National Geographic : 1944 Dec
The Society's New Map of Soviet Russia MOST recent in the National Geo graphic Society's memorable series of wartime maps is the Map of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, distrib uted to the 1,250,000 member-families of The Society as a supplement to this December issue, of their NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE.* The new map is the third large-scale chart of a single nation and its approaches to be issued by your Society this year. The Map of Japan appeared in April; the Map of Ger many in July. In addition, members received the notable Map of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands in October, in time to follow the ever-increasing activity in the Pacific area and the American invasion of the Philippines. Our Soviet Russia map is printed in 10 colors, on a sheet 40 x 25 inches. It is the first and only available modern detailed map of Soviet Russia with place names in English. The spelling of more than 8,000 place names with the English alphabet was in itself a for midable task. The Russians use the Cyrillic al phabet, based on Greek letters with others added. Soviet Russia comprises nearly one-seventh of the earth's land surface and embraces nearly one-twelfth of the human race. It is almost three times as large as continental United States. Only the British Common wealth of Nations has more territory, but that is widely scattered.** To picture this vast expanse and its ap proaches, the new map extends from Hamburg, Berlin, and the Norwegian port of Narvik on the northwest, to Tokyo on the southeast; from the American Lend-Lease Persian Gulf port of Khorramshahr in Iran, on the south west, to Bering Strait and the tip of Alaska on the northeast. The scale is 142 miles to the inch. Near Neighbors to the United States Less than five miles of water in Bering Strait separate Little Diomede Island, owned by the United States, and Big Diomede Island, a Soviet possession. Since autumn of 1941, some 11,000 Ameri can warplanes have gone to the Soviet Union. Many have been turned over to Soviet pilots at Fairbanks, Alaska, and flown to Nome, then across the Bering Sea and Siberia, to the war zone in eastern Europe.t The map also shows the proximity of Rus sian lands in the Far East to the Japanese Empire. The upper half of Sakhalin Island is part of Russia; Japan holds the lower (Karafuto). Russia's Siberian port of Vladivostok faces the Japanese "mainland" across the Sea of Japan, 665 miles from Tokyo. On the north, Russia looks out upon the Arctic Ocean, across which lies North Amer ica. Once the Arctic was an insurmountable barrier between North America and Eurasia. Today the skies over the bleak north afford the shortest air routes between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. For a score of years Soviet scientists have garnered data on the Union's Arctic regions. Lonely stations of Soviet explorers were set up not far from the North Pole. Some scien tists have pitched their orange tents on ice floes at the North Pole and drifted hundreds of miles in subzero temperatures. Lighthouses for Icebreakers Lighthouses stand far above the Arctic Circle to aid fleets of Soviet icebreakers. Soviet pioneers crossed the Northeast Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific in their broad-beamed ships.t In the extreme northwest, extending across the Finnish border, nomadic Lapps live in reindeer-skin tents and herd the reindeer that live on tundra moss. On the south, from east to west, Soviet Rus sia borders on Jap-held Manchuria, Outer Mongolia, Sinkiang, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey. Through the western part of Siberia and the Soviet Asiatic republics, which extend to the nation's southern borders, Owen Latti more traveled on a recent journey to Chung king, China's wartime capital (page 641). In the western stretches of the Soviet Union today are being written eventful chapters in Russia's long history. Nazi armies thrust deep into the Soviet Union at their floodtide of conquest.§ Lenin grad was besieged; Moscow was endangered: * Members may obtain additional copies of the new "Map of the Union of Soviet Socialist Repub lics" (and of all other maps published by The So ciety) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices, in United States and Possessions, 50¢ each, on paper; $1 on linen; Index, 25¢. Outside of United States and Possessions, 75¢ on paper; $1.25 on linen (postal regulations gen erally prohibit mailing linen maps outside of West ern Hemisphere); Index, 50¢. All remittances pay able in U. S. funds. Postage prepaid. ** See "Young Russia: The Land of Unlimited Pos sibilities," by Gilbert Grosvenor, with 102 illustrations, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, November, 1914. t See "Arctic as an Air Route of the Future," by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, August, 1922. $ See "Map of the Northern and Southern Hemi spheres," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1943. § See "I Learn About the Russians," by Eddy Gil more, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Nov., 1943.