Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Small in History

The Smart Set describes what effect a celebrity diet had on Hitler.

He showed a particular fondness, culinary historians assure us, for oatmeal with linseed oil, cauliflower, cottage cheese, boiled apples, artichoke hearts and asparagus tips in white sauce. Strangely, Hitler was unfazed by the fact that this high-fiber diet was having the opposite effect on his digestion than what he had intended: His private physician, Dr. Theo Morell, recorded in his diary that after Hitler downed a typical vegetable platter, “constipation and colossal flatulence occurred on a scale I have seldom encountered before.”

The dictator had a personal physical who plied him with drugs, too, and eventually turned him into a shambling wreck. In fact Dr. Morell may have accidentally more than anyone else to defeat Nazi Germany.



After the war, U.S. intelligence officers discovered that Morell was pumping Hitler with 28 different drugs, including eye-drops that contained 10 percent cocaine (up to 10 treatment a day), a concoction made from human placenta and “potency pills” made from ground bull’s testicles. But despite the barrage of medicines, Morell’s diaries (which were recovered from Germany and are kept in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) make clear that the bouts of “agonizing flatulence” remained a regular occurrence.

WTF points out that medicines containing amphetamines and cocaine were available over the counter up until late in the mid-20th century. Toothache drops, throat lozenges, and even pomade. Burnett's Hair Dressing for example, which listed cocaine as an ingredient, was touted to kill dandruff, promote hair growth, and prevent any irritation of the scalp. Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, which contained morphine, was designed to calm restless infants. And what busy man could dispense with the benzedrine inhaler?

The effect of drug use on history would probably merit a book in itself. It must certainly be a factor. They are used on a scale that beggars the imagination. For example, Michael Yon recently described how the opium trade has rescued the Taliban from the brink of defeat. And the drug lords of Latin America could tell their version of the history of the world. Conventional history tends to focus on the political and rational causes of events. Even today when discussing Iran, many policy analysts minimize the irrational and mystical aspects of Teheran's behavior. The Smart Set story reminds us that people are ultimately behind events; and that world leaders, like modern celebrities are sometimes vulnerable, distrubed or addicted personalities.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sparks fly said...

The name Doctor Morell brings to mind the "Island of Dr. Moreau". The two have a euphonious similarity and they feel spiritually akin to one another. They are both very dark subjects.

Demon possessed people are frequently described as having a noticable stink such as fits that description of Dr. Morell. And Hitler was into the occult in a big way according to many biographies.

It sort of all fits together.

That's why it is of more than passing interest to get the full picture of those people that we put up for high office. It's OK to look at them closely. The Clintons come to mind. They have a very strange relationship and odd financial and sexual behavior patterns. Also, Jimmy Carter has turned out to be a perfidious character. It would have been nice to know more about him before the election. He has apparently conflated Christianity and Liberalism. Reagan was admirable. Ronny was about as far away from Hitler and the Island of Dr. Moreau/Morell as you can get in this world.

On this cycle, so far, I like Fred.

10/31/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

You could - and in fact may already have - start a long argument over whether bumping off or otherwise depressing Hitler's vital activities would have aided or hurt the German prosecution of the war.

And for a relatively unknown but very well done and truth-based novel of an assasination attempt against Hitler, I suggest "The Wooden Wolf." Few novels indeed have the preface written by one of the characters.

Speaking of the impact of drugs - there is the story of how a farmer in England saved a young lad from drowning. In gratitude, the young lad's wealthy father offered to put the farmer's son through college, and he accepted.

The farmer's name was Fleming.

The wealthy family's name was Churchill.

And many years later the farmer's son saved the wealthy man's son by means of the drug he invented.

P.S. I also think that Fred Phelps should run for President.

10/31/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

Yep, gotta watch out for them "distrubed" individuals. Unfortunately the dominant Western Leftist ethos is inherently distrubed. Disturbed, too. ;)

11/01/2007 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Hope Muntz said...

Hitler suffered from what modern doctors would call IBS from his days in the trenches during WWI. A vegetarian diet (by the end he was mainly eating pastries) exacerbates the 'meteorosis' his medical doctors described. Increasingly, medical science is accepting the recent research of the Cedars-Sinai Clinic showing that IBS is caused by bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, which would be unaffacted by any therapy other than longterm antibiotics. It's unlikely that Morrell's injections caused Hitler's rapid physical degeneration at the end of his life--nor is 'Mein Kampf', should any one of you read it through, the work of a sane person, though it was written long before Morrell.

The fact is that there is little medical evidence that the tinctures and nostrums before the mandated pharmaceutical purges of the 40s and 50s did any harm--and plenty of evidence that they worked quite well in some cases. The amount of cocaine or morphine in them was tiny compared to the pure heroin being exported by today's Taliban or the crack cocaine modern kids are tempted by. The outlawing of these medicinal drugs has caused their reappearance in toxic new mega-doses. In fairness of course, addicts like Wilkie Collins have always managed to kill themselves in slow motion by massive over-dosing--but that's true of oxycontin as well.

Morrell was the equivalent of a modern Hollywood 'Dr Feelgood'. Barely competent, he curried favor with patients with an unctuous bedside manner and customized injections (JFK fell prey to exactly this same sort of quackery--and suffered badly from IBS as well). It's been rumored by others of Hitler's physicians that Hitler, in fact, had untreated syphilis; others speculated that he had Parkinson's disease. The syphilis theory is supported by his erratic behavior and pyschotic obsessions; Germany is not by any means the only nation to have taken such madness seriously in its leaders. Stalin died in very similar circumstances, according to his rumored autopsy.

11/02/2007 05:05:00 PM  

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