NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t



FRESH AIR: In 1944, World War II was dragging on and the Nazi forces seemed to be faltering. Yet, in military briefings, Adolf Hitler’s optimism did not wane. His generals wondered if he had a secret weapon up his sleeve, something that would change the war around in the last second. Author Norman Ohler tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that Hitler did have a secret, but it wasn’t a weapon. Instead, it was a mix of cocaine and opioids that he had become increasingly dependent upon. “Hitler needed those highs to substitute [for] his natural charisma, which … he had lost in the course of the war,” Ohler says. Ohler’s new book, Blitzed, which is based in part on the papers of Hitler’s private physician, describes the role of drugs within the Third Reich. He cites three different phases of the Fuhrer’s drug use. “The first one are the vitamins given in high doses intravenously. The second phase starts in the fall of 1941 with the first opiate, but especially with the first hormone injections,” Ohler says. “Then in ’43 the third phase starts, which is the heavy opiate phase.” MORE