National Geographic : 1938 Apr
THE GEOGRAPHIC'S NEW MAP OF EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN BY GILBERT GROSVENOR President,National Geographic Society T ODAY as never before since the world conflict intelligent citizens everywhere are seeking a clear under standing of events taking place in the key continent-Europe-with its many tongues and varied cultures and its age-long record of "wars and rumors of wars." "Germany Seizes Control in Austria" ... "British Ship Sunk Near Barcelona by Two Bombers from Majorca" . . . "Insurgents Report Big Gain at Teruel"-such dis patches as these in the daily papers pose many a question for the inquiring mind; questions, often, which can best be an swered with the aid of a good map. For geography is the handmaiden of history and a map is the essence of geography. To meet in timely fashion, then, a very real need for comprehensive, up-to-date in formation, the National Geographic Society has prepared and publishes a new ten-color wall map of Europe and the Mediterranean. It goes forth to The Society's world-wide membership of 1,150,000 as a special sup plement to this issue of THE GEOGRAPHIC. NINE SQUARE FEET OF GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE The new map, measuring 34 by 39 inches, compresses within its borders-as only maps can-an amazing amount of geographic knowledge. With its more than 9,000 place names, it forms an epitome of European geography, valuable to students, travelers, and all who view the constantly changing international scene. This latest product of The Society's Cartographic Section represents a notable addition to the list of large map supple ments which have been distributed to mem bers in recent years: the Pacific, the United States, Asia, the Arctic; Mexico, West In dies, and Central America; Africa, the World, Canada, the Antarctic, the British Isles, and South America. There is literally no limit to the uses to which these millions of maps are being put in every part of the world. They are found alike in the chancelleries of statesmen and in the homes of private citizens. They go with explorers and foreign correspondents and they ride along in the glove compart ment of the far-ranging family car. More and more in this air-minded age THE GEOGRAPHIC'S maps are aiding the aviator. When in February the United States Army's four-motored "flying for tress" planes made a record good-will flight from Langley Field, Virginia, to Lima, Peru, then across the Andes to Buenos Aires, each navigating officer used constantly The So ciety's latest maps of South America and the Caribbean. EUROPE, LIKE THE SEA, IS NEVER STILL In Europe nineteen and a half years have passed since the Armistice, and na tional boundaries are essentially unchanged from the lines laid down by the peace treaties with the exception of Austria.* In fact this represents one of the longest periods of frozen frontiers in more than a hundred years of European history. For talk of war-and acts of war-in that crowded continent are nothing new. Gen eration after generation, Europe has known a dreary legacy of wars-in the Balkans, in western Europe, all over the map reaching back for centuries. And the peace treaties which ended one war often planted the seeds for another-each usually worse than the one before because of the steady development of increasingly destructive armaments. The most sweeping changes ever made in the map of Europe were those that fol lowed the World War, and though the boundaries fixed by the Versailles Treaty and its companion documents still stand, there are signs of strain at many points. A study of the map helps to explain the economic and racial difficulties. Once more German soldiers guard the Rhine, and in Central Europe German union with Austria has aroused apprehension on the part of Czechoslovakia. Among other turbulent spots are the Free City of Danzig, which was German before the war; and the Polish Corridor which gives Poland an out let to the sea by turning East Prussia into an "island" of German territory. In the Mediterranean the new Italy, with greatly strengthened air and naval bases, has aroused anxiety along the British life line to the East, via the Suez Canal. The "civil war" in Spain, with its clash *Most of the Map Supplements of Europe, which required many months in preparation and printing, were off the presses before Hitler entered Austria.