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  • A shot of liquid courage, a shared moment of bonding and escapism, even drugged up zombie

  • soldiers - violence and mind-altering substances have always gone hand in hand.

  • The truth is, countless wars throughout history have been fought while soldiers were drunk

  • or high, and military conflict through the ages - including the modern day - have been

  • shaped by the insane drugs soldiers are fed to win wars

  • Drinking and drugging rituals have long been a part of the culture of warfare.

  • Indulging in alcohol or drugs together can help soldiers bond before going into battle,

  • provide a much-needed way to cope with the trauma of war, and even enhance combat performance.

  • Alcohol is the oldest, most tried-and-true drug of choice for warriors around the world,

  • and armies have issued alcohol rations to their troops throughout history.

  • The Russians favored vodka while the British preferred rum; Germans have turned to beer,

  • while ancient Romans and Greeks relied on wine for liquid courage.

  • But, armies from ancient times all the way up to today have often relied on even stronger

  • drugs to win wars.

  • According to ancient legends, Nordic Berserkers, the legendary viking warriors who fought ferociously

  • and without fear, were said to get their animalistic fighting powers from the animal skins that

  • they wore in battle.

  • Recently, though, modern researchers have come to believe that their ferocity came from

  • another source altogether - the black henbane plant.

  • The plant's leaves could be dried and smoked or used to make wine or beer.

  • The plant was a powerful hallucinogen, causing users to see and perceive things that aren't

  • there.

  • Berserkers believed that they were calling upon their gods and harnessing the powers

  • of the spirit world to help them thrive on the battlefield, and it's likely that the

  • trance-like state caused by ingesting the black henbane contributed to this feeling.

  • While herbal drugs may usually be associated with a calm, peaceful high, they have also

  • been known to cause intense anxiety, paranoia and even panic.

  • Given that these warriors were psyching themselves up for battle when they took the black henbane,

  • it's highly likely that the effects were less mellow and more aggressive.

  • They probably felt agitated and ready to fight, and felt dissociated from reality, making

  • it easier for them to fight like wild animals and kill with abandon.

  • Viking Berserkers weren't the only ancient fighters to tap into the power of natural

  • herbs.

  • Eurasian warriors, especially Siberian tribes like the Chukchi and Koryaks, used psilocybin

  • - more commonly known as magic mushrooms - to allow them to fight fearlessly and give them

  • an edge in battle - and they even went so far as to drink the urine of warriors who

  • had previously ingested the mushrooms to take advantage of the residual psychoactive effects.

  • Use of magic mushrooms and other natural psychoactive herbs continued into the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • In 1879, when the British tried to subdue the Zulu tribe of Africa, they faced an enemy

  • that seemed immune to fear even in the face of Britain's far more advanced weapons.

  • Though the Zulu carried only spears and shields, they seemed unnervingly unafraid of the British's

  • rifles and bullets.

  • They likely had a little medicinal help in this department.

  • The Zulu warriors had a multitude of mind-altering substances at their disposal, from medicated

  • beer to dagga, a South African variety of cannabis, to a powerful painkiller made from

  • the bushman poison bulb plant which also had hallucinogenic properties.

  • Thanks to the psychoactive properties of these drugs, the Zulu warriors would have felt disconnected

  • from the reality of battle, allowing them to fight ferociously and without fear.

  • Though the Zulus would unfortunately go on to lose the war, they did impress the British

  • with their willingness to face death without fear thanks to the help of pharmacology.

  • As the nature of warfare changed and weapons and technology advanced, so too did the drugs

  • that were used to fuel soldiers and win wars.

  • World War 1 saw the first documented and widespread use of cocaine in battle.

  • Both the British and the Germans issued cocaine rations to their air force's fighter pilots

  • to give them a boost before they engaged in incredibly dangerous dog fights.

  • World War 1 fighter pilots were tasked with a nearly impossible mission - they had to

  • engage other aircraft in close combat in mid-air.

  • They needed to dodge enemy planes while simultaneously trying to get the enemy in their crosshairs

  • so their gunner could take them out, all while making sure not to crash their planes.

  • It was a chaotic and terrifying environment, and cocaine helped the pilots keep their energy

  • up and helped them to focus on the job at hand without getting carried away by the very

  • real fear that death could come at any moment.

  • The Canadian infantrymen who also relied on cocaine called itForced March”, since

  • that was exactly what it was used for.

  • Infantry troops that needed to be mobilized and moved long distances during the war often

  • had to do so on their own two feet, enduring grueling marches through desolate, war-torn

  • landscapes, knowing all the while that the enemy could be anywhere, waiting to attack.

  • These marches could last for hours or even days, and once again, cocaine was their secret

  • to success.

  • The Forced March pills, which were a combination of cocaine and caffeine, gave soldiers the

  • energy and endurance to withstand hours of marching through difficult terrain to get

  • where they were needed, and also helped to blunt their fear that the enemy could be waiting

  • for them around the next corner.

  • The most famous stories of soldiers on drugs may have come from World War 2, which is fitting

  • considering that the entire 6 year conflict was largely fueled by speed, a favorite of

  • frontline soldiers on both sides.

  • The Nazis' drug of choice, called Pervitin, was an early version of crystal meth, and

  • the German company Temmler-Werke supplied the German military with 29 million of these

  • so-calledattack pills”.

  • Not to be outdone by their enemies, the Allies followed suit and issued millions of Benzedrine

  • tablets to their soldiers.

  • The British are estimated to have consumed around 72 million tablets, while the Pentagon's

  • official estimate is that U.S. soldiers consumed between 250 and 500 million pills during the

  • war.

  • Bennies”, as they were known, were even included in emergency kits for American bomber

  • crews.

  • Both the German attack pills and the Allies' bennies provided their users with a boost

  • of energy to help them cope with drawn-out battles and long distance marches.

  • It increased alertness and combated fatigue, which was helpful for keeping vigilant during

  • long periods of watch duty, and bolstered already exhausted soldiers who were about

  • to go into battle.

  • It also created a strong sense of confidence and bravado in the soldiers, allowing them

  • to rush into enemy fire with little regard for their own life or safety.

  • The role that speed played in World War 2 cannot be overstated - experts now say that

  • many of Germany's early and decisive victories in the war were thanks in large part to the

  • rampant use of Pervitin.

  • The drug helped German soldiers march for hours past their breaking point, allowing

  • them to capture huge amounts of territory relatively quickly.

  • Historical accounts from early battles in Belgium described crazed German soldiers fearlessly

  • charging directly towards machine gun nests, seemingly unaware of the hail of automatic

  • gun fire raining down on them.

  • This behavior understandably frightened the Belgian defenders, and it may have led to

  • the widespread rumor that Germany had created unbeatable super-soldiers.

  • Even as these harder drugs entered the fray, they didn't fully replace the more natural

  • substances of past centuries.

  • The Soviets were rumored to have been on magic mushrooms during the battle of Székesfehérvár

  • in 1945, where they performed fearlessly and succeeded in capturing the city from the well-entrenched

  • and much better equipped Nazis.

  • Authorized drug use by American soldiers continued into the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 and

  • the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1973, though it was now combined with rampant non-sanctioned

  • drug use.

  • Speed continued to be the approved drug of choice, but now soldiers gained access to

  • illicit drugs like heroin.

  • Desperate soldiers would combine these two powerful drugs to create their own homemade

  • injectable speed balls.

  • This potent combination creates a push-pull effect, both boosting energy and helping them

  • relax.

  • The high from these speed balls was stronger and more long-lasting than the high they could

  • get from using either drug on its own, and it helped the soldiers to deal with the brutal

  • conditions of war, as well as cope with the horrible atrocities that they witnessed - and

  • even committed - during these wars.

  • Drug use during the Vietnam war reached epidemic levels - according to the Pentagon, by the

  • time the U.S. withdrew from the war in 1973, some 70 percent of all American soldiers in

  • Vietnam had taken drugs.

  • Shockingly, the authorized use of drugs by soldiers in combat continues around the world

  • to this day.

  • Modern-day terrorists have no qualms about using drugs to motivate their fighters and

  • achieve their heinous missions.

  • The terrorist group ISIS promotes the use of hashish and opioid painkillers within their

  • ranks, and they are also well known for the pervasive use of the drug Captagon, a powerful

  • stimulant that metabolizes in the body to form amphetamine.

  • This drug increases alertness, numbs fear, and induces a sense of courage and bravado,

  • and so it is incredibly popular with Jihadists undertaking suicide missions.

  • The drug is also reported to increase strength, and there have been reports of fighters taking

  • so much of the drug that, even after being shot multiple times, they refuse to drop and

  • continue to fight through their injuries.

  • Even smaller terrorist organizations have capitalized on the power of drugs to create

  • seemingly invincible soldiers.

  • In his book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah describes his horrendous

  • experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone and the rampant use of drugs to control and

  • manipulate child soldiers in these loosely organized armies.

  • According to Beah, commanders would strategically keep their child soldiers high on what they

  • calledbrown-browns” - a potent and highly addictive combination of cocaine and gunpowder.

  • Gunpowder contains nitroglycerin, which helps the cocaine to spread more quickly through

  • the bloodstream and delivers a faster, more intense high.

  • Once these child soldiers were high on brown-browns, they would essentially be immune to fear and

  • would have little to no conscience.

  • Their commanders would take advantage of this altered state and force the children to commit

  • terrible atrocities while they were high.

  • The knowledge and shame that they had done such horrible things while high, combined

  • with a heavy dependence on the addictive drugs, kept the child soldiers loyal, obedient, and

  • easy to control.

  • And it's not just the so-calledBad Guysstill feeding drugs to their soldiers in the

  • present day.

  • As long as all procedures are followed to a T, the U.S. military still issues amphetamines

  • to pilots assigned to 8-plus hour long flight missions.

  • These Dexedrine pills, known asGo Pills”, promote wakefulness and keep pilots alert

  • on long endurance missions.

  • To help soldiers calm down after battle - and to combat the energy boosting effects of the

  • Dexedrine pills - the U.S. military also issues what they callNo-Go Pills” - or sleeping

  • pills - to help soldiers recover and be ready for their next mission.

  • Other countries are following suit - in the UK, France and India, the drug Modafinil has

  • recently replaced amphetamines for use in endurance missions and to combat sleep deprivation

  • among pilots and other members of the military.

  • The history of warfare and the history of drug use are inextricably linked, and with

  • modern militaries continuing to use substances to alter their soldiers and enhance their

  • performance, this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

  • It will certainly be fascinating to see what kind of insane drugs soldiers are fed to win

  • wars in the years to come.

  • If you thought this video was fascinating, be sure and check out our other videos, like

  • this one calledWhat Does Heroin Do To Your Body?”, or perhaps you'll like this

  • other video instead.

  • As always, thanks for watching, and don't forget to like, share and subscribe!

  • See you next time!

A shot of liquid courage, a shared moment of bonding and escapism, even drugged up zombie

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Insane Drugs Given to Soldiers to Win Wars

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/17
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