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The British and Opium-Laced Cigarettes


Most of the fighting in WWI was taking place in Europe, but the Middle East, where British and Ottoman soldiers clashed, saw its fair share of the action as well. By1917, the British had the Ottomans on the run, and they were hoping to get to Jerusalem by Christmas. You know: Really honor the birth of Christ and all that by sacking the Holy Shit out of the Holy City. Elsewhere, an intelligence officer named Meinertzhagen was enacting a propaganda operation that involved dropping cigarettes and leaflets to Ottoman soldiers, hoping to convince them to surrender. The Ottomans, much like downtown homeless punks at an all are welcome church pancake breakfast, simply took all the free crap and paid no attention to the proselytizing.


Addicts don't stop for propaganda.

The Weirdness:

Later in the campaign, the Ottomans were making their last stand against the British, holed up in the city of Sheria. The British bombarded the Ottoman positions day and night, but they would not budge. It seemed the only way to take the city was a costly and brutal attack. Then in comes Meinertzhagen: He hopped into his plane and dropped thousands of cigarettes on the Ottomans, just like usual. They didn't even fire at his vehicle: The Weird White Guy Free Cigarette Express was always welcome in Ottoman Town.


Proof that, sometimes, smoking can be good for your health.

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This time, however, Meinertzhagen's cigarettes also contained large doses of opium, so when the Ottomans lit up, they got a nice, unintended high with their nicotine. When the British attacked afterward, the Ottomans were too bombed to mount a successful defense. The British successfully took Sheria, and soon after Jerusalem.

And that's why the DARE. chapter in Sheria is so goddamn militant to this day.




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