Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: The histories of a number of popular consumer items have been rumored to have at least tenuous connections with certain unsavory elements. Contemporary lore is rife with product rumors that assert ties to the Ku Klux Klan (e.g., Marlboro cigarettes, Snapple fruit drinks, KFC, Troop clothing, Tropical Fantasy fruit drink) and the Nazis (e.g., Coors beer), groups mainstream American society views as evil. Such rumors are wholly without substance.
Of all the product rumors of this class, only those associating the soft drink Fanta with Nazi Germany have anything to them, and even then, the truth of the matter is far more innocuous than the whispers.
We've seen the Fanta/Nazi rumor rendered a number of ways, including:
- Fanta was invented by the Third Reich, because other soft drinks (including
Coca-Cola)were no longer available in Germany — the Nazis longed for something fizzy to drink and so had to come up with something on their own.
- Fanta was formulated by Coca-Cola for the Nazis, because the political climate of those days made it akin to corporate suicide to attempt to supply the Allies' enemy with the same drink the Allies were gulping down.
- Back in those war-torn days, Fanta and
Coca-Colawere actually the same beverage, but were labeled and distributed under different names so as to keep the Allies from knowing the Nazis were guzzling the same product.
- Fanta was invented in Germany when the war made it difficult to get
Coca-Colasyrup from the USA to Germany.
Prior to the outbreak of the second world war, Coca-Cola's only unqualified success on the international scene was its bottling operations in Nazi Germany. Sales records were being set year after year in that venue, and by 1939
However, the war was about to change that. As the inevitable clash loomed ever closer, obtaining the key ingredients necessary for the production of Coca-Cola syrup became increasingly difficult in Germany, grinding production towards a standstill.
In 1938, the man in charge of Coca-Cola's operations in Germany, American-born Ray Powers, died of injuries received in an automobile accident. His right-hand man, German-born Max Keith, took over:
Meanwhile, the German government placed Max Keith in charge of
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
Fanta sold well enough to keep the plants operating and
Until the end of the war, Coca-Cola executives in Atlanta did not know if Keith was working for the company or for the Nazis, because communication with him was impossible. Their misgivings aside, Keith was safeguarding
According to a report prepared by an investigator commissioned by
So where does all this leave the question of who or what invented Fanta and why? The truth is simple, even if it doesn't run trippingly off the tongue: Fanta was the creation of a German-born
Fanta is still a Coca-Cola product, and today it comes in seventy different flavors (though only some are available within each of the
Barbara "soda coda" Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 April 2011
Allen, Frederick. Secret Formula. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN 0-88730-672-1 (pp. 254, 263-265). Pendergrast, Mark. For God, Country, and Coca-Cola. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1993. ISBN 0-684-19347-7 (pp. 213-226). Roush, Chris. "And in Third Place ... It's Fanta." The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 26 July 1996.