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World War Speed: The Drugs that Won WWII

  • 2019
  • Documentary

Summary

Historian James Holland embarks on a quest to dig deeper and unearth the truth behind the role drugs such as methamphetamine played in the Second World War.

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Review

There’s a slight whiff of moral panic to this exploration of drug use during the Second World War, as if we’re to be shocked that, like the Nazis, who doled out 35 million amphetamine pills to troops ahead of the invasion of France, British resolve was stiffened with the help of class-As.

Military historian James Holland knows the stories of RAF bomber crews and tank crews in North Africa using Benzedrine, but he wants firm evidence this was sanctioned by high command.

He’s a hands-on historian, enthusiastically clambering in to a Lancaster bomber and a Sherman tank to get an idea of what those crews would have experienced. And it’s this boyish excitability that takes the edge off his more sober analysis of the pragmatic reasons why military leaders would want their troops to be popping pills.

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Credits

Cast

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PresenterJames Holland

Crew

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DirectorSteven Hoggard
ProducerDaphna Rubin

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