If We Enter a World War and Lose, a 1937 Map
This map was published in the Chicago Herald and Examiner in the Sunday November 28th 1937 edition. It is a typical work of the production of the artist and illustrator Howard Austin Burke (1899-1967). This hypothetical map is deliberately provocative in its violent depiction of the end of the United States, two years before the Second World War. It represents a bleak future for the United States : if it were to lose the war that was about to begin, its territory would be divided among the victors. In this scenario, an alliance between Poland, Austria and Germany would share the United States.
The United States, with the greatest resources on Earth, Would suffer the fate of Poland, Austria & Germany –
our prized lands would be divided among the conquerors.
The territory is divided into nearly 10 zones, according to the country’s natural resources, following a mainly mining or agricultural prism. However, the economic importance of New York and the Pacific West Coast is already recognized. Finally, a representation of New York bombed in the heart of Manhattan, which has become a “no man’s land”, suggests the worst scenario for America.
Despite the future it predicted, undermining an often-publicized greatness of the United States, this kind of map was quite common. They were intended to shock public opinion, awaken patriotic sentiment and raise awareness of the international issues of the day. For example, in February 1916 the cover of Life Magazine featured a map of the United States called New Prussia, with Germanized city names. New York City became New Potsdam, Florida became Turconia, and the Pacific Coast became Japonica. This was to make the public more active in the war that was going on.
Howard Burke also produced other maps on the same subject. At the same time, in November 1937, he depicted a scenario where the Japanese would attack the United States, starting with Hawaii in How Japan Could Attack U.S. Although he would a year later defend the defensive qualities of the archipelago in is illustration Hawaii – Our Greatest Defense Outpost. This showed the potential threat from Japan and reflected the anti-Japanese tendency during this rather neutral pre-war period.