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This WWII map taught Americans to sympathize with the Soviets
By transplanting Operation Barbarossa on a map of the US, it showed the devastating effects of the Nazi invasion
- How did wartime America generate sympathy for the Soviets?
- By transplanting Operation Barbarossa to America's shores
- This is what the Nazi invasion of the USSR would have looked like, had it – somehow – happened to the US.
An M3A1 Stuart tank and part of an A-20 bomber hull shipped via polar convoy from the US to the USSR.
The US and the USSR were less than friendly before the Second World War, and deadly enemies soon thereafter; but during the conflict, they were allies in the fight against Nazi Germany.
Via the Lend-Lease Act, the US – with some help from the UK and Canada – supplied the Soviet Union with around $130 billions' worth of supplies during WWII.
From as early as August 1941 – just two months after the Nazi invasion of the USSR – American convoy ships supplied the Soviets with what would eventually amount to more than 14,000 airplanes, 44,000 jeeps, 375,000 trucks, 8,000 tractors and 12,000 tanks. Not to mention 1.5 million blankets, 15 million pairs of army boots, 2.6 million tons of petroleum products and 4.4 million tons of food supplies.
"The Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn't have been able to form our reserves and continue the war", admitted Georgy Zhukov, one of the Soviet Union's most famous WWII generals.
Operation Barbarossa in the US
Bringing it home: Operation Barbarossa transplanted to the United States.
For America, generating public sympathy and sustaining the costly support for its ideological opposite was both awkward and vital for the war effort. One obvious way to do this was to shift the focus from the Soviets' alien ideology to the huge toll they were paying in the fight against Hitler – both in lives lost and lands destroyed.
This map literally brought home to Americans the devastating effects of 'Operation Barbarossa' – the Nazi codename for the invasion of the Soviet Union. As the legend to this map says:
The siege of Rochester, NY
Boston is Riga, New York City is Kaunas, Philadelphia is Lvov and DC is Minsk. All are occupied by the Nazis. Rochester – a stand-in for Leningrad – is besieged but not defeated.On this map is shown the vastness of the war effort of our Soviet Allies. The map of the western half of the Soviet Union has been placed (in reverse) upon the map of the United States. The shadings show:
- (in brown) A map of that part of the Soviet Union occupied by the Nazis at the peak of the invasion. (The map of the Soviet Union is reversed to compare the industrial west of Russia with the similar eastern area of the United States.)
- (in orange) Giant industrial and agricultural communities moved from invaded regions… equivalent to a transfer of the mills and factories of all eastern America to the Rockies.
In their rush towards the Caucasus (spanning Oklahoma and Arkansas), the Nazis have occupied a large swathe of the South (Ukraine) from Knoxville (Kiev) to New Orleans (Sevastopol), but have not bothered invading Florida.
The legend goes on to explain:
Russian War Relief, Inc. 11 E. 35th St., New York City, presents this map to help Americans to visualize the almost inconceivable extent of the need for American aid to the people of the Soviet Union. From the vast invaded area of the USSR, here shown superimposed on a map of the United States, 38,000,000 Russians escaped the Nazis in 1941 by fleeing their homes. Strafed by dive bombers and machine-gunning "hedge-hoppers," they fled across their country before the invaders while their Red Army fought and fell back – fought and fell back.
Omaha, capital of the USSR
Because Detroit (Moscow) is dangerously close to the front line, the capital has been moved temporarily deeper into the country, to Omaha (Kuibyshev).
In terms of the map of America, 38,000,000 persons walked and rode across more than half the United States. They left behind them – besides their homes – the lands which fed them, the mines which fed their factories, their clothing, their hospitals, their schools, their nurseries – in short, their lives. In the land to which they went there was almost none of these things. They built new factories first, ploughed the land second. Now they are building new homes.
But – even as we would be – they are often cold, often hungry, always physically exhausted. They need help. But the fate of those who escaped is not the worst fate in Russia. Forty million of the residents of the invaded area did not escape! They stayed. From forest hideouts they have seen the Nazis burn their homes, truck away their stores of food, their clothing, even their household equipment. Some, staying in their homes to meet the invaders, have been robbed of all they owned… and many have been killed.
By the time I get to Tashkent
The Germans have seriously misjudged the strategic depth of the US/USSR: the Soviets have moved entire industrial zones safely away from the front, to Phoenix (Tashkent), Salt Lake City (Omsk) and Boise (Novosibirsk).
Some of the survivors now are returning to homes recaptured by the Red Army. They return to almost utter desolation. They, too, need help. Ten million have died in the fight that is theirs and ours. The Red Army has lost almost as many men, in killed and wounded, as are now in all the American armed forces! Civilians have died – by millions – of malnutrition, cold, exhaustion, disease – and of the Nazi hangman's noose and the bullets of Nazi firing squads. Hundreds of thousands of Soviet homes are sheltering the war's orphans.
Look at the map. Imagine the tragedy to you and your family if an invader had ravaged America throughout all that shaded territory on our Atlantic seaboard, westward all the way to St. Louis and Tulsa. Because the equivalent of that tragedy has happened to millions of our Soviet allies, Russian War Relief, Inc., asks all Americans to help keep relief ships sailing.
3000 more miles to Vladivostok
Did we say strategic depth? Where the US ends at San Francisco, the USSR went on for 3000 more miles, all the way to Vladivostok – Russia's version of San Francisco.
Russian War Relief, Inc. was founded in New York City a month after Germany's attack on Russia. It would grow to become America's largest relief agency during WWII. Its chairman was Edward C. Carter, who among many other functions was secretary-general of the Institute of Pacific Relations – an organisation sometimes accused of being a communist front. One of RWR's directors was journalist Fred Myers, who would go on to co-found the Humane Society in 1954.
Lend-Lease picture found here, from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library / Public Domain. Map found here, at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.
For a similar map, but from the First World War, see #616.
Strange Maps #983
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
Scientists use new methods to discover what's inside drug containers used by ancient Mayan people.
- Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers.
- They were able to discover a non-tobacco plant that was mixed in by the smoking Mayans.
- The approach promises to open up new frontiers in the knowledge of substances ancient people consumed.
PARME staff archaeologists excavating a burial site at the Tamanache site, Mérida, Yucatan.
While not the first such minister, the loneliness epidemic in Japan will make this one the hardest working.
- The Japanese government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness to implement policies designed to fight isolation and lower suicide rates.
- They are the second country, after the U.K., to dedicate a cabinet member to the task.
- While Japan is famous for how its loneliness epidemic manifests, it isn't alone in having one.
The Ministry of Loneliness<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5FIohjZT8o" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p><a href="https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114749.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tetsushi Sakamoto</a>, already in the government as the minister in charge of raising Japan's low birthrate and revitalizing regional economies, was appointed this <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">month</a> to the additional role. He has already announced plans for an emergency national forum to discuss the issue and share the testimony of lonely <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/12/national/loneliness-isolation-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">individuals</a>.</p><p>Given the complexity of the problem, the minister will primarily oversee the coordination of efforts between different <a href="https://www.insider.com/japan-minister-of-loneliness-suicides-rise-pandemic-2021-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ministries</a> that hope to address the issue alongside a task <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">force</a>. He steps into his role not a moment too soon. The loneliness epidemic in Japan is uniquely well known around the world.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Hikikomori</em></a><em>,</em> often translated as "acute social withdrawal," is the phenomenon of people completely withdrawing from society for months or years at a time and living as modern-day hermits. While cases exist in many <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00247/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>, the problem is better known and more prevalent in Japan. Estimates vary, but some suggest that one million Japanese live like this and that 1.5 million more are at <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/article/japan-hikikomori-isolation-society" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">risk</a> of developing the condition. Individuals practicing this hermitage often express contentment with their isolation at first before encountering severe symptoms of loneliness and <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200110155241.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">distress</a>.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodokushi" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Kodokushi</em></a>, the phenomenon of the elderly dying alone and remaining undiscovered for some time due to their isolation, is also a widespread issue in Japan that has attracted national attention for decades.</p><p>These are just the most shocking elements of the loneliness crisis. As we've discussed before, loneliness can cause health issues akin to <a href="https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">smoking</a>. A lack of interaction within a community can cause social <a href="https://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-religious-neighbors-are-better-neighbors" target="_self">problems</a>. It is even associated with changes in the <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/loneliness-brain" target="_self">brain</a>. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a little time to yourself, the inability to get the socialization that many people need is a real problem with real <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-loneliness-hunger" target="_self">consequences</a>.</p>
The virus that broke the camel's back<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hp-L844-5k8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> A global loneliness pandemic existed before COVID-19, and the two working in tandem has been catastrophic. </p><p>Japanese society has always placed a value on solitude, often associating it with self-reliance, which makes dealing with the problem of excessive solitude more difficult. Before the pandemic, 16.1 percent of Japanese seniors reported having nobody to turn to in a time of need, the highest rate of any nation <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">considered</a>. Seventeen percent of Japanese men surveyed in 2005 said that they "rarely or never spend time with friends, colleagues, or others in social groups." This was three times the average rate of other <a href="http://www.oecd.org/sdd/37964677.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>. </p><p>American individualism also creates a fertile environment for isolation to grow. About a month before the pandemic started, nearly<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/23/798676465/most-americans-are-lonely-and-our-workplace-culture-may-not-be-helping" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> 3 in 5</a> Americans reported being lonely in a <a href="https://www.cigna.com/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> issued by Cigna. This is a slight increase over previous studies, which had been pointing in the same direction for years. </p><p>In the United Kingdom, the problem prompted the creation of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. The commission's <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/rb_dec17_jocox_commission_finalreport.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">final report </a>paints a stark picture of the U.K.'s situation in 2017, with millions of people from all parts of British society reporting feeling regular loneliness at a tremendous cost to personal health, society, and the economy.</p><p>The report called for a lead minister to address the problem at the national level, incorporating government action with the insights provided by volunteer organizations, businesses, the NHS, and other organizations on the crisis's front lines. Her Majesty's Government acted on the report and appointed the first Minister for Loneliness in <a href="https://time.com/5248016/tracey-crouch-uk-loneliness-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracey_Crouch" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tracey Crouch</a>, and dedicated millions of pounds to battling the problem. </p><p>The distancing procedures necessitated by the COVID-19 epidemic saved many lives but exacerbated an existing problem of loneliness in many parts of the world. While the issue had received attention before, Japan's steps to address the situation suggest that people are now willing to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.</p><p>--</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. The suicide prevention hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.</em></p>
MIT professor Azra Akšamija creates works of cultural resilience in the face of social conflict.