This is my third post about maps out of the last four, so I've given in and made a Maps category. It's not just me: there are another three posts about maps at Breathing History, and also at Philobiblon and My London Your London about an exhibition at the British Library about maps of London. And then The War Room alerted me to a great blog called strange maps, the subject of which is just what it sounds like -- fascinating and unusual maps of all kinds: historical, fictional, satirical, political. There are three Second World War era maps produced for propaganda purposes: one supposedly showing German war aims, another supposedly showing Allied war aims, and one especially interesting to me, supposedly showing a 1934 German map of a supposed aerial threat from Czechoslovakia:
The provenance of the map is not clear -- it's labelled in German 'A small state threatens Germany', but under that is another label in English explaining that it was 'published in Germany in 1934 to create fear of Czech bombing', so who knows when or where it was published in English, or even if it was ever actually published in German. My guesses would be 1938-40, a British newspaper, and yes, but the online source doesn't say. Anyway, plotting the range of aircraft in order to demonstrate the threat of bombing was common enough by this time, as I've previously discussed.
There's no doubt that Germans in the 1930s lived under the shadow of the bomber: by 1934, the Nazi-founded Reich Civil Defence League already had 2.5 million members, and the prospect of morale bombing would have been especially disturbing to believers in the Dolchstoss legend, that Germany had not been defeated in the field in 1918 but "stabbed in the back" by weak-willed civilians. Hitler described Czechoslovakia as a dagger aimed at the heart of Germany. But Czechoslovakia never came close to bombing Germany; instead it was Goering who threatened the aerial destruction of Prague, to make sure that Czechoslovakian forces didn't resist the illegal German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 (sorry, I mean the liberation of Slovakia). Assuming it is actually genuine, this map would have been one small justification for the progressive German campaign against the Czechs.
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