Dramatic anti-Communist map showing Russian ambitions in Europe

R[obert] M[acfarlane] Chapin, Jr., The Czar’s Will On 1944 Europe. [New York: Time, Inc.,] April 3, 1944 [but a bit later.]
Offset print in black and red, 42 ½”h x 33 ¼”w at neat line plus margins.

A dramatic World War II anti-Communist propaganda map warning of Soviet intentions in Eastern Europe.

This is a much-enlarged version of a map printed in the April 3, 1944 issue of Time magazine, which was published—along with Fortune and Life—by the fiercely anti-Communist Henry Luce. The map accompanied a review of a deeply pessimistic book by Russian émigré David Dallin, according to which the Soviets had vast imperial ambitions in Europe. His claim was based on the purported discovery in “the Czar’s secret archives” of a plan “for territorial and political demands after World War I.” (p. 99)

The map depicts a vividly red Soviet Union extending within its pre-war (1939) boundary, with areas planned for “annexation” indicated by heavy red bands and a future “sphere of influence” by thin, concentric circles. The use of coloring is hardly accidental, given the association of red with both blood and Communism, and the map conveys the impression of a tide of gore threatening to wash over Europe. Though the title is unclear, the rhetorical intent was to depict Soviet objectives rather than military or political reality: When the map first appeared, the Soviet advance against Nazi Germany had not yet reached Poland, though of course its message was in time proven true.

The map appears to be very rare in this enlarged format, as a search of OCLC and Google yields examples only at Franklin & Marshall and Oregon State University World War II Poster Collection. The catalog of that collection lists no fewer than 16 large-scale posters by Chapin issued between 1942 and 1944. Most were produced for Time and focus on aspects of the ongoing war, though a small number address peripheral topics such as a Map of Flight Distances from New York City to Other Cities in the Northern Hemisphere. Chapin remained active for Time at least until the 1960s, when for example I find this map of American oil pipelines in the Rumsey Collection.

OCLC 320454127 (Franklin & Marshall College only, as of May 2017). I find other examples in the Oregon State University World War II Poster Collection. Thanks to PJ Mode for the background on David Dallin and the review of his book in the Time for April 3, 1944.


Old folds with a bit of additional creasing, else excellent.