One of the Best American Conspiracy Theory Maps; Its Publishers Eventually Convicted of Sedition. A Cartographic Representation of the Red Scare.
"Thousands of fifth columnists now working in defense industries must be fired without delay. At least 1,000 Government Employes [sic] sympathetic with totalitarian ideology must be discharged" Representative Martin Dies, Quoted on the Map.
An astounding, early, and important propaganda piece, published three years into the reign of the House Un-American Committee and showing the supposed extent of Communist, Nazi, and Italian Fascist sympathizers in the US.
This image of Swastikas and Soviet sickles peppered throughout American towns and cities is perhaps the most striking of the anti-Communist propaganda pieces of the time. The red, white, and blue coloring, the bold title, and the (supposed) proposed "Nazi Districts" over-riding state boundaries all call for the war-inflamed patriotic fervor to be reflected inwards at those Americans ready to welcome Communist or Nazi rule. While it would take several years for this sentiment to spread across the nation, the ideas proposed on this map reflect the nascent ideology that would spring into the McCarthyist movement following the Second World War.
While apparently anti-Fascist, this map devotes significantly more attention to purported Communist agitation. Of the six quotes at the top, only one reflects German ambitions. At least two threats of Communism accompany every threat of Fascism, and the dire effects of Communism are spelled out much more plainly.
The map makes much ado of Soviet and Nazi infiltration of the defense industry. A long diatribe in the lower right argues that Soviet workers are slowing the delivery of goods to England and speeding the delivery of goods to the "workers' fatherland." The lower-left discusses how Communists have filled the ranks of the army, navy, and national guard. The recent events of July 1st, 1941, when Rear Admiral John W. Greenslade discharged 28 workers for subversive activity, and the supposed 1925 formation of Red cells "in practically every regiment" are discussed.
One of the most interesting features of the map is the division of America into red- and black-lined districts. There are three Nazi Districts (supposedly as described in the constitution of the German American Bund), while there are some thirty Communist Districts. Unsurprisingly, the Communists are most heavily concentrated in New York, which requires its own inset map to show the distribution of particular cells.
The verso of the map lists hundreds of organizations involved in un-American activities, ranging from the obvious targets (Communist Party USA; AFL; CIO), to the more questionable (American Hungarian Singing Society, Sport Aces Youth Club, and several teachers' unions).
The last date of the many dates provided on this map is July 7, 1941, suggesting that the map was published soon after. This is a truly fascinating piece, with an endless supply of, at times entertaining, and at times horrifying, information.
The Fifth Column Map in the Context of the Red Scare
The publication date of this map is surprising - 1941 was otherwise somewhat of a nadir in anti-Communist sentiment, given the recent breakup between the Soviets and Nazis. The post-war order and the advent of McCarthyism were at least six years away, making the features published on this map strangely prescient.
As with the arrival of all fringe ideas into the mainstream, it is tempting to argue that McCarthyism arose as a response to the uncontrolled growth of the Soviet Union following the collapse of Nazi Germany, just as the First Red Scare jumped out of the sudden and unforeseen Bolshevik Revolution. However, this map shows that the feelings that eventually led to the persecution of tens of thousands of Americans were present long before 1947 and that they only needed a favorable political climate in which to flourish.
Politics of the Authors and the Constitutional Education League
The Constitutional Education League, headed by Joseph P. Kamp, was one of the most vocal anti-Communist fringe groups in the lead-up to the Second World War. Kamp was a noted anti-Semite and possible Nazi sympathizer, and it is apparent that he went too far in his leadership of the League. In 1942, the organization was indicted on charges of sedition for undermining the morale of US armed forces for its publication and dissemination of materials such as this map, which openly attacked the army, navy, and national guard. In 1944, the organization was subpoenaed for donor information, and Kamp refused to comply. This landed him four months in prison in 1950.
On the other hand, Gill had a more mainstream background before working with the Constitutional Education League. He was an editor for and an associate of William Randolph Hearst for many years, who let his anti-labor and anti-Communist sentiments influence publications. However, by 1941, the Anti-Defamation League reported that Gill had been fired by Hearst for "extreme bigotry" and suggested that he was pro-German and anti-democratic. Gill appears to have been a complicated figure, with some indications that he was less anti-Semitic than other Nazi sympathizers of the time, including Lindbergh.
Gill and Kamp may have published this map to distance themselves from the Nazi movement.
OCLC locates only eight distinct examples of the map. Only two copies appear to have traded on the market, per RBH and other sources.