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1939 Sundberg Pictorial Map of Europe Comparing Military Strength

For War or Peace? - Main View

1939 Sundberg Pictorial Map of Europe Comparing Military Strength


Printed one month before the start of World War II, the Sunday News asks the question, 'War or Peace?'


For War or Peace?
  1939 (dated)     22.25 x 15.25 in (56.515 x 38.735 cm)


Published on Sunday, July 30, 1939, one month before Nazi Germany invades Poland and starts World War II, this Edwin Sundberg pictorial map of Europe compares the relative strength of European militaries while posing the question, 'For War or Peace'? Depicting Europe from Ireland and Spain to Russia and from Scandinavia to North Africa, Sundberg deftly uses color to illustrate the ever-building tensions between the 'Rome - Berlin Axis' and the 'London - Paris Alliance'. A ribbon of Nazi and Italian flags connects Berlin and Rome, while both Germany and Italy are shaded orange. A very similar ribbon of British and French flags connects London and Paris, with France and Great Britain colored green. French and Italian colonies are green and orange, respectively. Light shades of green and orange denote which countries are leaning toward the Alliance or the Axis, while nations colored gray are believed to be either neutral or undecided. Solid black lines along international borders denote fortifications.
Measuring the Strength of a Potential War
Icons of soldiers, airplanes, and warships are used to illustrate the relative size of each branch of each nation's military, with soldiers indicating both standing armies and trained reserves, planes first-line fighters, and naval tonnage warships of all classifications. By using these infographic icons, a viewer can fairly quickly deduce how the European powers could potentially stack up against one another. A legend in the bottom left corner continues this theme by using weights and a scale to illustrate which colors mark the differing allegiances in Europe. A Roman gladiator, ironically colored green with an orange shield, decorates the top of the legend.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by Edwin Sundberg and published in the Sunday, July 30, 1939 edition of the Sunday News. This is the only known surviving example.


Edwin L. Sundberg (1898 - 1978) was an American cartographer known for his pictorial pieces. Sundberg was a staff artist for the Sunday News in New York City and eventually became Chief Cartographer in charge of a small staff of artists. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Even overall toning. Closed margin tears professionally repaired on verso. Blank on verso.