R. M. Chapin map of Allied offensives, drawn for Time Magazine

R[obert] M[acfarlane] Chapin, Jr., GLOBAL COMBAT. [New York:] Time, Inc., October 4, 1943 [but a bit later.]
Halftone print in black and red, 29 3/8”h x 44 5/8”w at neat line plus margins.

A striking 1943 poster depicting options for Allied offensives against the Axis, drawn by Robert M. Chapin for Time magazine.

The poster features side-by-side maps of the European and Asia-Pacific Theatres on a stereographic projection, giving the viewer the sense of seeing the Earth from space. The theatres of war are, in a sense, carved into areas of control: Europe split between Stalin and General George Marshall; the Asia-Pacific between General Macarthur, Admiral Nimitz and Lord Mountbatten. Solid red arrows indicate the thrust of ongoing offensives, while arrows drawn in outline indicate predicted or potential lines of attack (For example, a large outline arrow from Great Britain to the Low Countries and Germany bears a question mark, as D-Day was still seven months in the future.) Both Germany and Japan are thus ringed by red arrows, conveying the rather misleading impression that Allied victory was inevitable.

The map is a much-enlarged version of one printed in the October 4, 1943 issue of Time magazine.

Mapmaker Robert M. Chapin (fl. 1937-1970), Chief Cartographer at Time, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933 with a degree in architecture. Finding little demand for his training during the Depression, he took a job as a retoucher of photos at Newsweek, where he somehow learned to draw maps. In 1937 he was lured to rival Time, where he worked for the next 33 years. He and his team were extremely prolific, producing four, five and six maps per week to keep up with breaking news during the Second World War.

Chapin’s work has an immediately-recognizable style, a function of several innovations:

“First, Chapin used an airbrush, a sort of high-power atomizer, with that he sprayed paint over his maps in an infinite number of shadings that gave mountains and valleys, plateaus
 and riverbeds their three-dimensional height and depth. Second, he suspended two large floating globes — one political, one physical — from the ceiling by 
pulleys and counterweights in such a
way that they can be turned, lowered and photographed from any angle or perspective. Third, he created a library of celluloid symbols, that contained bomb explosions, flags, camels, ships, soldiers and moving battalions.” (Norberto Angeletti, “Inside the Invention of the the Modern News Illustration and Infographic Map,” at Time.com)

To that list I would add the use of bright red to represent movement and action, often in the form of large, “swooping” arrows.

After the Second World War Chapin remained at the magazine for another quarter century, during which time he produced numerous maps of Cold War subjects, a titanic “us vs. them” struggle to which his bold, clean style (and liberal use of red) were well suited.

OCLC #48120755, locating three institutional holdings as of Jan. 2018. Not in Persuasive Maps: The PJ Mode Collection.



Old folds, punctures at corners from old tacks, small chip and mended tear in right margin.