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Weird facts about Coca-Cola, the favorite drink of Nazi pilots

Illustration for article titled Weird facts about Coca-Cola, the favorite drink of Nazi pilots

Fascinating article about the history of Coca-Cola, which goes through its entire story including some really weird facts, like their promotional brass watch fobs in the form of swastikas made in 1925, before the Nazi's rise to power. And talking about the goddamn Nazis:

According to Emperors of Coca-Cola by Murray J. Eldred, German troops discovered a case of Coke left by retreating Allied forces while fighting in North Africa. With great value as contraband, some bottles were acquired by Luftwaffe BF109 fighter pilots who devised an ingenious means of chilling the drink in the hot African sun. Bottles would be wrapped in wet towels before being affixed to the underwings of their planes. Upon returning from flying, where the pilots had sweated profusely under the perspex canopy of their cockpits, they would remove the bottles of coke which had chilled at high altitudes and retained temperature due to the moist towels evaporating in the drag of the wings. – a rudimentary refrigeration technique.

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FACT:

In World War II, since Coca-Cola's secret syrup (codenamed 7X) was only manufactured in the United States, Germany's Coca-Cola plants were not able to get the syrup to carbonate, thereby no Coca-Cola across the waters.

The main manager of the Europe Coca-Cola plants, Max Keith, also wanted to make sure Coca-Cola would still sell in Germany and occupied territories even though the Nazis made it illegal for foreign companies to conduct domestic work.

He ended up advising his chemists to come up with a different concoction to keep business going as the war became severe. The chemists came up with a mix based on leftover fruit, cheese by-product, apple fibers, and spice ingredients from other non-functioning company factories around them.

This drink, which didn't taste exactly like any fruit, was unveiled at a meeting, where Max Keith told his partners to let their "fantasies" - Fantasie in German - run wild as they decided on the right name for the product.

I guess you know can derive what they ended up calling this drink, which became a huge seller for Coca-Cola in war-torn Europe. But, for stories like this I highly recommend this book:

This book doesn't even have a Wikipedia page, which is disheartening, but is one of the best history books I've ever run into.