Not specifically for the military, but Nazi Germany is where the drink was invented. It was created because the country ran out of Coca-Cola, and the story begins well before the start of the Second World War.
The Coca-Cola Company — which now makes the Fanta brand — enjoyed popularity within the US, yet remained humble on the international front, with only three bottling plants outside its home base.
The company’s operations in Germany were hugely successful, however, and thrived up until 1941, under the leadership of German-born Max Keith. Marketing the all-American drink with the slogan “Mach Dol Mal Pause” (Come on, take a break), Coca-Cola Deutschland advertised heavily in the Third Reich.
For instance, Coca-Cola was one of the three main sponsors of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The company’s president, Robert W. Woodruff, was a guest and Max Keith was seated at the main table that was covered with a large swastika. It was this event that gave Hitler the chance to exhibit his pro-Aryan and anti-Semitic ideologies on a global platform for the first time, and it occurred during the early stages of Jewish and Roma prosecution taking place in the country.
As the war began to play out, there are a number of theories regarding why exactly Coca-Cola ceased production in Nazi Germany. Many speculate that the company’s executives feared the wholesome image of the drink could be associated with Adolf Hitler, thus proving detrimental to sales. After all, Woodruff, famously declared that Coke would be available to all American servicemen for just five cents a pop, wherever they were, and Coke’s nationalistic persona made the company immensely popular at home, and a staple in many US households.
Other sources claim the company deemed it too risky and controversial to supply Coke to both the Allied forces and the Axis powers. But the most agreed upon reason is that it was simply too difficult to transport Coca-Cola’s ingredients, making the drink’s production in Germany nearly impossible. The attack on Pearl Harbour had forced the United States to actively partake in the war efforts, which made communication between Coca-Cola’s German division and its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, incredibly complicated. In the midst of the war, the German plant was cut off from its US headquarters and was forced to rely on communication through Coca-Cola’s office in Switzerland. This line of communication was not enough to secure the German plant with adequate supplies of syrup, or its ingredients, and hence an alternative was needed.
After the last remaining cases of Coke were bought in Nazi Germany, Max Keith became motivated to find a substitute for the country. Using the ingredients that were found in abundance in the nation, (whey, pomace, and sugar) Keith and his team produced a new orange soda. Its name came about through a competition Keith held amongst his employees. He urged them to use their imagination — or Fantasie in German. Upon hearing this, an employee named Joe Knipp, remarked, “Fanta!”
The drink proved to be wildly successful, with over three million cases of the stuff being consumed in 1943 alone.
Right after the war, the company discontinued Fanta under the pretences that it was “unfit” for consumption but also due to fears that it could outshine its chief product, Coca-Cola.
But as rivals Pepsi began expanding its range in the 1960s, Coca-Cola wanted to compete and introduced Fanta to America. Thus letting America buy the drink that was created in Nazi Germany to fill the Coca-Cola void.