Clip | World War Speed - Speed, Submarines, and Espionage

Members of the German navy used amphetamines in the form of chewing gum to stay awake on submarines for more than 48 hours at a time.

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By late '44, with his navy in tatters, the Fuhrer looks to a bizarre wonder weapon; that with the help of amphetamines might turn the tide.

in the end Jim returns to Germany to visit the site of one of the first Nazi concentration camps.

In November 1944 some forty thousand men are stuck in this camp.

What's it designed for?

Ten thousand? --Okay so four times more than this times more than they should have been. --Four times more.

Germany had lost the war already and the sphere of influence of the German Navy was reduced to the Baltic Sea. Everything else was controlled by the British. So his small submarines were constructed mainly for espionage.

In addition to espionage, Hitler's mini-subs were also equipped with single torpedoes designed to sink Allied ships moving supplies and troops across the English Channel. They were very small, only one or two soldiers could sit in it and they'd have to sit there for 48 hours without sleeping without getting up without anything so they needed a drug to keep them awake for that time.

--God, it's unimaginable isn't it?

So you need this drug to keep you going, but also to keep your spirits up as well?

They were testing different drugs and comparing it and wanting to find out which drug keeps the people awake for the longest time with the smallest side-effects. This is the secret report on the experiments and this gives the four different substances --A, B, C, D-- the first is cocaine (hydrochl). They come in different doses and the second is cocaine in chewing gum, and then Pervatin in a chewing gum. --A hundred milligrams i mean that's a huge dose! --Yeah, it's a huge dose.

Indeed, the men must have been completely stoned. A hundred milligrams is really a lot. --I mean can you imagine it? You know you're a young member of the German Navy, you've been singled out to man one of these submarines, you're chewing on gum that has been laced with cocaine and methamphetamines I mean we're talking crystal meth here and you're chewing away in this thing and there's a tiny tight little cockpit and you know you're high on speed I mean it's just it's it's insane I mean it is absolutely insane