Map of the day

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One World, One War!

Sounds dodgy, well it probably?was?

Drawn by?Richard Edes Harrison who drew a series of elegant and gripping images of a world at war, and in the process persuaded the public that aviation and war really had fundamentally disrupted the nature of geography.

Harrison came to maps by chance. Trained in design, he arrived in New York during the Depression and made a living by creating everything from whiskey bottles to ashtrays. One day, a friend at?Time?asked him to fill in for an absent mapmaker at its sister publication,?Fortune.?That unexpected call led to a lasting collaboration, one where Harrison used techniques of perspective and colour to translate the round earth onto flat paper. In fact, Harrison considered his lack of training in cartography an advantage, for he had no fixed understandings of what a map?should?look like.

Throughout the war, Harrison dazzled readers of?Fortune?with artistic geo-visualizations of the political crises in Europe and Asia. The key decision he made was to reject the Mercator projection, which had outlived its purpose. Instead, he drew on other projections, such as this one from 1943, centred on the north pole and which drew Eurasia and North America together, though distorting the southern hemisphere as a result.

In the?original version?of the map, from August 1941, Harrison blackened the entire Soviet Union as part of the Axis to reflect the recent German invasion. In the edition two years later here, the Soviets have aligned with the Allies, and the threat of the Axis appears more limited. But in either edition, it was impossible to ignore the prospect of American stewardship that gradually?but completely?displaced the isolation of the 1930s. For Harrison, the polar projection was the new geographic reality, one that necessitated American internationalism.