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Coca Cola at War (on BOTH sides)

  • When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the equipment brought ashore were 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants.
Coca Cola was involved in the Second World War. 

Robert Woodruff made a point of supporting US troops so metal cans were introduced to meet their needs.

In 1941, when the United States entered the war, Woodruff decided that Coca Cola's place was near the front line. 

He sent an order to 

"See that ever man  in uniform gets a bottle of Coca Cola for 5 cents wherever he is and whatever the cost to the company". 

In 1939 Coca Cola only had 5 overseas bottling plants. By 1945, they had 64. What made it so popular? Because the water was disgusting. The army kept it clean by adding chlorine-so the water tasted like your local swimming pool, or worse.

On the 29th June 1943 General Dwight D Eisenhower ordered three million bottles of Coca Cola to be sent to the allies in North Africa. 

Plant and machinery for down town bottling plants were also sent so another three million bottles could be sent to the troops every six months. 

By the end of the hostilities five billion bottles or cans of Coca Cola had been drunk.

Coca Cola had not only lifted the spirits of the US Armed Forces, it had also introduced itself to new markets. When the war ended the bottling plants and a little bit of America stayed too.


When Eisenhower became President of the USA in 1953, he remembered Coca Cola's response to his call. He rewarded the company with a contract to supply all White House banquets. 

Both Presidents Kennedy and Carter also enjoyed Coca Cola. Carter used his influence to help it break into the difficult market of China.

WW2 advertising for Coca Cola

Above. Airplane spotter's plane identification tips and hints on playing cards with Coca Cola advertising. C.1943

Left. Boy's/soldiers pocket knife with Coca Cola advertising. Circa 1943

Coca Cola advertising slogans of the Second World War era

1939 Coca-Cola goes along
  Make lunch time refreshment time
  Makes travel more pleasant
  The drink everybody knows
  Thirst stops here
1940 Bring in your thirst and go away without it
  The package that gets a welcome at home
  Try it just once and you will know why
1941 A stop that belongs on your daily timetable
  Completely refreshing
1942 The only thing like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola itself
  Refreshment that can't be duplicated
  Wherever you are, whatever you do, wherever you may be, when you think refreshment, think ice-cold Coca-Cola
1943 That extra something
  A taste all its own
  The only thing like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola itself
  It's the real thing
1944 How about a Coke
  High sign of friendship
  A moment on the sunnyside
1945 Whenever you hear "Have a Coke," you hear the voice of America
  Passport to refreshment
  Happy moment of hospitality
  Coke means Coca-Cola

Coca Cola in a Nazi Uniform

Coca Cola (GmbH) were the German bottlers for Coke under the leadership of the CEO Max Keith (pronounced Kite). Coke sponsored the 1936 Nazi Olympics where Hitler showcased his Aryan vision to the world, while hiding the "Don't shop at Jewish shops" posters.

Coca Cola GmbH sought to be associated with the Nazis, it became a bit of a joke that if Hitler or a high ranking Nazi was on the front cover of a magazine Coke would advertise on the back. Coke advertised on billboards that were by the Berlin stadiums, so people attending Goebbel's rallies had to walk past them.

Coke financially supported the Nazis by advertising within Nazi newspapers, in one instance Coke published responses to accusations from rival bottlers that they were a Jewish company. These denunciations were placed in Nazi rags.

Coke advertised in the Nazi Army paper shortly after the invasion of Sudetenland, the ad was a picture of a hand holding a bottle of coke over a map of the world, the slogan was "Yes we have got an international reputation."

Coke opened up a bottling plant in Sudetenland shortly after the invasion.

Mark Prendergrast's book For God, Country and Coca Cola: "Later in the war, Keith used Chinese labor and "people who would come from anywhere in Europe-the war brought them from everywhere." For Keith to say blandly that "the war brought them" implies that they were willing refugees, which is somewhat misleading. In fact, the wartime railroads not only carried Jews, Gypsies and others to concentration camps, but some 9 million Fremdarbeiter, or forced foreign labor, who accounted for a fifth of the German labor force by 1944." Coke nearly certainly used forced labor.
  • Coca Cola in the US have paid into a fund for the compensation of people who were forced to work for the Nazis.

As Max Keith's supplies of Coke dwindled in 1941 he gave his last batches to Nazi soldiers.

Fanta® After the US entered the war in 1941 Max Keith couldn't get Coca Cola syrup from America to make Coke so he invented a new drink out of the ingredients he had available to him and made it specifically for the Nazi market and the Third Reich. 
  • The drink was called Fanta. 

Fanta came by its name thanks to Keith's instructions to employees during the contest to christen the beverage — he told them to let their Fantasie [Geman for fantasy] run wild. Upon hearing that, veteran salesman Joe Knipp immediately blurted out Fanta. 

This new soda was often made from the leavings of other food industries. (Remember, Germany did have a bit of an import problem at that time.) Whey (a cheese by-product) and apple fiber from cider presses found their way into the drink. As for which fruits were used in the formulation, it all depended on what was available at the time. In its earliest incarnations, the drink was sweetened with saccharin, but by 1941 its concocters were permitted to use 3.5 percent beet sugar. 

Brand Overview: A favorite in Europe since the 1940s, Fanta was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1960. Fanta Orange is the core flavor, representing about 70% of sales, but other citrus and fruit flavors have their own solid fan base. Fanta sells best in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and Argentina. Fanta is still a Coca-Cola product, and today it comes in seventy different flavors (though some are only available within the country of manufacture, one of 188 countries it is sold in).

In 1943 alone he sold 3 million cases of Fanta in the Nazi empire.

Mark Prendergrast "In March of 1938, as Hitler's troops stormed across the Austrian border in the Anschluss, Max Keith convened the ninth annual concessionaire convention, with 1,500 people in attendance. 

Behind the main table, a huge banner proclaimed in German, "Coca -Cola is the world-famous trademark for the unique product of Coca-Cola GmbH" Directly below, three gigantic swastikas stood out, black on red. 

At the main table, Max Keith sat surrounded by his deputies, another swastika draped in front of him...The meeting closed with a "ceremonial pledge to Coca-Cola and a ringing three-fold "Seig Heil" to Hitler."

At another convention Mark Prendergrast notes "Then Keith ordered a mass Sieg-Heil for Hitler's recent fiftieth birthday, to commemorate our deepest admiration and gratitude for our Fuhrer who has led our nation into a brilliant higher sphere."

Note that "Fanta" is referred to as 'lemonade'.

At the Reich "Schaffendes Volk" ("Working People") Exhibition celebrating the German worker under Hitler, Prendergrast describes "A functioning bottling plant, with a miniature train carting Kinder beneath, bottled Coca-Cola at the very centre of the fair, adjacent to the Propaganda Office. Touring the Dusseldorf fair, Hermann Goering paused for a Coke, and an alert Company photographer snapped a picture. Though no such picture documented the Fuhrer's tastes, Hitler reputedly enjoyed Coca Cola too, sipping the Atlanta drink as he watched Gone With The Wind in his private theatre."

Coke sales in Nazi Germany 1934 - 243,000 cases. 1936 - 1 million cases. 1939 - almost 4 and a half million cases. From 

  • When the war ended Coca-Cola had made huge inroads into markets throughout the world, and they also had many loyal customers in returning soldiers.

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