19 February, 2012

19 February 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
19 February, 1945      1100

Wilma, darling –

Well – this morning I’m late for another reason. We had a visiting team from Army down to give us a little talk on the pleasant subject of bombs, saboteurs, counter-espionage etc. – all with a view towards putting us on our guard as we get farther into Germany. It was very interesting, particularly because one member of the team had landed by parachute – in France – six months or so before D-day. His mission was sabotage and he told some interesting stories. As usual – the real is more vivid than what you see in the movies.

Yesterday was a very ordinary day for the most part. I can tell you this, darling, – it was enlivened by a very unusual incident – and I don’t think it will be a breach of army security to tell you. Sweetheart – I had my first Coke in fifteen months!! Now that’s really something and gives you a better idea of what war can really be like. But you’d be surprised what a commotion it caused. We each got an issue of 2 bottles – and to show you what will-power I have – I still have one bottle left. Some of the boys mixed theirs with Scotch, or gin – or Cognac – but not I – I drank mine straight – and you know, dear – I burped the first honest-to-goodness-gassy burp in over a year. What a day!! I’ll never forget it.

Well – in the late p.m. – despite the Cokes – I felt horribly blue. It was raining out, it was quiet – and I just sat at my desk dreaming of what things would be like were I home – on a similar Sunday p.m. We were together in Salem – just taking it easy – all by ourselves. That’s what my most usual picture is, sweetheart, – the two of us by ourselves. Despite my usual practicality – I don’t seem to care where we’re actually at, or what the circumstances are. I’m content to picture you and me and I’m not interested in the details. The latter will take care of themselves when the time comes – and I don’t want to be interfered with when I’m dreaming. Do you, dear? You always ask “when will it actually be?” I wish I knew, sweetheart, because it’s just as discouraging to me as it is to you. I’ve loved you a long time now – but only by long distance – just as you, and I think we’d both like to love each other at close range, direct fire – to revert to the military. Over and over again, dear, I can say only that I still love you hard, and I’ll continue to do so always no matter how long it is. I’ve never doubted that I could or would do otherwise – and all this time has not been able to prove me wrong.

Dearest – I’m going to stop now. I have a bit of a headache – an unusual occurrence for me – but it will go soon, I’m sure. Hope to hear from you today. Meanwhile love to the folks, regards to Mary and the girls – and from me – darling – accept
All my everlasting love –


and WWII

Coca-Cola began it's existance in a three-legged brass pot in the backyard of John S. Pemberton on May 8, 1886. Pemberton was a pharmacist trying to create a new headache tonic. Pemberton took his creation to a pharmacy about two blocks from his home. There the syrup was mixed with cold tap water and sold to ailing customers for 5 cents. As the story goes, a customer in great pain came in and ordered the syrup and the soda jerk accidentally mixed it with carbonated water instead of regular tap water. The customer loved the new drink, declaring it "Delicious and Refreshing!"

Frank Robinson, Pemberton's partner and bookkeeper, suggested the name "Coca-Cola", taking each part of the name from a key ingredient in the product and proclaiming that the two C's would look good in advertising. Mr. Robinson penned "Coca-Cola" in the unique flowing script that is now famous worldwide. Coca-Cola had experienced nonstop growth since its creation back in 1886. In the decades leading up to World War II, it seemed that its popularity couldn’t spread at a faster rate. World War II proved this notion wrong and was the cause for the enormous boom that continues to this day.

Robert Woodruff was the president of the Coca-Cola Company for 60 years, starting in 1923. Woodruff pushed for the expansion of the company overseas and sent Coca-Cola to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics with the U.S. team. This move greatly impacted the overall success of the company, with much credit due to Woodruff, because Coca-Cola continues to be a major sponsor of the Olympics to this day. As the United States entered the war, Robert Woodruff ordered that "every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5 cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company".

When the United States entered World War II, Coke began to represent its product in the US as a patriotic drink by providing free drinks for soldiers of the United States Army, thus allowing the company to be exempt from sugar rationing. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Allied Headquarters sent a cablegram that requested materials for 10 bottling plants on June 29, 1943. In addition to that, they ordered 3 million filled bottles of Coca-Cola.

The United States Army permitted Coca-Cola employees to enter the front lines as "Technical Officers" when in reality they rarely if ever came close to a real battle. Instead, they operated Coke's system of providing refreshments for soldiers, who welcomed the beverage as a reminder of home. As the Allies of World War II advanced, so did Coke. Coca-Cola plants were built as close as possible to European and Pacific battle areas. A plant in Algiers was the first of 64 bottling plants that were built abroad during WWII. These plants provided over 5 billion bottles to American soldiers during World War II.

After the war, the plants were converted for commercial use in their same locations causing for an easy transition into establishing business throughout many parts of the world. Served only in the United States in 1886, Coca-Cola products went from being available to 53 countries in the late 1930s, to 120 countries in the post World War II years up to 1959. Today Coke products are distributed in over 200 nations and its trademark is written in approximately 80 languages.

In common with many large American companies, Coca-Cola had a controversial relationship with Germany before and during World War II. Even as the Nazi party gained power, grew and created its Hitler Youth, Coca-Cola was being advertised alongside the party's posters and within its booklets. A division of the company continued to operate in Germany during the war, but eventually were unable to import the syrup needed for production of Coca-Cola from the United States. As a result, Fanta, the fizzy, sugar-based drink owned by Coca Cola, symbolic of the "American dream," actually began its life in Nazi Germany. Various conspiracy theories sporadically arise over this story, some claiming that the drink was conjured up by the Nazi war machine to counter American permeation of popular consumer culture. One could reasonably argue that the negative propaganda inherent in mass consumption of an American import would be damaging – potentially to both parties.

In reality, the drink was developed not by the Nazis, but independently by Max Keith, head of Coca Cola’s German operations, a pragmatic solution to the problem of getting Coke ingredients into Germany. Its ingredients varied, depending on which by-products were available from German factories at the time. The drink proved popular, and was adopted by Coca Cola internationally post-war.

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