Were World War II and the Holocaust fueled by substance abuse?
Speculation that the Fuehrer was a psychopath had already circulated for years when OSS (the precursor of the CIA) commissioned a Harvard psychologist to produce a forensic psychoanalytical (Freudian) study of Hitler’s mental state in 1943.
The dossier was declassified two decades letter and published as A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler. Minus the techno-babble and obscure medical terminology, the scholars concluded, “He’s nuts.”
But there may be a more convincing explanation for Hitler’s extermination of 11 million people. Documented evidence from one eyewitness does a persuasive job explaining the otherwise inexplicable.
Unlike the OSS psychologists who analyzed Hitler but never met their "patient," Hitler’s drug-intake was confided to the diary of his personal physician, Dr. Theodor Morell.
The physician, a syphologist, can’t be dismissed as an apologist for his only patient because Morell, like Pepys three centuries earlier, never intended his journal to be published. So there would be no reason for Morell to lie for posterity.
According to Morell's diary, he injected the patient three to four times daily with amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, testosterone, morphine, and barbiturates (the family of drugs that killed Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland).
Rightly considered a quack by Hitler's jealous SS physicians, Morell also injected Hitler with Bulgarian peasant feces, calf placentas, and bull's testicles. Morell told his patient he was only giving him harmless vitamins.
Hitler became so dependent on the doctor's regular injections that he kept him by his side around the clock. Eva Braun's comic-horrific home movies of the Fuehrer relaxing in mufti at his Alpine villa show a short, unkempt man who never leaves Hitler's elbow in almost every one of Braun's 8 mm movies at Berchtesgaden.
(Morell reportedly never bathed, and Hitler's guests and cronies commented on his eye-watering body odor.)
Hitler's SS physicians correctly urged the dictator to dismiss Morell. Hitler dismissed the SS men instead.
Neurochemistry, in particular the effects of drugs on the brain, offers a more compelling argument than a forensic analysis of the perpetrator’s upbringing.
Yes, Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein all had loving, smothering mothers and alcoholic, abusive fathers – the usual Freudian culprits, but most adult survivors of worse childhood trauma, among them Oprah Winfrey (a multiple child-rape victim) and actor Michael Caine (imprisoned in a closet by foster parents), don’t grow up to become genocidal murderers.
The common effects or signs of substance abuse offer a better filter through which to understand why psychopaths commit their crime. Sociopaths are born and made. Substance abuse can turn a healthy person into a psychopath.
A psychopath who also happens to be the absolute ruler of a nation has the opportunity to magnify his behavior because of the ill-effects of substance abuse.
Anyone who has observed an amphetamine or methamphetamine user “crash,” i.e., withdraw from the drug while it leaves his system, also notices a 180-degree turn in drug user's behavior as he transitions from the garrulous life of the party while the drug floods his brain with pleasure-inducing chemicals to an enraged, often violent death of the party.
This Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation is familiar to every meth abuser as well as innocent friends and bystanders forced to cohabit the chemical hell of what psychopharmacologists call “withdrawal syndrome.”
Hitler's volcanic temper tantrums, although some were rehearsed and purely theater to intimidate foreign diplomats among others, could have been caused by his withdrawal from regular injections of methamphetamine. The male hormone testosterone causes "roid rage," and Hitler was the Mr. Olympia of testosterone abusers.
Some historians believe that military blunders cost Hitler the war and reflect the behavior of a drug-addled fool, not a mad genius.
The rise and fall of the Third Reich resemble the trajectory of a very, very bad drug trip.
The initial, euphoric rush generated by "uppers" parallels the speed of the Nazi Blitzkrieg (literally "lightning war") also got a big boost from pharmaceuticals.
Hitler launched World War II on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland. Between April and December 1939, German troops consumed 29 million tablets of the amphetamine pervitine.
It wasn’t a coincidence that a month after Poland’s invasion, the country surrendered.
Eventually pervitine fell out of favor when German soldiers quickly became addicted to the drug and developed a tolerance that required increasing doses that caused them to lose focus and concentration. A soldier FUI (fighting under the influence) is soon a dead soldier.
Many other factors — fuel and manpower shortages, overextended supply lines, the Russian winter, the diversion of trains to carry Jews to death camps instead of troops to the Eastern and Western fronts — contributed to Germany’s defeat.
The Third Reich’s decline paralleled, coincidentally or not, an increase in Hitler’s drug consumption. The “crash” of his self-proclaimed Thousand-Year Reich that mercifully lasted only lasted 12 completes the analogy between the progression of the war and a really ugly drug experience.
At so many critical junctures when the war still could have gone either way, Hitler made fatal, strategic mistakes that support the claim that he was stoned out of his mind 24/7.
Some historians and psychologists believe Hitler was guilty of WWUI, Waging War Under the Influence.
One example of the possible effects pharmaceuticals had on the outcome of World War II: When the Allies landed in Normandy, Hitler’s generals wanted to rush troops there in order to shove the invaders back into the English Channel before it became impossible to dislodge them.
The Third Reich operated on the Fuehrerprinzip, a rule that no decision, no matter how trivial, could be made without the consent of the Fuehrer.
D-Day began at 6:30 a.m. local time, but Hitler rarely rose before noon because he suffered from insomnia caused by amphetamines. His doctor treated his patient’s sleeplessness with morphine, a chemical cousin of heroin. The powerful narcotic left the patient with a hangover that kept him in bed until lunchtime.
Hitler’s terrified servants as well as high-ranking military advisors operated under inviolable orders that the Fuehrer’s sleep was not to be interrupted for any reason. Drowsiness made the warlord indecisive, and after he awoke at noon, it took another four hours before he ordered a counterattack.
By then it was too late to dislodge the Allies.
The Wehrmacht now had to fight a two-front war against the Soviets in the east and the U.S. and Britain in the west because the Fuehrer slept in on D-Day.
Evil is an unsatisfying concept that lays blame but fails to explain. Mental illness also seems insufficient as the sole source of Hitler’s enormities.
It’s impossible to say which came first, madness or substance abuse. Unlike Robert Frost’s prediction of how the world will end “with fire or ice/Either will suffice,” an adequate explanation of Hitler's erratic behavior requires an inquiry into both his mental state and drug intake.
Causes Frank Sanello Supports
ACLU, ASPCA, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders