Rare WWII Propaganda map, published in India, showing the theater in Northern Burma and the adjacent regions of India and China.
This fascinating map was issued in British India at the height of World War II, likely at the instigation of the colonial government as a part of a series of maps to inform the public about the ongoing conflict and the threat posed by Japan. While Japan and Korea were considered distant lands little known to India's residents or the officials of the British Raj, the reality was that Japan increaslngly posed a direct military treat to India.
The map features much of the nothernmost parts of Burma (including parts of Kachin and Sagain states), as well as the adjacent parts of India (now part of Arunchal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland states) and the southwestern part of China's Yunnan province. The Japanese conquest of Malaya and Singapore early in 1942 freed their forces to attack Burma, then an eastern section of British india. Through 1942 and 1943 Japanese forces overran the British and their Chinese allies, seizing control of most of the southern two-thirds of Burma, leaving Bengal, the most populous Indian state, vulnerable to invasion.
The present map was probably made in 1943, before the Japanese forces advanced upon northern Burma and India. During this period, the region shown was under the control of the British, and was a vital corridor used by the Allies to send desperately needed supplies to the Chinese forces in Kunming, in Yunnan Province. Without this 'Backdoor to China', the Chinese opposition to Japan would have completely folded.
In the spring of 1944, the Japanese army surged into nothern Burma and entered the eastern extremity of what is now India proper, and attempted to conquer Imphal, Manipur and Kohima, Nagaland (both shown on the map). The British and their allies successfully drove back the invaders. These battles proved to be the turning point of the 'Burma Campaign', with the Japanese being steadily beaten back until their final defeat in August 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. At it was viewed as an ephemeral piece for temporary use, almost all examples would have been discarded, making this example a rare survivor.