The Soda That Wasn’t a Nazi


While researching on a totally unrelated matter, I came across some riveting information I never knew!

The soft drink, Fanta, was, in fact, created in Germany during World War II. Just prior to World War II (which began in 1939), the Coca-Cola operations manager in Germany died as a result of wounds from an automobile accident. Max Keith, who was German, took over his position. However, soon, due to both the war and a trade embargo, Nazi Germany, who set records year after year after year with their Coca-Cola sales, no longer had access to Coca-Cola ingredients.

Max Keith sent a message through neutral Switzerland to Coca-Cola’s head in Atlanta that he would try to keep its enterprises alive, in spite of being cut off from the parent company. Keith and his employees soon created a new soft drink using ingredients they had easy access to, which they aptly named ‘Fanta’…because it was fantastic, this liquid made from the “leftover of leftovers.”

Whey and apple fiber was added to the product, as well as certain fruits, depending on what was available at the time.

Fanta sold fantastically well, but not always for the sole purpose of drinking, as we use modern-day sodas. As the war progressed, and Germany’s resources tightened, many used Fanta in soups and stews. The average German housewife was often forced to be creative in what she included in meals due to shortages. (Truth: sometimes, when they were unable to obtain wheat/grains, many a housewife used sawdust in her bread recipes. Yum!)

During this time, Coca-Cola execs in Atlanta didn’t know who Max Keith was working for—them, or those dastardly Nazis. As it turned out, Keith had preserved Coca-Cola’s assets in Germany, as well as kept people employed during an extremely difficult period of time. At the end of the war, Good-Guy-Max never became a Nazi, nor did he affiliate the company with them, and he handed over all of Fanta’s profits and German factories back to Coca-Cola. They were back up and running faster than Reichburger’s could get a cleaning crew to scratch off the swastikas on their windows. (Just kidding!)

And they all lived happily ever after!


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