Please join us at Roosevelt House as we welcome Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany, who will discuss his acclaimed book in conversation with Benjamin Hett, Professor of History at Hunter College.
Blitzed offers a surprising new perspective on World War II by focusing on Nazi Germany’s all-consuming reliance on drugs. As Ohler shows for the first time, the Third Reich was saturated by drugs. Germany on the eve of World War II was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer cooked up cocaine, opiates, and, most of all, methamphetamines, to be consumed by everyone from factory workers to housewives to millions of German soldiers. In fact, troops regularly took rations of a form of crystal meth. In Ohler’s view, the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility associated with the high even help to explain certain German military victories. Drugs seeped all the way up to the Nazi high command and, especially, to Hitler himself.
While drugs alone cannot explain the Nazis’ toxic racial theories or the events of World War II, Ohler’s investigation makes an overwhelming case that, if drugs are not taken into account, our understanding of the Third Reich is fundamentally incomplete.
Historian Ian Kershaw, the biographer of Hitler, has called Blitzed “a serious piece of scholarship.” We hope you will be able to join us for this special event.