ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Coca-Cola in World War II

Updated on December 22, 2011

Coca Cola During the War

A modern take on the iconic Coke Girl from the 40s.
A modern take on the iconic Coke Girl from the 40s. | Source

Coca Cola Helps the American War Effort

When you think of Coca Cola, you might necessarily think of their history behind their ingredients, and their pricing wars with Pepsi Co. However, did you know that Coca Cola made a significant contribution to the war effort during the 2nd World War?

According to Coke's own site, their CEO at the time (Robert Wodruff) decreed that an American Serviceman, no matter where he was in the world, and no matter what conditions, would only pay 5 cents (the current going rate for a bottle of coke in the states) for a bottle or can of coke.

In addition, the Company itself was ordered to create several overseas bottling operations, in order to turn out 3 million bottles of coke every six months. A very patriotic act, that helped bring a little bit of America to each soldier.

As well, the company kept turning out domestic bottles, which allowed the American worker to produce the arsenal of democracy.

Economics of Patriotism

However, while I think many Coke employees had truly patriotic motives in mind, one can't help but notice that coke stood to gain both in the short-term and the long-term from the war. While I am not trying to point any fingers, I think the truth of the situation needs to be discussed.

Firstly, Woodruff stated that an American Service Member would only ever have to pay 5 cents per can of coke. In essence, this statement, and this stipulation, served as an advertising effort, as no more than 10 million of the US Population of 141 Million were in the Service. Those on the home-front though, seeing the company's support for the product, might be more inclined to purchase.

In addition, they were 'ordered' to create several more bottling plants around the world, to help deliver coke to the troops. Coke already had a foreign bottling network (albeit only three plants), and it is likely they had plans for expansion. This war gave the company its 'excuse' for expansion, and possibly a reasonable claim that they needed to be compensated (which they were both in sales contracts, and payments for services rendered after the war). 

So, to say that their motives were entirely patriotic...well some patriotism was there. However, they profiteered from the war in another way. 

Coke's Secret Brand

Fanta
Fanta | Source

Fantasie

When America went to war with Germany, operations for the Coca Cola Company in Germany didn't end. Previously beforehand, Coke had a lucrative relationship and was one of three state-sponsored forms of refreshment at Nazi Sporting events.

However, there was one thing about their operations that did end. The specific use of the Coke Brand was discontinued, not out of some moral stand, but simply out of a lack of sources to make the soft-drink. Thus, German Coke employees decided to create a new drink made from fruit left-overs. When a brainstorming session was held to come up with a new name for the product, the director of the program told marketing teams to use their imagination ('fantisie' in German). One person apparently called out 'Fanta!' and the name stuck.

Now, the real question is, should Coke have been selling to Germany? I think the answer is a clear 'no' based upon historical precedent and the actual strategic difference it would have made in the war.

When Cuba came into Communism, very quickly we declared an embargo against them, and many of our products do not make it to Cuba. There are no bottling plants in Cuba, and if you go there, the only Coke available is from bottling plants in Mexico, and it is very expensive. I believe a similar policy was in existence for the Soviet Union officially or unofficially.

However, we weren't 'technically' at war with Cuba, and no bullets were trading between Americans and Cubans. Yet at the same time that we were at War with the Germans, an American company was profiteering from it? At first you may think this actually to be a win for the 'American Company', but that isn't the case. In addition, other companies (on the losing end) were declared 'war profiteers' and felt heavy burdens for this after the war.

Okay, so what is wrong with selling soda to the Germans during war? If we are profiting off of it, isn't that a good economic choice for us, even if we are at war?

In economics, you learn that there is no such thing as an unequal trade, except where-in you take by force (and even then you might consider it a trade for or against risk of injury or death), or through coercion. As long as the trade continued in a decent manner, the German consumer gains something of value, even by paying 5 cents (whereas the product might cost 3 to make).

What we must look at, is what effect does the selling of soda have upon the war effort (not whether it was a good choice for us economically). Truth is, by continuing to supply them with coke products, and coke formula, we were actually making life a little bit more bearable for the average German citizen during the midst of the war, and possibly prolonging it. These beleaguered citizens might find it alright to continue into a factory the next morning, to make German weapons of war.

When one sieges a castle, you don't have to ever storm it to kill the King, just starve the people until they kill the King themselves. Therefore, I think every single bit of coke product that was sold to the German People by an American Company, was not in our best interest, and frankly, I think the profits plus interest should be repaid.

However, that would never pass in a nation such as ours. Where corporations control what we see on TV, and what candidates we can possibly vote for.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Brigette 

      6 years ago

      What a great resores :)

      i reall enjoyed it!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)