By 1943, there were Benzedrine tablets and Benzedrine Inhalers in the emergency kits of every American bomber.
The drug was popular among pilots and air crews, who often had to fly long, grueling bombing raids late into the night. Benzedrine, which was the first brand-name amphetamine in the pharmaceutical industry, was used to combat fatigue and boost morale.
Smith, Kline & French, the manufacturers of Benzedrine, reported its use among the country's fighting force. "For men in combat, when the going gets tough," said one advertisement, "Benzedrine Sulfate tablets will sustain their mental efficiency by overcoming the symptoms of fatigue."
But the nervous-system stimulation often kept soldiers awake past the point of exhaustion. And the drug could have unreliable consequences, including hallucinations, paranoia, and amphetamine addiction.
The American and British military used Benzedrine throughout World War II for its results on mood and morale: it kept up the "fighting spirit."
Its increased exposure on the battlefield most likely helped post-war sales.
At the end of 1945, Smith, Kline & French was producing about 750 million pills a year. Publicized to relieve depression, lose weight, and provide a "feel-good" euphoria, the quantities of Benzedrine were enough for a million Americans to take two pills a day.
It was popular after the war for long distance truckers, students studying for finals, weight loss, etc. In 1959 it was made a prescription drug.
On the German side of the war they gave their soldier Pervitin, a methamphetamine (crystal meth). A book the Delmar library has is called “Blitzed” by Norman Ohler and it goes into the drugs used by the German during WW2.