National Geographic : 1995 May
Blueprints for Victory Fifty years ago National Geographic maps helped win World War II, at home and on the front lines. By JOHN F. SHUPE CHIEF CARTOGRAPHER "Take out and spread before you a map of the whole earth," President Franklin Delano Roose velt told radio listeners on February 23, 1942. "Follow with me the ref erences which I shall make to the world encircling battle lines of this war." In the homes of 1.2 million National Geo graphic Society mem bers that map would have been pulled from the December 1941 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine. The government, too, relied on Society maps. In early April 1945 FDR was shown a map over laid with taped outlines of Germany's shrinking positions (left). The map, which after 50 years hangs once again in the White House Map Room, was the last pre pared for FDR. He died on April 12.