National Geographic : 1951 Sep
The Society's FRONT line in the cold war-the frontier where the West confronts the East is delineated on the National Geographic Society's new large-scale Map of Central Eu rope, including the Balkan States.* More than two million copies of the new chart have rolled from the presses to go to member-families of the National Geographic Society, who receive it as a supplement to this issue of their NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Sweeping postwar changes are reflected. Many boundaries have been redrawn. Cities and towns by the hundreds appear with strange names as the result of wholesale of ficial changes. Area Equals Third of U. S. In land area the 29-x -38/-inch chart maps a total of 1,038,000 square miles, roughly equivalent to one-third of the continental United States. But this land of mid-Europe supports an estimated population of 231,000, 000-a good 50 percent more than the 1950 census figures for the United States. The new map is the second in a series de signed to present the Continent in great de tail. The first, issued in December, 1950, was devoted to Western Europe. The third will comprise Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the northwestern section of Soviet Russia. When the three sheets are matched, they will pro vide a European map about 41 feet wide and more than 5 feet high. A companion index, listing the 10,378 place names on the new map and facilitating quick location of both the better and lesser known communities, will soon be available. The rtumber of place names is the largest ever to appear on an overseas-area map is sued by the National Geographic Society. The Central Europe total is eclipsed only by the 11,025 place names on the new Map of the United States distributed three months ago, and by the 10,437 on the sectional Map of the Northeastern United States issued with the September, 1945, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. The Iron Curtain line, twisting some 2,000 miles from the Baltic to the Turkish-Bul garian frontier on the Black Sea, divides the Central Europe map. Behind this line lie Lithuania, seized by the U.S.S.R.; the five Red satellite nations of Poland, Czechoslo vakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria; and the Soviet occupation areas in Germany and Austria. Western Russia is covered to a line slightly east of Smolensk and Odessa. West of the Iron Curtain lie the Allied occu pation zones of West Germany and Austria, New Map of Central Europe Italy, Communist but anti-Kremlin Yugo slavia, Greece, and the Turkish Straits region. In the beyond-the-Curtain area, Albania stands isolated, keeping the Soviet bloc's watch on the Adriatic. New Names for Old, Wholesale The epidemic of name changing that has been sweeping Central Europe, particularly its eastern half, since World War II posed a major problem for The Society's cartogra phers. Painstaking research was required to record correctly more than 900 new place names, which have been paired with their old designations in parentheses to aid in identifi cation. In that part of old Poland which was ac quired by Russia, and in seized Lithuania, names have been Russianized and appear on Russian maps in the Cyrillic alphabet. To transliterate, or spell these names correctly in Latin characters, was a difficult task. Other places have received entirely new names. The satellite nations behind the Cur tain also have indulged in the practice. Ever since the name switching began, The Society has had a steady flow of inquiries from persons seeking information on the cor rect name for a village, town, or city within the Soviet orbit in order to communicate with relatives, locate birth data, or for other rea sons. Mail addressed to old names frequently comes back marked "No such place." In formation contained on the map also is valua ble to students of current events, historians, and many others. Older maps or atlases are hopelessly outdated. Brasov in Romania now is called Orasul Stalin (City of Stalin), and Bulgaria has re named its port of Varna, on the Black Sea, for the Kremlin chief. As a taunt, Yugoslavia has changed the name of the border station of Caribrod, on the Bulgarian border, to Dimitrovgrad, hon oring the former Bulgarian Communist leader, Georgi Dimitrov, who went to Moscow for his health, according to official announcement, and did not live to return. Luck has not vanished entirely from Central Europe. It still appears, but in parentheses. The Polish community that once bore the happy name of Luck is in an area taken over * Members may obtain additional copies of the new Map of Central Europe (and of all standard maps published by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices in United States and Possessions, 59 each on paper; $1 on linen; Index, 250. Elsewhere, 75c on paper; $1.25 on linen; Index, 50¢. All remittances payable in U. S . funds. Postpaid.