It’s an odd paradox that while political correctness is forced onto the public by society’s most influential institutions, often times those same institutions have a history of perpetuating the most abhorrent beliefs known to man.
Did you know that Hugo F. Boss, the founder of the famous Hugo Boss fashion line, was an open and devout Nazi supporter?
Or how about that Coca-Cola—a soda enjoyed by millions worldwide (including children) actually began as a cocaine-based beverage acting as “sexual invigoration” and a cure for “mental and physical exhaustion”?
Or that Henry Ford was so embroiled in anti-Semitism that he even funded, published, and circulated a newspaper—even landing a spot in a photograph on Adolf Hitler’s desk?
These are just a handful of the stunning revelations brought to life from the halls of history by a new book called “A Secret history of Brands: The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love.”
Although the author’s exposés have always existed in the historical record, the general public remains completely unaware of them—unsurprising given the amount of power and wealth held by these brands.
(Pictured left, Adolf Hitler, Pictured right, Henry Ford)
As summarized by The Daily Mail:
“Family friendly Coca-Cola was heavily laced with cocaine when created in the late 1800s as an alternative to morphine and its addictive qualities. However, the amount of cocaine in the drink was equally as addictive as morphine.
“The namesake of the Hugo Boss company, the German fashion house, was an ardent supporter of the Nazi party and made uniforms for the troops and the Gestapo, using 1,241 forced laborers that included French prisoners of war.
“Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company that first produced the Model T car in 1908, was rabidly anti-Semitic and convinced that an international Jewish conspiracy was going to take down America.
“And German footwear giants Adidas and Puma, not only made sports shoes but the founding brothers became members of the Nazi party, making boots for soldiers as well as Panzerschreck bazookas, an anti-tank rocket launcher, which were used on the front line in World War II.”
Kellogg’s: An Innocent Children’s Cereal Company?
Kellogg’s is one just one of countless cereal companies that have reached ubiquitous brand awareness in the public consciousness—and just like so many others, marketing to children has been an effective strategy.
But long before it became a household name, Kellogg’s was just the last name of a man called John—Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a rather curious individual who revolted against human intercourse and masturbation.
The doctor supported “abstinence from masturbation, sexual arousal, and sexual intercourse of any kind.”
His convictions were such that he even designed the popular “Corn Flakes” brand of cereal designed to “help one live a pure and healthy existence.”
Originally designed as a shredded wheat product, Dr. Kellogg wanted to create a cereal that would help curb the sexual appetites of his patients at his sanitarium—a rather demented medical institution where he could put his peculiar ideas into practice.
However, the shredded wheat did not market well to the American public, but when reimagined into “Corn Flakes”, it became the hit he’d hoped for.
Among Dr. Kellogg’s unusual beliefs was a staunch support for eugenics—the forced regulation of human procreation to ensure that only the healthiest people and races prosper.
As author Matt MacNabb puts it, “Kellogg himself purported that they should create a registry that would identify appropriate breeding pairs, exercising control over the white race and keeping it pure.”
CoCo Chanel: Fashion Brand, Nazi Collaborator, Or Both?
It’s a brand name synonymous with high-fashion and haute, yet long before Coco Chanel attained the brand awareness of today, it’s founder was collaborating with Nazis and capitalizing on their European expansions to expand her own business.
Yes, it’s a her: Coco Chanel was an ambitious french businesswoman who, according to the author, was also “widely regarded as a vicious and horrible person, a Nazi sympathizer, and eventually even a Nazi spy.”
The Daily Mail elaborates:
“Now Coco had a chance to take advantage of the Nazi aryanization of Jewish owned businesses.
“She still felt bitter towards Jews which started when she reached out to the Wertheimer family for financial backing to expand her Chanel No. 5 customer base.
“The deal gave a 70 percent stake in the company to the Wertheimers, 20 percent to the broker, and only 10 percent of the stock to Chanel for licensing.
“Chanel wrote a letter to the Nazis asking for full ownership of Parfums Chanel.
“At the time, she was living in the elegant Hotel Ritz, ‘in the lap of luxury and high society’ and climbed into bed with Abwehr spy Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, special attaché to the German Embassy in Paris in 1933.
“Her affair allowed her to continue to live and dine lavishly at the Ritz while Parisians starved.”
Hugo Boss Designed Uniforms for Nazis
They’re known for fashion worn by millions of people today, but near the mid-20th century, Hugo Boss was designing and selling clothing worn by millions of Nazis.
Author MacNabb writes, “The Hugo Boss company features a namesake that is shrouded in disgrace and subversion, with accusations of forced labor and an allegiance to the National Socialist Party by Boss himself.”
Indeed, Hugo Boss was contracted by the Nazis to produce uniforms for their troops, Hitler Youth groups, and the Gestapo.
(Pictured, Hugo Boss advertisement in German newspaper promoting the company’s production of clothing for the SS).