National Geographic : 1943 Apr
Map of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres W ITH this issue of their NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE members of the National Geographic Society re ceive a new map of the world-a Map of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The North Pole is center of one hemi sphere charted on the new map; the South Pole is center of the other hemisphere. Thus the only direction from the center of the Northern Hemisphere map is south, and the only direction from the center of the Southern Hemisphere map is north. New World Map for New Aerial Routes The new world map of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres dramatically portrays the shorter routes of airplane flights swiftly blazed by global warfare, which will be the aerial routes of passenger and freight travel in the years of peace to come. Across the polar centers of the new map cut the new aerial transport trails, because distances and times are shorter that way. Here the map reader sees why in the air plane age the Arctic Ocean becomes a far northern Mediterranean Sea, focus of traffic between the Old World and the New World, as the Mediterranean long has been for Europe, Asia, and Africa. Distances from one continent to another across the Arctic Ocean are much shorter than routes across the Atlantic or Pacific between the same places. For example, here are a few comparisons: Between New York and Chungking. Fairbanks and Berlin..... Chicago and .Moscow..... Honolulu and Khartoum... San Francisco and Moscow. East-West Aerial Route S12.100 miles . 8100 miles 5,700 miles S. 12.200 miles . 7.500 miles Polar Basin Aerial Route 7.580 miles 4.265 miles 4.980 miles 9,790 miles 5,870 miles No sooner had Magellan sailed around the world than navigators began hunting for a ship route from Europe to the Far East by way of the Arctic. They knew the quickest way to reach the Far East would be by sailing north! Brilliant chapters of early exploration his tory were written in heroic attempts to find the Northwest Passage. Jacques Cartier, Henry Hudson, John Davis, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Martin Frobisher, and many more, failed. Not until the reign of Queen Victoria did British expeditions prove the existence of the Northwest Passage. Once discovered, the "short-cut" was found impractical. Icebound waterways and intense cold made the Arctic a "frozen ocean." Mari ners found it safer to sail all the way around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope than to navigate around North America. When men began to fly, they again turned to polar and near-polar routes. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, writing in the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE 21 years ago, predicted aerial routes over the Arctic for passengers bound from Europe to the Orient.* Ellsworth, Nobile, and Amundsen took off from Spitsbergen in the dirigible Norge, on May 11, 1926. They flew to the North Pole, circled it twice, then crossed the Arctic Basin and landed at Teller, Alaska, 72 hours later. The distance covered was 3,393 miles. Three Soviet aviators-Chkalov, Baidukov, and Beliakov-flew from Moscow to Van couver, Washington, in June, 1937. The new map shows how direct was the route for this epochal nonstop flight between the Soviet Union and the United States. The flyers headed north from Moscow, crossed the pole, and then continued south to their landing place. The 5,000-mile flight took 62 hours. In August of the same year, six Russians, led by Sigismund Levanevsky, set out to fly across the North Pole from Moscow to Fair banks, Alaska. The plane never reached Fair banks. For many months after the plane dis appeared, searching parties from Russia, Can ada, and the United States sought the lost flyers. In this search Sir Hubert Wilkins explored 170,000 square miles of the Arctic Ocean, and concluded that there is no new land to be discovered in the Beaufort Sea and the area between longitudes 120° and 145° west and the North Pole.t The late Brig. Gen. William Mitchell called Alaska America's most strategic springboard for offensive aerial warfare. A glance at the new map explains his conclusion: all the shortest Pacific routes from the United States to Japan, Siberia, China, and even India, start from or pass close to Alaska. Northern passageways are not limited to planes. Hundreds of ships carry war supplies from New York to Moscow by way of the Arctic Ocean and Murmansk. Soviet scientists and explorers have made valuable contributions to modern knowledge of the Arctic areas, particularly the North east Passage. Scores of Soviet ships now ply the Arctic every year, carrying loads of timber, coal, ore, furs, food, and machines between Murmansk * See "The Arctic as an Air Route of the Future," by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1922. t See "Our Search for the Lost Aviators," by Sir Hubert Wilkins, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1938.