British Library | Magnificent Maps Exhibition
Just before leaving the UK for the New World I headed to the beloved BL and dashed through the current exhibition Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda & Art. It was full of great things and interesting facts - maps old, maps less old, maps large, maps small - with the Nazi propaganda image above (ca. 1942) among the most visually striking.
Here, Winston Churchill is a cigar-toking hydra with tentacles clutching at key sites of British involvement in WWII. His tentacles are shown amputated and bloodied by the might of the German army and its allies.
The poster was produced in France under the German occupation after 1940 (just in case you were thinking “Wait, wasn’t France a British ally?”) and the strategic locations singled out on the map were apparently intended to “appeal to the emotions of the French populous” who would have had fresh memories of Britain’s controversial campaigns against German expansion in the French colonial sites of Dakar and Mers-el-Kébir, which left many Frenchmen dead… not to mention the rest I’m sure. It reads “Have Confidence. His Amputations are Being Methodically Executed.”
Wikipedia provides a nifty summary of non-European theatres of World War II
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