If there’s one thing synonymous with conflict, it’s substance use. The impact of drugs that fueled armies doesn’t get a ton of publicity, but history is littered with armies that engaged in these behaviors. From ancient warriors tripping on bog myrtle to modern soldiers buzzed on chemical combinations, soldiers have long had access to various options.
In some respect, drugs that fueled armies almost seem necessary to engage in every form of structured aggression. Since science suggests people are basically good, it’s no small stretch to suggest that the average person isn’t adequately equipped to go out and harm a bunch of strangers simply because a superior told them to do so. In some cases, historians argue that several ancient cultures made their fierce reputations on the back of mind-altering remedies. In other words, they’ve fueled pretty much every army ever, and there’s no sign the trend is set to change any time soon. So read on to learn about drugs that fueled armies, and how drugs won wars.
The Wehrmacht Were Given ‘Crystal’ Pills
When the might of the Germans was unleashed on the world during WWII, a new term was coined to describe their speed and efficiency: “blitzkrieg,” or “lightning war.” At the time of Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, the Wehrmacht was viewed with such fear that they were considered to have superhuman stamina and strength, and a willingness to fight without hesitation.
The basis for that reputation was a medication called Pervitin, which was widely used in German society as a way to increase energy. On the battlefield, it helped soldiers go for abnormally long periods of time without eating or sleeping, while also keeping their spirits up in spite of the conditions around them.
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