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Description

Rare WWII Propaganda map, published in India, showing the theater in Central China and the adjacent regions of Burma and India.

This fascinating map was issued in British India at the height of World War II, likely at the instigation of the colonial government as part of a series of maps to inform the public about the ongoing conflict and the threat posed by Japan. While Japan and the Chinese war theater were little known to India's residents and many of the officials of the British Raj, the reality was that Japan increasingly posed a direct military treat to India.

The map features central China, from a point just west of Shanghai, westwards to Yunnan and northern Burma, and to the far east of India, and extends from Kaifeng in the north down south to Hong Kong (which is prominently named).

Japan carved out the puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria in 1931, and invaded China in earnest in 1937. By early 1942 they had seized control of most of coastal China, as well as the British Colony of Hong Kong.

The Chinese resistance was led by Nationalist Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who was in an uneasy condundrum with Mao Tse-tung's Communists. The Nationalists were provisionally headquartered in Chongqing, Szechuan.

Relevant to India, the Allies were sending desperately needed supplies to the Nationalists through India and Burma to Yunnan Province. Without this 'Backdoor to China', the Chinese opposition to Japan would have completely folded.

The Japanese made many attempts to conquer the interior of China, but were generally held back. The present map was made in the summer of 1944, after the Battle of Changsha, during which the Japanese had successfully invaded Hunan Province. This was a troubling development, however, the collapse of the Japanese forces in the Pacific theatre hailed the defeat of the Japanese and the liberation of China in the summer of 1945.

The present map is very rare. It was printed in small quantities by a press in India (perhaps Calcutta) and issued to British officers, officials, and interested native Indians. As it was viewed as an ephemeral piece for temporary use, almost all examples would have been discarded, making this example a rare survivor.

Condition Description
Lithographed in thin paper, excellent condition.