Exhibitions

 
There was a great deal of interest regarding the "European War" in the United States even before it became involved in 1917; naturally, interest only increased once American soldiers were fighting alongside the Allies. Americans at the home front could—and frequently did—follow new developments in the war through the maps of front lines sold in stores, maps in newspapers, and a variety of purchasable atlases portraying the important areas and events of the conflict. These war atlases range from short booklets with only a few simple maps to large and detailed tomes featuring numerous maps, lists, charts, chronologies, and sometimes photographs.

37. Atlas of the War in Europe

Atlas of the War in Europe, so named because the war was not yet a "world" war, was published in 1915. Nevertheless, the atlas recognizes the imminent involvement of the United States and other Western Hemisphere countries, titling the chart on its inner cover, "The World's Most Gigantic Conflict." Each of its maps portray a country in Europe with the exception of "The World, showing Colonial Possessions," the map on the first page of the atlas, a fitting location considering the large role colonial ambitions had played in the animosity between the Great Powers of Europe.

 
37. Atlas of the War in Europe
The San Francisco Call, 1915
Gibb Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/40187.0002

40187
38. United States at War: American War Atlas

The two editions of United States at War, one from 1917 and the other from 1918, are somewhat more complex than the previous atlas (#37), containing maps overprinted with important details in the war's development, especially as it pertained to the United States. The center map of the 1917 atlas shows the "Prohibited Zone" in the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, the area that the Germans had warned would no longer be safe for ships of neutral nations. After the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915 and the resulting outcry in the United States, attacks on neutral ships and passenger liners by German U-boats ceased. An announcement in February of 1917 that the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare would be reinstated was one of the factors that finally drew the United States into the conflict.

 
38. United States at War: American War Atlas
George F. Cram Company, 1917
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/3915.0005

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39a. United States at War: American War Atlas

The 1918 edition of United States at War reveals an increase in American animosity towards Germany since the previous year, not surprising since plenty of American blood had been shed in Europe by the time it was printed. The map of the Western front in the atlas is named "Where ‘Our Boys' are Proving Their Fighting Class," and includes a solid red line marking the "present" front to the east of the German's final defense line, the Hindenburg Line, indicating that the atlas was printed in the last month of the war. Another map, "Germany—Home of the Hated Hun" marks the internment camps "where Americans are held," as the map legend points out. The atlas also includes speculation on the future of Europe's borders, anticipating that territory formerly belonging to Russia would be divided into new, more ethnically homogenous nations; a dotted line representing "Approximate Boundaries of Governments, which may be Formed from Russia" appears on the second map in the atlas,  "Europe—Battle Torn and Bleeding."

 
39a. United States at War: American War Atlas
George F. Cram Company, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/3918.0003

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39b. United States at War: American War Atlas

 
39b. United States at War: American War Atlas
George F. Cram Company, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/3918.0004

3918
39c. United States at War: American War Atlas

 
39c. United States at War: American War Atlas
George F. Cram Company, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/3918.0007

3918
40. The Rand McNally New Reference Atlas of the World and the War

The Rand McNally New Reference Atlas of the World and the War is one of the larger atlases published in the United States during World War I. It includes numerous charts and maps, including one that delineates the industries and resources produced in the various regions of the United States, an effective reminder that the war touched all Americans, not just those on the front lines. Millions of men and women worked long, grueling hours throughout the war to ensure that the men overseas were supplied with healthy food, warm clothes, and the necessary guns and ammunitions.

 
40. The Rand McNally New Reference Atlas of the World and the War
Samuel John Duncan-Clark, 1918
OML Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/12224.0054

12224
41. The World's Greatest War

Between each of its maps, this atlas includes a spread of photographs showing scenes from the war front. A large number of its photos feature newly developed technologies, particularly weapons. Appearing in this atlas is an early image of the "tank," which had existed as a concept since the eighteenth century, and was finally deployed by the British in 1916. One of the features that made tanks feasible on the muddy terrain of the Western Front was the crawler tracks, first implemented on motorized vehicles by Alvin O. Lombard of Penobscot County, Maine, for his Lombard Steam Log Hauler. Also frequently referenced in the photos were new developments in aircraft technology. Fighter planes had become critical for defense, and bombers were utilized in strategic offensive attacks. The Germans used dirigibles, better known as Zeppelins, to bomb various Allied cities, including Liege, Antwerp, London, and Paris; these cigar-shaped balloons flew too high—20,000 feet by the end of the war—for most fighter planes to engage.

 
41. The World's Greatest War
[Unknown Author], 1917
Shettleworth Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/43189.0008

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42. The Allies Victorious : A History of the World War

Like the previous atlas (#41), this pictorial atlas features dozens of photographs from the war front, many of them depicting new military technologies. Significant evolution in the designs of heavy artillery and machine guns occurred during World War I, and images of the new iterations of weapons were in demand. Another weapon featured heavily in the photos of the atlas is poison gas. While comparatively harmless gasses had been used early in the war, chlorine gas, first released by the Germans at Ypres in 1915, was capable of destroying the respiratory organs of its victims within seconds of being inhaled. Another deadly gas, Mustard gas, was especially insidious in its contamination of soil, making the capture of previously exposed trenches particularly hazardous.

 
42. The Allies Victorious : A History of the World War
Samuel John Duncan-Clark, 1919
OML Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/43101.0006

43101
43a. An Atlas of the World War

Unlike the previous atlases in this section, this atlas was marketed specifically as an educational resource for students. Published by the Stanford's Geographical Establishment, the map company that worked with the British War Office throughout the war, the atlas includes smaller versions of previously produced propaganda maps, such as "Subject Nationalities of the German Alliance" (#3) and "What Germany Wants" (#4).

"The Men of the British Empire: Their Homes and Their Battlefields" shows the various countries contributing to the fighting power of the British Expeditionary Force, including India, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Other maps in the atlas attempt to illustrate the causes of the war and the ramifications for Germany, such as "The End of Germany's Dream in the East," which shows the unfinished Berlin-Baghdad Railway that, previous to the war, had threatened Britain's domination of trade with India. "The Downfall of Germany's World-Empire" and "The Allies Ring of Steel: How Germany is Hemmed In" point to the impending defeat of the Central Powers.

 
43a. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0006

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43b. An Atlas of the World War

 
43b. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0002

11484
43c. An Atlas of the World War

 
43c. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0008

11484
43d. An Atlas of the World War

 
43d. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0009

11484
43e. An Atlas of the World War

 
43e. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0007

11484
43f. An Atlas of the World War

 
43f. An Atlas of the World War
Stanford's Geographical Establishment, 1918
Osher Collection
URL: www.oshermaps.org/map/11484.0010

11484