Can Vietnam endure another US war

Soldiers on drug intoxication

Whether Vikings, Nazis or IS terrorists, they all have one thing in common: They went into battle. And were on drugs.

Since there have been wars, soldiers have overcome their physical and psychological limits with the help of drugs. With the Vikings it was hallucinogenic mushrooms, with the Inca warriors it was coca leaves. Before the ancient Romans and Greeks went into battle, they got drunk without restraint. In the Turkish wars of the 17th century, the warriors only drank coffee, but opium was added to it. In the First World War, fighter pilots doped each other with cocaine, in the second they pumped themselves full of the amphetamine pervitin. And in the Vietnam War, speed was used as an operational drug. Her blood rush was often a drug rush as well.

“Soldiers have to endure enormous psychological stress and fight for life and death on the battlefield. No wonder men resort to drugs. «

Birgit Bolognese-Leuchtenmüller, professor at the Institute for Social and Economic History at the University of Vienna, conducts research on the subject of drug history. She sees the military and war as the first areas in which performance-enhancing drugs were used: “Soldiers live in a rigid hierarchy of command, each one of which has to adapt unconditionally. You have to cope with forced marches, endure tremendous psychological stress and fight for life and death on the battlefield. No wonder that the men resort to drugs and stimulants to meet the requirements and to conquer their own fear. "

From man to monster

So drugs have always been used in war. To speed up. To give courage. And to forget about pain. Your own as well as those of others. Drugs put the body in a different state of consciousness and can thus rob soldiers of their humanity. Let them become a callous fighting machine with "superhuman" powers.

"If you refused to take drugs, it was called" technical sabotage "and you will be killed for it"

It is particularly tragic when it comes to children who are forced to consume. A then 14-year-old child soldier from Sierra Leone told the human rights organization Amnesty International: “When I went into battle, I smoked a lot beforehand. Then I was no longer afraid of anything. If you refused to use drugs, it was called "technical sabotage" and you will be killed for it. "

Wehrmacht on speed, Hitler on cocaine

The book “Der totale Rausch. Drugs in the Third Reich ”gives insights into the Second World War that are not yet known from the history books. The author, Norman Ohler, discovered documents about the use of the metamphetamine drug “Pervitin” in the lightning wars against Poland and France. Better known now as "crystal meth".

In 1939 millions of pervitin tablets were distributed among the soldiers. The crystal meth preparation should fight fatigue, stress and anxiety and trigger euphoria. A soldier turbo, so to speak. After the successful conquest of Poland, the Wehrmacht ordered another 35 million tablets for the French campaign.

"The Second World War was fought on drugs on a massive scale"

Lukasz Kamienski, author of “Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare” comes to the conclusion in his work that the Second World War was fought on drugs. The consequences: Many soldiers became addicted. And depressed. Suffered psychosis or died of heart failure. The effect of pervitin lasts for ten hours, if it wears off, soldiers also need three times the amount of sleep. Goering's solution was: even more pervitin. Hitler also took hard drugs towards the end of the war. In a few months, according to Ohler, he received high doses of cocaine over 50 times.

Captagon: the drug used by IS fighters

One drug that plays a major role these days is Captagon. According to the Washington Post, it is the drug that is fueling the war in Syria and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers. The amphetamine derivative is known for its euphoric effects. It not only stimulates, but also barely lets you feel tiredness, hunger, pain and fear. One consumer describes Captagon as follows: “I thought I owned the world. That I am stronger than anyone else. ”Another says:“ You stop feeling anything. It makes you numb. ”Psychoses, cardiovascular problems and brain damage are also among the fatal side effects here. Captagon addicts are often described as living skeletons.

“You stop feeling anything. It makes you numb "

That doesn't seem daunting enough, however. In 2014, drug trafficking in Lebanon confiscated 50 million pills. Because the problem with Captagon: The preparation is illegal, but not its individual components. It doesn't take much to produce the pills. The ingredients are easy to come by and a dragee machine is all you need to make them. Since the civil war made Syria a largely lawless zone, the production of bitter pills has really flourished. A large part is exported to Saudi Arabia. Although drug use is severely punished there, a total of 100 million Captagon tablets were confiscated in 2014 alone. 55 people were beheaded for drug offenses in the first half of 2015. French Customs recently discovered 750,000 Captagon pills at Paris Airport.

Captagon: Crossing borders in two ways

However, many of the pills also go to the Islamic State. According to "Vice", both Assad's troops and the rebel groups consume it before combat missions in order to survive the exertions of the war and not have any inhibitions about killing. But Captagon goes far beyond the borders of its own country. After the first attacks in Paris in 2015, according to the Israeli newspaper "Ha’aretz", special forces found Captagon in the room of the assassins. Traces of the drug were also found in the blood of the terrorist who killed 38 people in Tunisia in 2015. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen the assassin smile as he struck down some of his victims with targeted head shots.

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