we went, at a steady speed, towards our objective. Every so often a quick glance at the map by a shaded light and a short wireless message to Divisional H.Q. to report the position and thus the success of 25th Panzer Regiment. Every so often a look out of the hatch to assure myself that there was still no resistance and that contact was being maintained to the rear. The flat countryside lay spread out around us under the cold light of the moon. We were through the Maginot Line! It was hardly conceivable. Twenty-two years before we had stood for four and a half long years before this self-same enemy and had won victory after victory and yet finally lost the war. And now we had broken through the renowned Maginot Line and were driving deep into enemy territory. It was not just a beautiful dream. It was reality.”

The official French report on their defeat described it as a “phenomene d’hallucination collective.”

The unstoppable force that blasted through two sovereign nations with little or no resistance, with the same occurring as they went through the Maginot line, and invaded France, in 1940 was done by what were called “armored supermen.”

No one yet knew that they were totally drugged-out “armored supermen.”

A few decades before, just after the end of the First Word War, once the German economy started to revive, German pharmaceutical companies had set to work on developing “synthetic alternatives” for certain kinds of narcotics, among them methamphetamines, which included a drug which created an “intense sensation of energy and self-confidence.”

This miracle drug became known as Pervitin, and it soon came to addict a nation.

“…as a general stimulant, (Pervitin was) equally useful for factory workers and housewives. It promised to overcome narcolepsy, depression, low energy levels, frigidity in women, and weak circulation.” That it would increase general performance to such a degree “attracted the (newly powerful) Nazi Party’s approval; ” as a result, “amphetamine use was quietly omitted from the party’s anti-drug propaganda.”

By 1938, large parts of the German population were using Pervitin on an almost regular basis, “including students preparing for exams, nurses on night duty, businessmen under pressure, and mothers dealing with the pressures of Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church—to which the Nazis thought women should be relegated).”

Germans being notorious sweets’ lovers, the Nazis even developed chocolates containing the drug.  The Wermacht (the German Army) even came to call the stimulant “Panzerschokolade,” (“tank chocolate”). The consumption of Pervitin came to be seen as “entirely normal for the German population at large.”

Not surprisingly, the possible military advantages of Pervitin soon became apparent to the Nazi hierarchy, (as there was a massive military buildup occurring at the time); it was soon thought to be the possible ideal solution to the “army’s most critical weakness—fatigue.”  Trials were carried out, and proved to be so successful in countering the effects of fatigue in military units (there were serious after effects, though no one much cared about those then), that Pervitin was ordered to be produced in time to be used for the invasion of Poland in September, 1939.  In the ensuing trials, medical officers reported back enthusiastically:

“Everyone fresh and cheerful, excellent discipline. Slight euphoria and increased thirst for action. Mental encouragement, very stimulated. No accidents. Long-lasting effect. After taking four tablets, double vision and seeing colors.”

While double vision was hardly a beneficial effect for tank gunners,  military leaders were “uniformly excited by the drug’s possibilities.” Apart from banishing hunger and stimulating physical and mental activity, it also seemed to reduce inhibitions and fear.

Pervitin was helping to create the perfect soldier.

A great irony was that one who later became known as one of the most perfect soldiers of the Third Reich was one of the most assiduous users of the drug Pervitin, and that was General Erwin Rommel.

The German pharmaceutical manufacturing companies started making 833,000 pills a day to meet the Wehrmacht requirement for 35 million pills in total.  The German General in charge of the French invasion told his troops:  “I demand that you do not sleep for at least three days and nights.”  The German panzer divisions were so swift in their efforts to invade France that they outstripped their own supply columns, and “filled up at roadside gas stations or abandoned military barracks” along the way.  Their speed was so great and they were “so ruthless in their progression” that they were, indeed, considered to be “armored supermen.”

Thus inoculated from reality, it took six weeks for France to capitulate to the German invaders. It was nothing less than a stunning defeat – particularly since before the war the French army was considered the most powerful in Europe.

The Germans entered Paris on June 14. In a humiliating ceremony on June 22, France signed an armistice with Germany, leaving Britain to carry on the fight alone.

Perhaps what the left in this country could learn from this is while there was a temporary high in all this for the Nazi drug users, it didn’t wear well, as prolonged drug use never does, and practicality and common sense won out; as it will for Donald Trump and his common sense policies, and supporters, in 2017.

Susan Smith brings an international perspective to her writing by having lived primarily in western Europe, mainly in Paris, France, and the U.S., primarily in Washington, D.C. She authored a weekly column for Human Events on politics with historical aspects. She also served as the Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children, Family, Drugs and Alcoholism, and Special Assistant to the first Ambassador of Afghanistan following the initial fall of the Taliban. Ms. Smith is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University and Georgetown University, as well as the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France, where she obtained her French language certification. Ms. Smith now makes her home in McLean, Va.