Striking “ Nav War Map ” issued by the U.S. Navy Department near the close of World War II

Designed by Bureau of Naval Personnel Training Aids / U.S. Government Printing Office, Nav War Map No. 3 / WORLD WAR 2 IN THE NORTH SEA AREA [and on verso:] Nav War Map No. 4 / THE NORTH PACIFIC AREA. Washington: Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Dept., 1944.
Offset lithograph printed in color recto and verso, printed area 40”h x 58”w plus margins.

A mammoth and colorful propaganda poster from the Nav War Map series issued by the U.S. Navy Department during World War II.

This impressive, separately-published poster is printed on both sides. The recto features Nav War Map No. 3, which highlights major events in the North Atlantic and North Sea. These include the German invasion of Norway (1940), the chase and sinking of the Bismarck (1941), the Allies’ ongoing strategic bombing campaign against Nazi targets in France and Germany, and the “break[ing of] the U-Boat scourge on the Allied supply lines with destroyers, destroyer escorts and escort carriers.”

On the verso is Nav War Map No. 4, which highlights events across the North Pacific, beginning with the Japanese strikes of late 1941 and early 1942, and culminating with the American recapture of Attu and Kiska in mid-1943, which “ended Jap occupation in the Western Hemisphere, and in turn opened the NORTH PACIFIC ROAD TO TOKYO” Insets depict the battles of Midway and Attu map of the Pacific marks the events from 1895 to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, while a charts lists “Japanese Aggression” as far back as 1895. It is interesting to see such emphasis placed on events in the North Pacific, whereas today the “island hopping” campaign in the South Pacific receives most of the attention.

Maps such as this help make an excellent case that  Second World War material deserves an honored niche in the antiquarian map market. The magnitude, horror and importance of the events shown; the skill with which they are here depicted; and the propagandistic tone make render this a piece worthy of both display and further study.

OCLC lists numerous institutional holdings.


Wrinkling along folds, some pinpoint holes at intersections, and some scattered staining, about very good.