The Fantastical History of Fanta

Fanta, the famous orange, fruit-flavoured drink, was originally a kind of ersatz Coca-Cola, dreamt up in the Third Reich of Mr Hitler, Führer of great Germany and king of Vichy. The recipe would linger on until the great god of the Nazis, dressed by Hugo Boss, forswore ending up stuffed in a Moscow circus or in a cage in London Zoo by blowing his brains out with his Luger, while not neglecting to offer his wife, Eva Braun, by way of a wedding gift, a belt-and-braces death by cyanide pill and a bullet in the head.

Let’s Not Be Polemical

I might as well say so straight away, this isn’t an attempt to be polemical about the alleged relationship of Coca-Cola with the Nazi regime. We know that the 43 Coke factories present in the Third Reich had to be turned to profit when Nazi Germany officially declared war on the United States, in 1941, immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the great infamy committed by the Japanese Empire. The embargo on the commodities needed to make Coca-Cola put an end to the famous Atlanta firm’s business in Germany. Max Keith, director of The Coca-Cola Company Gmbh was not a Nazi sympathizer, but the prospect of seeing the vast group of production and bottling factories disappear forced him to find an alternative solution. So, in the occupied countries, ingredients were sought to enable a new formula to be devised, one that would make people forget the American fizzy pop, and it was discovered in apple juice and dairy products … and so a good product, German through and through, was found and the decision was taken to give it an original name: Max Keith suggested a brainstorming session to his staff, asking them to use their imaginations (Fantasie in German) and a young chap blurted out, “Fanta!”

The hotchpotch of whey, cider must, and its hints of sauerkraut in beer would get production going again at an incredible rate, to the extent that Fanta would become the national soft drink and would even be of some use at a societal level: towards the end of the conflict, in a Third Reich running out of steam and with food in short supply, the Germans would use Fanta as stock to make soup.

The Second World War from a Fantastical Viewpoint

However, let us come back to the essentials of the drink: “Fanta” or “Fantasie” … in a twisted mind, such as mine, leads to the onset of flights of fan(ta)cy … I might as well warn you now, what follows may not have the whiff of truth, but it will have the flavour of a sincere and true hatred of the Nazi attitude that is so commonplace these days.

Let’s begin: Hitler, instead of coffee stolen from the French or willingly handed over by Pétain, apparently preferred to drink a Fanta every morning … not that he saw many of them; it was often necessary to shake him awake at around 2.30 pm for him to think of putting on a pair of pyjamas, at best, or at worst, a pea jacket for warmongering against the Russians who were giving him a good pasting while that degenerate, convinced of his superman status, decreed that Slavs were only fit to be human commodities exploited at will. It is also said that Hitler, genius of evil and of bellicose malfeasance, himself drew the plans for the Fanta Molotov, a Czech variation on the Stielhandgranate 24.

Himmler, pipsqueak little chicken farmer, true to form at Trafalgar’s first blow, escaped the confusion by disguising himself as a soldier wearing an eye patch. The British, who had a bad deal, what with bearing the whole weight of the war without those French frogs, or sharing the glory with those idiot Americans, quickly saw through the great Gestapo leader’s ridiculous disguise. Instead of affording him the comfort due to his rank, his ears were soundly boxed and he was stripped naked, as though to evoke the sad fate inflicted on the poor wretches in the concentration camps. He was searched, according to the standard penitentiary medical procedures, and a bottle of Fanta, in which he had hidden a dose of poison was discovered in his back passage: so, Himmler was a devotee of the anal plug. In order to obey the orders of Churchill, who had wanted any Nazis captured to be summarily executed, the British officers in charge of Number 3 in the evil order, allowed Himmler to slake his thirst with the cyanide sample.

Göring, aka “Fat Boy,” during his Nuremberg trial, got friendly with an American officer lacking in conscience. When he had just been told he would be hanged like a thief and not shot like a hero, he asked the vain officer to go through his bags and bring him several items, including an inscribed watch, a pair of white leather gloves so new they still smelled of the sow, a small calfskin case, and a bottle of Fanta, which was numbered and stamped with the words “Hermann the Great.” The US officer, as though under a spell, complied with a Prussian style about-turn and heel click. Göring offered the watch and the gloves to the officer, who was grateful and moved by this great gesture of spontaneous generosity. “Fat Boy” then ordered that the case be given to his lawyer, who had to carry his clients’ files in a plastic bag with a Swastika on its side, which caused him great trouble, as to go and natter with Göring, the lawyer had to walk down a long corridor onto which opened around twenty cells, each guarded by an ill-tempered guard (which was understandable, given that they were obliged to constantly watch their prisoners); there is, by-the-bye, an anecdote in the book: “I, Göring’s Lawyer,” where the defender recounts the hostile mini-interrogation that he had to undergo twenty or so times every day:

“Hey, you there; where are you going?”

“I’ve come to see my client.”

“What’s that?”

“A makeshift briefcase …”

“With a Swastika on it? Are you taking the mickey?”

And he would get a resounding box on the ears together with a kick in the backside that would send him sprawling at the feet of the next guard.

But let’s get back to Reichsmarschall Göring. After having distributed his gifts and written three letters, including an insulting one addressed to the Nuremberg court, he allowed himself one last Fanta for the road … That evening, two hours before he was to be taken to face the noose,  “Fat Boy” Hermann was found as stiff as a board, with cyanide-laced foam coming from his mouth.

Heydrich “horse-face,” a little Nazi yob, left hand of the swordplay, bow of the violin, and a snivelling coward to boot, unable to acknowledge or accept his Jewish origins or bisexual leanings, decided to offer each of the men who razed the village of Lidice two cases of Fanta. At the end of the killing, he ordered all the empties to be brought to him: those who had broken the bottles, drinking them Soviet style, got a bullet themselves and their families were deported, as was the custom in the good old days of Nazism. The father of one of the martyr-executioner soldiers was an upholsterer with Mercedes. When he learned that his son had been dispatched because he didn’t know how to drink like a superman, the old man, in a blind rage, secretly placed horsehair from a horse with tuberculosis in the stuffing of the back seat of “horse-face” Heydrich’s favourite vehicle. The latter, believing he could kill people with impunity, drove around, without particular care, at the wheel of his beautiful convertible, in the streets of Bohemia and Moravia, where he was promoted to the ironic rank of Great Protector. One day, a young man was awaiting him on a corner with a sub-machine gun paid for by the English. The Resistant sent a salvo of Molotov Fantas, the great Czech speciality, in the lousy Nazi’s direction. Dodging the missiles like Neo in The Matrix, Heydrich thrust himself so forcefully against the upholstered leather that it split, allowing a piece of infected horsehair to escape, which pricked our Nazi superhero. Having contracted septicaemia, Heydrich died, not without having decreed the final destruction of the Fanta factories, an order that was categorically refused by Hitler, who, as has been seen, liked to take a glass of his favorite drink every morning with a German-style breakfast.

What Not to Conclude

This flight of fancy, a necessary remedy after the greedy consumption of three pomegranate Fantas, is not enough to make me forget, in a hypoglycaemic stupor, this recent advertisement, in extremely poor taste … where this accursed era three times lauded “the good old days” when Mr Hitler and his good pals, with great swishes of the cane and until the tuneless strains of their dying swansong, led all Europe a merry dance, to the moronic German rhythm of a goosestep waltz.

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