An early map of the NATO alliance

NATO [:] NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION. [Canada or the United States, 1955?]
Halftone map printed in colors, 29 ¾” diameter on a 46 ½”h x 33”w sheet. Minor creasing and some wear along edges, but better than very good.

A rare and rather spectacular map of the NATO alliance, depicting member states in blue, the Soviet Union in red, and its satellites in orange.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in August 1949 as a mutual-defense pact to counter the Soviet bloc. NATO’s original members including the United States and 11 Western European nations; and it subsequently added Greece and Turkey (1952), West Germany (1955), and Spain (1982). Since the end of the Cold War, even though its raison d’etre is arguably no longer so obvious, 14 former Warsaw Pact nations and former Yugoslav republics have joined.

Offered here is a massive map of the Western Hemisphere depicting NATO in its early years, around 1955. The choices of both color and projection are interesting, as they have the effect of a blood-red Soviet Union looming over the countries while reaching what looks rather like a bloody hand toward North America. At the center of the map is an organization chart of the alliance’s command structure, and symbols locate major NATO headquarters around the hemisphere

The map can be dated by the inclusion in the Alliance of West Germany, which joined in May 1955, as well as the inclusion of Algeria, which left after gaining independence from France in 1962. Failure to mention the Warsaw Pact, also founded in 1955, suggests the map was produced in that very year. The choice of projection, and the fact that the only other example I have located is in Toronto, suggest that the map was produced in North America.

OCLC #225453304 (Univ. of Toronto only).