Spectacular Nav War Map of the Southwest Pacific

Prepared by The Educational Services Section Bureau of Naval Personnel / U.S. Government Printing Office, Nav War Map No. 5 [:] SOUTHWEST PACIFIC. Washington: Navy Department, 1944.
Offset lithograph printed in color recto and verso, 38”h x 57”w plus imprint and margins. Folds flattened with some separations mended, lined with heavy tissue.

A spectacular pictorial map of the Southwest Pacific, issued in 1944 by the U.S. Navy.

The map highlights events beginning with the Japanese offensive of late 1941 and early 1942, identified by sweeping orange arrows. American counteroffensives are shown by light blue arrows, beginning with the 1942 landings on Guadalcanal, with the limits of American control as of the end of April 1944 indicated by a dashed white line. A small inset at lower left explains the staggering distances involved and the rationale for the long and bloody campaign to retake the Pacific islands held by Japan. A somewhat jarring feature for modern eyes is the primer on “Peoples of the Pacific” at lower right.

This is one of six “Nav War Maps” issued in 1944 by the U.S. Navy, including five focusing on different theatre of war and a sixth providing a global overview. All are visually compelling, with vibrant colors and energetic graphic design—most notably the use of bold arrows to indicate movements of the opposing forces.

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 render this a piece worthy of both display and study.

OCLC 8919957 et al.